The New ZoomZoom Face is Better
by Xavier Poon
The new 2014 Mazda3 is a sight for sore eyes. Mazda has restyled the car, giving it a sleeker, manlier feel. Although it is only available in the 5-door variant at the moment, there there is nothing wrong with more space. Space is not the only extra thing you get. The 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine in the s Touring or s Grand Touring gives you 184-hp with 28/38 mpg. It is more economical and more powerful than the VW Golf, and you get a lot more stuff as standard with only a little price difference, since all s models come standard with GPS navigation.
Speaking of the GPS system, Mazda made a flop in choosing where to place it. It is sticking out of the dashboard and is not retractable or collapsible, constantly being right underneath the center rear view mirror. Mazda should have known better because I do not think it is safe to have something blocking your view when you drive. They make up for this by having blind spot monitors on the wing mirrors as standard for models that come with GPS systems.
The Mazda3 is overall a pretty safe car. The feel of sitting in the car is not much to boast about, but it is comfortable enough to sit in for daily commutes. It is still a little cramped for a car that looks pretty big on the outside. The rear headroom certainly shoots my expectations dead, as there is barely any if you are taller than an average male. It was quite shocking to feel cramped in a 5-door hatchback. To those who have read my previous reviews, I was more comfortable sitting in the small iQ or Fiat 500 because my body was prepared to feel a little claustrophobic. But hey, you are buying the car to drive, less so to transport passengers, so you care more about the trunk space. With the rear seats folded, and the stupid trunk cover taken away, you get 47.1 cubic feet of space. The materials are an upgrade from the earlier models, rid of cheap plastic, bad coloring, or eye sores. All the panels and buttons feel great to the hands, and they are not a far reach if you did not get the model whose controls are on the steering. All in all, the new interior makes me realize that this car is really made in Japan. New Mazdas are all made in Japan now, which did surprise me.
The 5 variants of the new Mazda3 have 2 engines: the 155-hp 2.0L for the i’s and the 184-hp 2.5L for the s’s. Both engines are very fuel-efficient by maximizing fuel compression. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to try the 2.5L engine, though I wish I had. The 2.0L engine has fuel economy, but it is so slow to me that I wished I didn’t even get into the car in the first place. I am not looking for a fast sports car, but I felt more power and speed from riding my BMX bike. I implore you, future buyers, to get the s Touring or s Grand Touring. These are more pricy but are well equipped, with enough power to boot, and still have the same amount of space for you in the trunk to make less trips moving into a new apartment or to getting all your gear for a nice trip with a special someone. Remember to take breaks on that trip or else you might get too tired from feeling cramped.
The Mazda3’s previous exterior made me take it and drive, then they switched to that smiley grin and I got sick from looking at one. Now I can look at them again, and, given the right model, I will be happy with it being my commuter car. Just cross your fingers for a Mazdaspeed3 in the future.