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The new face of best in class
by Craig Cole

Since it went on sale in 2003 the Mazda3 has become a vital product for the Japanese automaker. In fact over the last decade they’ve delivered more than 3.5 million of these compact cars. It accounts for 30 percent of the brand’s sales around the world, which means nearly one out of three Mazdas sold is a 3.

But now the company is in a bit of a tough spot. How do you improve a wildly successful product without alienating exiting customers or driving away other potential buyers? The answer is carefully, very carefully. The devil really is in the details.

SKYACTIV TO THE BONE

Fuel economy is the No. 1 driving force behind many automotive trends these days. The need for ever-greater efficiency is pushing car companies to explore things like advanced drivetrain technologies, cutting-age materials and even new fuels. But delivering mega miles per gallon is not enough, it has to be attainable by normal drivers; that is the true challenge this industry faces.

Rather than relying on a single magic bullet solution to maximize economy Mazda is taking a holistic approach with its Skyactiv technology suite.

To deliver the goods every component gets scrutinized and optimized to reduce weight or improve efficiency. This ranges from the vehicle’s very foundation, the unibody architecture, to engines, transmissions and beyond. For U.S.-market cars the weight savings are in the neighborhood of 100 pounds, which is huge for a vehicle that’s structurally stiffer and rides on a longer wheelbase.

This attention to detail has really paid off; the 2014 Mazda3 delivers some pretty impressive fuel-economy numbers. The most efficient version of the car is a four-door sedan with the base 2.0-liter engine and an automatic transmission. These models are estimated to deliver 30 miles per gallon in city driving and up to 41 on the highway!
Read the complete 2014 Mazda3 Review at AutoGuide.com
 

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Nice review! I hope to get my hand on this car a few months!
 

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Cars.com Review is Up. First Drive

Another well rounded first drive review by cars.com just posted here:
http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2013/09/2014-mazda3-first-drive.html

I still hate this Mazda Connect "iPod Mini" on top of the dash. What were they thinking? It's like the designers got done and said, "Ooops, we forgot to add a Navi screen. Oh, just stick up on the dash."
 

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The cars.com review seems less positive than all the others I've seen. I wonder why that reviewer is out of line with all the rest.
 

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The nav makes sense. You can either have it lower and out of line of site or have it where it is and build the whole dash around it and then have a huge dash. Like ford and honda does.





BMW is also doing it this way.

 

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It does look out of place, but once you're in the car it all make sense and I quite like it. It's nice to have the screen at your line of sight without having to look down, even slightly. I test drove the sGT today and found the location of the screen very useful. Oddly, I found the head up display a bit distracting. Maybe it's my first time seeing one but I found myself staring at mph on the little plastic screen a lot wile driving lol The sales guy says I probably won't get distracted by it once I get use to it.
 

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... Oddly, I found the head up display a bit distracting. Maybe it's my first time seeing one but I found myself staring at mph on the little plastic screen a lot wile driving lol The sales guy says I probably won't get distracted by it once I get use to it.
Can you turn the heads up display off? I had one in a Pontiac Grand Prix GTP and I also found it distracting however it could be turned off in that vehicle.

EDIT: It looks like you can turn it off (page 4-19 of the owner's manual posted earlier)
 

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Yeah I was playing around with the settings and you can turn them off. You can also turn off the LED DRL too and some other settings you can customize. Such as how long you want the lights to stay on after you shut off the car, how loud you want the turn signal to sound inside the car, how sensitive you want the auto light, and bunch of other stuffs, pretty neat.
 
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