2014 Mazda3 with SKYACTIV Preview

Discussion in 'Mazda' started by xcel, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] More efficient, more room and better looking.

    Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - July 1, 2013

    2014 Mazda3 – Pricing and EPA estimates to be released later this summer with an on sale date in early fall. Bye bye smiley face, hello signature wing within the five-point grille.

    Late last week Mazda revealed its next generation Mazda3 to North America with an almost simultaneous release across the globe. In doing so, they have signaled to the automotive press and consumer alike that not only will they continue to provide their almost patented “best in class” ride and handling attributes, they are doing so within a larger platform with even better fuel economy. Best of all, the new 3 will use Mazda’s “Soul of Motion” design language as currently being used in both the 2014 Mazda CX-5 and all-new 2014 Mazda6.

    Meet the all-new 2014 Mazda3

    While the current generation 3 was equipped with much of the SKYACTIV design, the all-new 3 is going to arrive with everything Mazda has in its technology toolbox.

    From a platform standpoint, the all-new third generation Mazda3 is lower than ever before. To begin, the all-new 3 sits on a 106.3 inch wheelbase, 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation, which should provide an abundance of rear seat leg room? Rear seat legroom was reported as 35.8 inches vs. the current 5-door’s 36.2 so we will have to take a standard adjust and sit up front, sit in the rear pic to compare.

    Little about the sedan was offered whereas the five-door is 1.8 inches shorter in length at 175.6 inches. Height has been reduced by .6 inches to 57.3 inches while width has been increased substantially to 70.7 inches, 1.6 inches more than the current model. This helps explain the rather large increase in shoulder room of 57.2 and 54.4 inches front and rear, up 2.3 and .4 inches respectively.

    Full SKYACTIV Drivetrain

    This one will frost some of us as the hyper efficient 2.2L SKYACTIV-D turbo diesel and a “hybrid” are being made available for the Japan consumer for the 2014 MY. For North America, we will receive the current 2.0 and 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engines right out of the Mazda CX-5 and Mazda6. Mazda will also offer a 1.5L SKYACTIV-G (99 hp @ 6,000 rpm 111 lb-ft. of torque @ 4,000rpm) for Asian or European markets but that was also understandably dismissed for US consumption.

    For more on the 13.0:1 CR based 2.0 and 2.5L SKYACTIV-G’s, consider the First Drive Review of the 2014 Mazda6 or 2013 Mazda CX-5 Review.

    On the fuel economy front, Mazda stated the new 3 will be more fuel efficient than the current 3 and its 12.0:1 2.0L SKYACTIV-G engine. With the addition of Mazda’s i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system (Mazda’s Capacitor Based Automotive Regenerative Braking System), we might see another .5 to 1 mpg city. And of course it will be an additional cost. All told, we will probably see the sedan arrive with a 30/41 mpgUS city/highway rating with the 6-speed AT and the stick with a 30/40 mpgUS city/highway rating. For the hatch, the EPA results are 30/40/33 mpgUS city/highway/combined with the 6-speed AT and 29/40/33 mpgUS city/highway/combined with the 6-speed stick.

    Chassis Upgrades

    As mentioned above, the all new 2014 3 will incorporate the entire suite of SKYACTIV tech including -Body and -Chassis enhancements. According to Mazda, the SKYACTIV-Body increased rigidity by 30 percent compared to the current model while also reducing weight.

    Where the 3 gets even more enticing is that somehow Mazda has squeezed in more straight line stability and ride comfort with new suspension tuning. It was already the best on the road and to get better must have taken some doing. Mazda added a new mechatronic column-type electric power assist steering system with a ratio of 14.0:1 for even better road feel. They also said brake response was improved to be even more responsive. The current gen was a standout and if they made it better, you may as well take it to the track!

    Exterior Design

    2014 Mazda3 Sedan’s new 5-point Signature Grille


    The base trim will arrive with 16-inch steel wheels with covers whereas the higher trims will receive either 16 or 18 inch alloys.

    Like the recent and highly recommended 2014 CX5 and 2014 Mazda6, the all-new Mazda3 includes the much needed signature five-point grille, wide-stance fender bulges and flowing crisscrossing character lines, one off the front fender sweeping down through the doors and one flowing from the rear wrap around lenses from the rear and disappearing into the rear door.

    From the profile it appears rear seat ingress/egress has been hampered in the name of modern coupe like cab rearward styling with the lower height rear door opening and a much shallower rear window opening. Steeply raked rear glass with a slick looking and integrated rear spoiler and a lower chrome belt line finishes off the upscale touches to the profile.

