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2014 Mazda3 S GT Long-Term Arrival

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/29/2014 motortrendauthor
2014-Mazda3-S-GT-Hatchback-front-three-quarter-041© Provided by MotorTrend 2014-Mazda3-S-GT-Hatchback-front-three-quarter-041 2014 Mazda3 S GT Long-Term Arrival

With the rollout of every new version of Mazda's highly regarded '3, staffers hold their breath, hoping the carmaker doesn't meddle with success and continues its spot-on refinement of what is by most measures the best product it sells. So as Car of the Year testing commenced and we worked the new compact through our weeklong regimen of data collection and evaluation, we all breathed a sigh of relief as the '3 quickly moved through the ranks to the shortlist of COTY finalists. Seems as if Mazda did it again. The maker redesigned the '3 to be lighter, more fuel-efficient, and cheaper to build (it shares parts with the '6), while yielding not an inch to the Forte, Civic, and Focus desperately nipping at its heels.And now a Mazda3 has entered our fleet. As I'm always so curious about the newest tech and ever-increasing amenities that find their way into sub-$30k cars, I ticked every box while ordering this hatchback. Highlights include a healthy list of collision avoidance systems (lane-departure monitoring, city braking, blind-spot and forward-obstruction warning[beep, beep]), adaptive cruise, keyless entry and start, head-up display, adaptive (swivel) headlights, text message interface, a rearview camera, and auto high-beam control. In fact, this hatch is so loaded, at first it was hard for me to believe so many bells and whistles could be added to Mazda's affordable '3. I'm a believer now, and part of that realization included gulping at the as-tested sticker of $30,285. No matter how you slice it, that's steep for a compact hatch.Regardless of the deluge of standard and optional parts, most important to me is that the Mazda3 steers, brakes, accelerates, and handles in the same cohesive way its predecessors did. Those attributes make up a special recipe, that, per the results of last month's Small Car Big Test, have yet to be deconstructed and replicated by the Mazda3's competition. In that test, Ron Kiino declared the '3 the "best driver here -- great steering, nice ride, and sporty handling." And collectively the judges decided it checks all the boxes of safety, fuel economy, gadget surplus, and driver amusement.So it appears Mazda has delivered another admirable '3, and, during the next year, I'll pile on heaps of miles to make sure all stays right and tight with this handsome five-door. Surely if I scratch the surface deep enough, I'll find something to complain about.

Our Car
Service life1 mo/2517 mi
Average fuel economy32.4 mpg
CO2 emissions0.60 lb/mi
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ28/38/32 mpg
Energy consumption104 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problemsNone
Maintenance cost$0
Normal-wear cost$0

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