CHICAGO, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The redesigned 2014 Mazda3 was today named the "Best Compact Car" by MotorWeek during a press conference held at the Chicago Auto Show honoring its 2014 Drivers' Choice Award winners. All-new from sketch to sheet metal, this third-generation Mazda3 features the game-changing elements of the SKYACTIV®1 TECHNOLOGY engineering philosophy and the brawny swagger of the KODO "Soul of Motion" design language. Mazda3 also features all-new technology with the debut of MAZDA CONNECT™, a next-generation driving-focused in-vehicle connectivity system, an innovative Active Driving Display and the complete i-ACTIVSENSE system, which consists of active-safety pre-crash detection features.
"As our best-selling vehicle, expectations remained high during every chapter of the Mazda3's history," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "From critics to consumers, Mazda vehicles must perform not to a traditional industry standard but to a benchmark the brand has established of itself, one of design, performance, quality and value. The 2014 Mazda3 not only meets such standards but exceeds them."
Since 1983, the annual Drivers' Choice Awards has recognized the top vehicles of the year, all judged from a buyer's point of view. Factors that matter most to consumers – price, practicality, performance and fuel efficiency – are considered as well as recent trends and innovations, which play a large part in the overall selection process. This is the 17th time a Mazda vehicle has been honored. Multiple Mazda vehicles have been named the "Best" vehicle in the Hatchback, Small Car, Minivan, Sports Car and Convertible categories as well as earning the overall Best of the Year award. The Mazda 626 was named "Best Import 4-Door" during the awards' inaugural year with the most recent win belonging to the then all-new 2013 CX-5 for "Best Small Utility" in 2012.
Starting at $16,9452 MSRP for four-door models and $18,945 MSRP for the five-door, 2014 Mazda3 vehicles are powered by either a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter gasoline engine. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0L is standard on i-designated models (SV, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring) and produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, and can be paired with either the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda3 i models offer one of the best fuel economy numbers in its class, with four-door models achieving an EPA-estimated 41 highway mpg. Five-door models are EPA estimated at 40 highway mpg, regardless of transmission choice.
The larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5L is standard on s-designated models (Touring, Grand Touring) and offers 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm, 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm and currently is only available with the automatic transmission. However, the six-speed manual has been confirmed to be added as a transmission selection at a later date. Four-door models equipped with the 2.5L are EPA-estimated at 39 highway mpg while five-doors are EPA-estimated at up to 38 highway mpg, when equipped with i-ELOOP. i-ELOOP – a Mazda3 first and segment-exclusive Mazda option – is a capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system aimed at improving fuel economy, particularly during stop-and-go traffic.
Making its Mazda debut is MAZDA CONNECT, an in-car connectivity system based on the "Heads-Up Cockpit" concept that is meant to help minimize driver distractions, allowing for more engaged, intuitive and safer driving habits even as more information is presented to the driver.
i-ACTIVSENSE completes Mazda3's technology overhaul by offering active-safety features that use sensing devices such as milliwave radars, lasers and cameras to help the driver recognize hazards, avoid collisions and minimize damage during accidents. While these systems will not eliminate accidents their intent is to minimize them and reduce their severity.
Recently named a "Top Safety Pick+," the highest safety distinction awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Mazda3's standard safety features beginning with the Touring trim level include Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Grand Touring vehicles (s models only) add an Adaptive Front-lighting System as standard equipment. Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Forward Obstruction Warning, a Lane Departure Warning System, High Beam Control and Smart City Brake Support, a pre-crash safety feature that helps to avoid certain collisions and minimize damage in the event of a collision, are available as package options.
Debuting in 1981, MotorWeek launched a new television genre by becoming the first weekly series to offer consumer-oriented car and truck reviews, do-it-yourself car care tips and the latest in auto industry news. Produced by Maryland Public Television, MotorWeek airs on 92% of PBS stations nationwide as well as on cable via Discovery's Velocity channel and the V-me Spanish-language network. MotorWeek is television's longest-running automotive series. For more information on MotorWeek and the Drivers' Choice Awards, visit www.motorweek.org.
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