    What is most interesting however is that the five-door hatch and sedan are said to incorporate a best-in-class coefficient of drag (Cd) of just 0.275 for the hatch and 0.255 for the sedan. Much of this can be accounted for with new underbody panels, new tire deflectors, new turbulence-suppressing spoilers, steeply raked front and rear window glass, and an active grille shutter up front.

    Interior Design

    Inside the new 3 looks very much like the all-new 2014 Mazda6 with some new additions. Mazda made a big deal about the pedal layout being spaced evenly to the left and right of the driver’s center-line. And like the Mazda6, the 3’s A-pillar bases have been moved back 3.9 inches rearward to offer a better view of the road just to the sides ahead.

    What’s new however is the removal of the smallish 5.8” screen in the center of the dash of the Mazda6 and an all-new 7” LCD panel infotainment display? Yeah!!!

    In addition there is a new human-machine interface (HMI) system similar to a heads-up display. It is a clear pop-up panel behind the instrument hood and directly in the line of sight of the drivers view called Active Driving Display. It shows vehicle speed and navigation directions. It automatically folds back into a hidden position when the ignition is shut off.

    I doubt either the larger center LCD or Active Driving Display will be standard equipment but I could be wrong?

    The instrument cluster features a centrally positioned analog gauge flanked by a pair of wing-shaped digital displays. From the gauge cluster, a decorative satin chrome dash panel, chrome like vent surrounds, and door handles brighten up the interior with piano black trim pieces in the center console and front door inserts class it up even further. I liked the current Mazda3 displays other than the red low resolution alphanumerics and the new 3 promises to fix that plus a lot more.

    Mazda says the driver’s seat cushion was made larger while the seat back provides a more natural seating position. I really liked the current generations 3’s seats so this new design will have to be experienced with a drive of our own.

    2014 Mazda3 Interior

    She’s been spiffed up inside quite a bit.​


    The new OS connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and can easily be updated to ensure users always have access to the latest features and services without the need to swap out hardware. Whether this will be a base model addition or not remains to be seen. An AM/FM radio, CD (not sure why that is still there???) and USB/auxiliary port connection are standard whereas moving up a trim level or two will find Sirius Satellite Radio and the internet-based Aha by HARMAN making to the all-new 3. In addition, an optional Bose premium audio system with Centerpoint2 virtual surround sound playback will be available.

    The system also can read email and short messages aloud while the vehicle is in motion using text-to-voice technology. Short Message Service (SMS) messages can be received and shown on the touch screen monitor. The system can then articulate messages and allow users to send replies using fixed phrases. A new speech recognition system also allows users to repeat and shuffle audio tracks, as well as search and select folders. When connected with a smartphone, Twitter and Facebook updates can be read by the system with audio responses available using the Shout function. The system also allows users to search the internet for locations and map directions. An SD card-based navigation system is optional.


    Standard safety features on the 2014 Mazda3 include six airbags (front, side and full side-curtain), whiplash-reducing front headrests, power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA), daytime running lights (DRL), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), a Traction Control System (TCS), a collapsible steering column (following air bag deployment), a trunk entrapment release system, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters as well as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH).

    Like the all-new 2014 Mazda6, the 2014 Mazda3 will be offered with the available i-ACTIVSENSE suite. Here are those features in a nutshell.

    • High Beam Control (HBC) automatically switches the headlamps between high and low beams.
    • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) detects objects located in blind-spot areas to the sides and rear of the vehicle and issues a visual alert within the outside mirrors for the driver to see. Should the turn signal be on for the direction in which the “blind” object is located, audible beeps will alert the driver.
    • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) monitors the lane markings on the road and issues a warning to the driver when it predicts that the vehicle is going to depart from its lane.
    • Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW) monitors the vehicle ahead and issues both audible and visual alerts to help the driver take evasive action when it determines a high risk of collision to exist. FOW operates when traveling between speeds of 9 and 92 mph.
    • Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) is used at speeds less than 19 mph. SCBS helps prevent or minimize a collision with a slowing or stopped vehicle ahead. Should the imbedded laser sensor detect an object, and the system calculates there may be a high risk for collision; the brake pedal travel is reduced in order to hasten braking. Should the driver fail to perform an avoidance maneuver, the system will activate an automatic braking function.
    • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) determines the difference in speed and distance to the vehicle in front and will automatically adjust the cruising speed in order to maintain a safe distance.
    For even more detail, consider the 2014 Mazda6 with i-Activsense write-up.

