Ten years ago this month, the first Mazda3 was built in Hofu, Japan (where it is known as the Axela). Here in North America, it became the successor to the popular Protege, beginning with the 2003 model year.
This week the all-new, third-generation 2014 Mazda3 made its same-day debut in Manhattan, Melbourne, Istanbul, St. Petersburg and London.
The idea behind the first generation Mazda3 was to produce a dynamic sports compact car that would exceed expectations and the second-generation, introduced as a 2010 model followed suit.
Both were highly successful with more than 430,000 Mazda3 sold in Canada since its introduction. It has consistently ranked in the top four in passenger car sales in this country and the current model is in a tight battle with the Toyota Corolla for third place.
Globally, more than 3.5-million Mazda3s have been sold, accounting for one-third of the company’s annual sales.
Key features of the new models include Mazda's now well-known SkyActiv technologies and the brand's KODO design language.
SkyActiv is an umbrella designation for a proprietary suite of fuel-efficient, performance-driven components and manufacturing philosophies.
The current model incorporates some of those technologies; the new car will include the full suite.
The engine line-up for Canada will include two versions of Mazda’s SkyActiv-G gasoline engine in 2.0 and 2.5 litre displacements, the latter the same engine now offered in the CX-5 and 2014 Mazda6. A diesel will be offered in other markets, giving us some hope for the future.
Transmission choices include a SkyActiv-MT six-speed manual and SkyActiv--Drive six-speed automatic.
Mazda says the SkyActiv technologies in the 2014 Mazda3 deliver a "jinba-ittai" experience of oneness between car and driver.
KODO design language
The KODO – "Soul of Motion" – design language was introduced on Mazda's Shinari concept car at the Paris auto show in 2010. Said to evoke the aura of "an animal ready to pounce," it made its production-vehicle debut on the 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover.
Its overall height is 1441 mm, making it 15 mm lower and at 1777 mm in width, it is 40 mm wider.
Both the five-door and sedan models are said to have best-in-class drag coefficients Cd) of 0.275 and 0.255, respectively, when equipped with i-ELOOP and an active grille shutter (Canadian availabilitynot yet determined).
The bases of the A-pillars have been repositioned almost 100 mm rearward to afford greater range of vision for both the driver and front passenger. In addition, the outside mirrors are mounted onto the doors instead of the base of the A-pillar to expand the driver's visible scope.
Introduced for the first time in the new third-generation Mazda3 is a new connectivity system that features a Human Machine Interface (HMI) designed to place the highest priority on driving safety.
A wide range of Mazda’s i-ActivSense advanced active safety technologies aid the driver in recognizing and avoiding hazards.Features available in North America under the i-ActivSense umbrella (Canadian availability not yet determined) include:
> High Beam Control (HBC)
> Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
> Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
> Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW)
>Smart City Brake Support (SCBS)
> Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC)
Mazda Canada says the line-up, including feature content, will be optimized for the Canadian market to meet the diverse needs of a wide variety of customers across the country. We'll be able to provide more details closer to the cars' introduction date.