LOS ANGELES, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new 2014 Mazda3 was today awarded the 2014 "Innovation Vehicle of the Year" in the "Under $29,000" category by the Los Angeles-based Motor Press Guild (MPG). Making its global debut in June, the 2014 Mazda3 is completely redesigned from the ground up, sharing nothing with its non-SKYACTIV predecessors except for its well-recognized name. Featuring the full suite of lightweight, fuel-saving SKYACTIV®1 technologies, aggressive styling with KODO "Soul of Motion" character lines, all-new active safety offerings in i-ACTIVSENSE and a "Heads-Up Cockpit"-based HMI/infotainment system known as MAZDA CONNECT™, this third-generation Mazda3 was more than ready to go head-to-head with its compact car stable mates.
"The 2014 Mazda3's success continues to show that compact no longer means cheap, that non-luxury no longer means non-premium," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "It's a great honor to be awarded MPG's first-ever IVY. We are proud to offer consumers – and critics – a vehicle that exceeds expectations and innovation not only in driving excitement but also in safety, fuel economy, technology and value. It's no secret that Mazda3 is our best-selling vehicle worldwide, and it's no secret as to why."
Adds John Dinkel, IVY Committee Chairman, MPG: "The 2014 Mazda3 is the compact car with a difference, which is SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. This family of advanced technologies takes us down a path of a future of highly efficient but still fun-to-drive affordable cars. The 2014 Mazda3 offers a whole family of safety innovations previously only available on much more expensive cars and is the best-built and most refined compact Mazda has ever produced."
Formerly known as the MPG Vehicle of the Year (VOTY) award program, which named the top vehicles by segment, the IVY awards shifts the criteria to focus on a vehicle's significance within the industry as a whole. The annual award recognizes two vehicles – one priced at less than $29,000, the other more than – that were evaluated and judged based on overall innovation, technology/engineering, safety, environmental impact and price/affordability/value.
While nominations are open to all MPG members, including manufacturer representatives, final voting is limited only to journalist and analyst members. This is the first time Mazda has received an MPG award.
The 2014 Mazda3 starts at $16,9452 MSRP and is offered in four trim levels – SV (sedan only), Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Available in either a four- or five-door body style, Mazda3 was the first vehicle in North America to feature SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY by introducing the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine as well as the SKYACTIV six-speed manual and automatic transmissions for the 2012 model year. The 2014 model year adds a larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine (s-designated trims), which produces 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. The 2.0L engine (i-designated trims) can still spike the punch with 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Mazda3 also out-sips most of its competition with an EPA-rated highway fuel economy of up to 41 mpg. Two-liter four-doors achieve mpg ratings of 29 city/41 highway/33 combined with the manual transmission and 30 city/41 highway/34 combined mpg when paired with an automatic. Five-door versions offer EPA-estimated mpg of 29 city/40 highway/33 combined (6MT) and 30 city/40 highway/33 combined (6AT). Currently, 2.5L Mazda3s are available only with a six-speed automatic transmission but has been confirmed to receive the six-speed manual at a later date.
Mazda3 vehicles equipped with the larger engine do offer the optional capacitor-based i-ELOOP regenerative engine braking system to further improve vehicle efficiency. Four-door models are EPA rated at 28 city/39 highway/32 combined mpg. The five-door model is rated at 27 city/37 highway/31 combined mpg or at an increased EPA-estimated 28 city/38 highway/32 combined mpg when equipped with i-ELOOP.
About Motor Press Guild
The Motor Press Guild is the largest automotive media association in North America. This exclusive, non-profit organization is dedicated to upholding the highest ideals in automotive journalism and promoting education and information exchange within the motoring press. Members include journalists, photographers and new media professionals as well as public relations representatives, consumer groups and automotive industry-related government bodies.
About Mazda North American Operations
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.
1 SKYACTIV is a registered trademark of Mazda Motor Corporation (MC).
2 Starting price is manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest trim level. MSRP does not include $795 destination charge (Alaska $840), title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.
SOURCE Mazda North American Operations