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2014 Mazda3 GT review

3rd time's the charm By ,

Go-to cars are a manufacturer’s dream. These cars are the ones that enable a carmaker to do the business of making cars.

This may not make all that much sense, but if you consider that a car sells itself for whatever reason and in huge quantities, this equates to a steady stream of revenue, allowing for more R&D and new products. A great example of this is the Toyota Corolla. Another perfect specimen is the subject of this review, the 2014 Mazda3. In fact, both are very new and of such monumental importance in the compact car segment that we pitted the two against each other.

The 2014 Mazda3 has much to live up to given its mostly stellar reputation as a driver’s car and a value-packed and economical small car. The 2014 Mazda3 delivers and matches expectations, often the most difficult trick to pull off. The car drives impressively well, is built with care and attention to detail and provides its owners, which will be numerous, with satisfaction mile after mile.

What is a Mazda3 GT?
The 2014 Mazda3 is the 3rd generation of its namesake. Previously known as the 323 and Protegé, the compact Mazda today represents no less than 1/3 of all sales worldwide. This car is such a runaway success that Mazda’s future essentially rests on its shoulders.

Offered in both a hatchback and sedan body styles, the Mazda3 is the cornerstone of Mazda’s lineup of properly designed and engineered cars. Should you have any doubts, check out the latest Mazda6 and CX-5.

2014 Mazda3 GT Price and Specs
The base price of the new 2014 Mazda3 sedan is $15,995. This price point lands it squarely in the heart of the compact car segment. The base Sport starts at an even $1,000 more.

My tested GT sedan contained every option under the rising sun, including the Technology (loaded with safety features) and luxury packages for a total of $29,855.

All GX and GS trim 3s make use of a 155-horsepower 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. With it can be selected a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. GT cars gain a 184-horsepower 2.5L 4-pot and standard 6-speed slush box.

Driving the 2014 Mazda3 GT
Finely and smartly tuned is the best way to describe how the 2014 Mazda3 drives and handles. Truly, the new 2014 Mazda3 is a brilliant car to drive, providing good driver feedback, positive-feeling mechanicals, and an overall solid and confident feeling.

In true Mazda fashion, the 3 is very well balanced: power = handling = steering = braking. The Mazda MX-5 is the best example of this harmonious arrangement. The Mazda3, whether powered by the 2.0L or 2.5L, is never overwhelmed by the driver’s demands.

The chassis is firm and well supported by its fully independent suspension with stabilizer bars. The Mazda3’s setup is equally capable of smoothing out rough roads as it is at maintaining its posture in rapid avoidance maneuvers. Body roll is practically non-existent and turn-in is crisp. Steering response is linear with no perceivable dead spots in its electrical assistance.

The volume engine will be the 2.0L and it suffices in every normal daily driving circumstance. To be sure, it’s more exciting than the Corolla’s and Civic’s 1.8L mills. With the 6-speed manual box, it’s actually entertaining. Shifter throws and the clutch pedal have some weight behind them, creating that driver involvement.

The 2.5L found in the GT transforms the Mazda3 into something of a rocket. Although I would have liked a 6-speed manual box, the automatic is lively and eager. Extra fun and control comes from the wheel-mounted paddles. Acceleration is more than brisk making the 2014 Mazda3 GT one of the quickest normally aspirated compact cars on the road today.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Mazda3 GT
The 2014 Mazda3 is a visual stunner. Its dynamism shines through its sculpted bodylines that help make it look far more upscale than it is. Its resemblance to the gorgeous Mazda6 is no coincidence as the merger of Mazda products towards a single KODO design language is well underway.

In a rare twist, the 4-door sedan’s elegance trumps the Sport’s hatchback body. The overly rounded rear quarters of the Sport are at odds with the car’s front and side crispness.

The cabin is also a hit. There’s a simple yet appreciable German aspect to its simplicity and austere presentation. The gauges are smart and reasonably easily to read. I would trash the motorized heads-up display altogether as it clashes severely with everything else.

Ergonomics are good overall and I like the rotary knob used to navigate through the car’s multiple menus. The screen is touch-sensitive, combining the best of both worlds.

Front and rear seats are comfortable, the cabin is roomy, and the driving position is spot on as it should be in a driver’s car. Fit and finish are very good.

Comparing the 2014 Mazda3 GT
I mentioned “hotly contested” earlier and this is because no other segment draws more new car buyers in Canada than the compact car group. In fact, the bestselling cars in Canada, year over year and for quite a long time now, have come from this category.

The likes of the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, and the aforementioned Corolla all play rough. The Civic continues to hold the top spot in the country but the 3 is well equipped for a long hard fight.

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    2014 Mazda 3 GT
    mazda 3 2014
    2014 Mazda 3 GT
    Review this Vehicle
    Styling
    Accessories
    Space and Access
    Comfort
    Performance
    Driving Dynamics
    Safety
    General Appreciation
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