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2014 Mazda3 S GT Long-Term Update 3

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/21/2014 Brian Vance, Motor Trend Staff

Suddenly in the halls of MT we've a new king, well … at least a new hatchback king.

You see, my esteemed colleague, Benson Kong, produced an eye-opening hatchback Big Test in our November 2014 issue in which an almost identical version of this car battled it out with a field of five, ultimately giving up its typical comparo crown to our newest Car of the Year, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. No doubt the Golf deserves this top-shelf honor, yet by no means is the '3 ready drive quietly into parking garage and pretend as if it doesn't have numerous comparo wins under its belt, some dating back 10 years to its arrival in 2004. This car is still very much a top pick, and if you dig deeper into Kong's comparo, you'll see why. Its MT Real MPG results show it walloping the Golf by 3 miles per gallon. Also noted was the impressively bolstered rear seats, easy-to-swing-up rear hatch, sophisticated crash-avoidance systems using brake support and forward obstruction warning, and an optimal peak torque rpm of 3,250 that makes for ideal peppy zips around local boulevards and expressways. In addition, the '3's Intellichoice cost of 5-year ownership came in at $35,045, almost $3,000 less than the Golf ($37,916).

Ten spokes on each wheel means there are 40 of them to wash during a Sunday sponge session.© Provided by MotorTrend Ten spokes on each wheel means there are 40 of them to wash during a Sunday sponge session. Ever since the new mk7 Golf has arrived, I've spent a fair amount of time with it, driven the TDI and electric versions, and have even blown a few lunch breaks building/pricing a GTI on the web. Yet at the end of the day it's the Mazda that I like best. It steers better, has better chassis dynamics, and in general likes to be flung harder around the rights and lefts. Plus, my gut tells me that the Mazda might be more trouble-free. Lastly, as handsome as the Golf is, the '3's exterior styling is more attractive, and the interior materials and craftsmanship are of a higher quality.

But no one wants to be second place, and no doubt Mazda is going to want to get right back on its horse and start gunning for another win. Kong states that this can likely be achieved if Mazda finds a way to minimize road noise, add better folding seat actuators, and increase the rear-seat passenger comfort.

More on our long-term Mazda3 S GT:

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

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