    The Sedan


    The Hatch

    The rear cargo area really does look a lot larger than a std. hatch we are being sold nowadays!

    Rear hatch with seats up and down. It appears to provide 30 to 36 inches of floor space with the seats up!


    C-Segment Hatch Competitive Comparison

    YearMakeModelEnginehpTorque (lb-ft.)Fuel Economy (mpgUS city/highway)Passenger Vol. (cu. ft.)Cargo Vol. (cu. ft.)Max Cargo Cap w/ Rear Seats down (cu. ft.)Total Interior Vol. (cu. ft.)
    2014Mazda32.0L15515029/40 (6-speed MT) – 30/40 (6-speed AT)96.420.247.1116.6

    2013HyundaiElantra GT1.8L14813126/37 (6-speed MT) – 27/37 (6-speed AT)962351119
    2013ToyotaMatrix1.8L13212826/32 (6-speed MT) – 25/32 (4-speed AT)942049114
    2013FordFocus 5-door2.0L16014626/36 (5-speed MT) – 28/38 (6-speed AT)912445110
    2013VWGolf2.5L17017723/33 (6-speed MT) – 24/31 (6-speed AT)9315NA108

    Early Conclusions

    For one, the all-new 3’s signature 5 point grille and Soul of Motion exterior lines bring the Mazda3 up from an also ran to the top of the class. It appears even better than the class leading exterior designed Elantra in fact and that is saying something! Where the 3 may have some trouble is the ingress/egress into the rear seats. That coupe like profile and small day light opening look modern and cool as hell but may cause problems for young families or Gen X’ers looking to take their friends for a ride.

    Inside, it is an evolutionary step with classier touch points and cleaner lines. Thankfully the new 7 inch central display matches the industry minimum as well. I will have to give the Elantra and all of its back lit switches the nod for best in class with the 2014 Mazda3 sitting right there on its heels.

    When it comes to the powerplant, nothing could touch the current mostly SKYACTIV equipped second generation Mazda3 from a performance and fuel economy combination standpoint. With even more power and fuel economy available, it will probably be move to the first or second highest fuel economy capable non-hybrid/non-diesel compact available in all of North America.

    All in, the current 3 was already the best handling car from a driver’s perspective. With the advent of Soul of Motion exterior and interior design, it just moved up to the top of the class in looks too. Adding the additional fuel economy capability, the compact class just got a little better and if you decide to take the Mazda off your short list, you could be making a big mistake.

    2014 Mazda3 Hatch

    Looking good from any angle…​
  2. wallet

    wallet Member

    Very beautyful, the side view is amazing :)
  3. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    Damn you Mazda! Damn you the hell for doing this to me!

    If this dream car ever had the 2.2 Sky-D with start stop I-Eloop. It would be hands down the best non hybrid car in the world!
  4. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    This is a sweet car. I like everything but the ground clearance. The CX-5 has ground clearance but also another 500lbs of weight I don't want. Sigh.
  5. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I agree, Jay. That thing looks REALLY low to the ground, forward of the front axle. Not good news for us westerners who actually like to get out and enjoy the outdoors. We don't need SUVs, but we do need a good 5-6" of ground clearance.
  6. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    This is the engine I want ! With smaller wheels and tires, too. How is it that Honda sells boatloads of 1.5 liter Fits , but Mazda won't offer a 1.5 in this car ? Not enough zoom-zoom ? I'm disgusted and very disappointed in Mazda.
  7. Prozac

    Prozac Well-Known Member

    It looks awfully familiar to me. Especially, the back end. Not saying that is a bad thing, but the Elantra GT is already here.

  8. killer6795

    killer6795 MazdaMiser

    Even if they did offer the 1.5L, they would have to gear it like the Mazda2 (or the Fit for that matter) so that the thing would still "zoom", therefore killing any potential fuel economy gains (especially for highway use). I drive mostly on highways, so I would much rather have a 2.0L with TALL gears. You hear me Mazda, TALL gears!
  9. killer6795

    killer6795 MazdaMiser

    It doesn't matter who's first, it matters who's best. Ugh, I'm such a Mazda fanboy..... My apologies. Actually, they both look really good.
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

  11. Prozac

    Prozac Well-Known Member


    Don't get me wrong, there will be different driving characteristics between the two. I have love Mazda ever since my '86 RX7 that I had back in the early 90's. It is just the design of these two look very similar.
  12. jbart

    jbart Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the updates Wayne!
    I am a fan of the Hyundai Elantra GT as well. Although Im sold on the Mazda Zoom Zoom too!
    We had a Mazda Protege 5 which was super fun to drive, but FE was terrible for such a small car. City mileage especially as we drove about 75% city with that little car. Rust was a horrible problem for mazda for some time up here in the North so hopefully they have remedied that along with Honda and Toyota since the 90's.

