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2014 Mazda3 S GT Long-Term Update 1

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/30/2014 Brian Vance, Motor Trend Staff
2014 Mazda3 S GT Hatchback© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mazda3 S GT Hatchback

The Mazda3 S GT comes complete with the slick Mazda Connect infotainment system, which has a noticeably better interface than the one in the previous ’3. It incorporates AM/FM/satellite/CD/music apps and Bluetooth streaming, navigation, hands-free phone, and a helpful backup camera. All of this feels premium and distinctive in an inexpensive compact and significantly ups the perceived value of Mazda's latest hatch. It's a worthwhile addition to the car's MSRP and one I was glad to have … that is, until it failed on my way to Las Vegas.

2014 Mazda3 GT S© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mazda3 GT S

That's correct. After stopping on the outskirts of L.A. for a snack, I started the car only to find the system malfunctioning and the screen blank. I attempted a reboot, but, after numerous tries, nothing had changed -- and there I was about to embark on a five-hour drive without audio, nav, or functioning USB ports. Not only inconvenient but a rather odd occurrence in a car that hadn’t even rolled 5000 miles onto its odometer. After a few hours of music-less driving through the vast desert, I decided to pull over and troubleshoot the glitch with the help of the 3's manual. Thirty minutes of frustrating page-flipping and index-referencing had me back to square one. I realized that, short of a weekend visit to a Las Vegas Mazda dealer, I was going to be forced to suffer a music- and nav-free car for the weekend and all phone calls would have to go through my headset, not Bluetooth.

Research

The silence was a good opportunity to test the car’s ability to adjust its speed using its radar cruise control. On a highway such as I-15 to Nevada, no motorist can agree how fast to travel, and, without rhyme or reason, people skip along at their own pace, truly putting to test the ’3's adaptable system’s capacity to adjust to a never-ending change in velocity. Much to my surprise and delight, Mazda has tuned the ’3’s system to minimize panic braking, smooth transitions, and offer more seamlessly on-the-fly adjustments than similar systems in cars that cost significantly more than this hatch.

Upon returning to L.A., a visit to the dealer yielded an infotainment fix: The software was upgraded to the latest version, resulting in all systems reverting back to normal and power being restored to the USB ports.

More on our long-term 2014 Mazda3 S GT:


Our Car
Service life8544 mi
Average fuel economy31.0 mpg
CO2 emissions0.63 lb/mi
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ28/38/32 mpg
Energy consumption109 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problemsNone
Maintenance cost$0
Normal-wear cost$0

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