    I love the new Mazda 6 Touring in photos!!! Love the wagon utility and car drivability. However, as we wont ever see that here in NA, the Mazda 3 or CX-5 is the next closest thing. I dont like driving vans or SUVs daily, so I think its between a Mazda 3 or Elantra GT despite their smaller cargo holds, the hatch gives flexibility that no sedan can (sorry new Accord!).

    Just my 2 cents and love reading the reviews Wayne.
    p.s. congrats on the WR drive! I keep seeing a few links here and there on the inter-web and it makes me smile. Have a great day!
  13. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Plus - It looks good. I love the new front end. Much better than the goofy LOL face of the previous model.

    Minus - Too bad about the tiny slits for window. The front looks good, but rear seat passengers will only see sky. Rear view will be badly restricted as well.

    Minus - they changed it from a mini-wagon to a true hatchback. Shorter overall, plus improved legroom = smaller cargo space. That severely sloped rear window cuts out a lot of volume as well.

    Plus - it's a Mazda. It should be a great driver's car. :D Reports about the 6 and CX-5 point to this as well.
  14. killer6795

    killer6795 MazdaMiser

    I've heard the Elantra GT with the manual is pretty fun to drive, so Mazda better not just rest on its laurels. I completely agree, they look similar, and both look really good!:)
  15. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    Sorry but Mazda had this Shinari concept way back in 2009. You can clearly see the 3s DNA here along with all their new line.

    I frankly don't see much similarity in the GT but if you do then you can see where that would have come from.

    In my opinion, in terms of design. The new 3 is a masterpiece compared to the GT.

    Now lets see how Wayne does testing one with the 2.0l Sky-G and maybe just MAYBE a Sky-D?


  16. SI_Prius

    SI_Prius Well-Known Member

    Here are the specs of gear ratios for 1.5, 2.0 and 2.2 manual gear box sold in Europe:
    and other specs on the bottom of this site:

    I don't understand why 2 final gear ratios for diesel? I also don't understand why higher final drive ratio on 2.0 with high power, than that with lower power? Are the tyres difrent diameter, can someone explain.
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi SI Prius:

    All of these European specs and more on the 1.5L are available on Mazda's European media site.

    SKYACTIV-MT transmission (preliminary)

    SKYACTIV-G 1.5SKYACTIV-G 2.0 Standard PowerSKYACTIV-G 2.0 High Power with i-ELOOPSKYACTIV-D 2.2
    Transmission type6-speed manual6-speed manual6-speed manual6-speed manual
    Gear ratios
    Reverse3.7243.7243.385 4.091
    Final drive ratio4.1053.6194.3883.619 / 2.814

    SKYACTIV-Drive transmission (preliminary)
    SKYACTIV-G 2.0 Standard PowerSKYACTIV-D 2.2
    Transmission type6-speed automatic6-speed automatic
    Gear ratios
    Final drive ratio4.3253.548


  18. SI_Prius

    SI_Prius Well-Known Member

    Ok, thanks for the same tables :)

    How to interpret them? 6th gear final ratio would be (6th * final):
    1.5 = 2.791
    2.0 SP = 2.461
    2.0 HP = 2.983
    2.2D = 2.573/2.000

    It doesn't make sense to have that big difference for the two 2.0 engines and 1.5 somewhere in between, or does it?
  19. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    It does seem a little odd. Maybe the "High Power" means "illusion of high power brought on by lower gearing". Or maybe a typo.

    I do wonder how much acceleration would suffer if the 1.5 had the 3.619 final drive ratio of the 2.0. I probably wouldn't care.

    And sure , this car is very similar to the Elantra GT. They are both handsome cars. One probably can't go wrong buying either one.
  20. SI_Prius

    SI_Prius Well-Known Member

    A standard power 2.0 has 88 kW and high power has 121 kW, torque is the same, a standard has practically the same constant power from 4,000 to 6,000 rpm, while the high power goes from 88 kW at 4,000 and peaks at 6,000 with 121 kW. This looks like a software or some other form of restriction, probably because of different taxes and insurances that are on kW here in Europe. 0-62 mph is only 0.7 s slower.

    Compression ratio in Europe's version is also higher with 14:1.

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