All-New Mazda3 Unveiled; Includes Hybrid

Mazda unveiled to the world its all-new 2014 Mazda3 compact yesterday during an event in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

While unveiling the hatchback version of its new compact Mazda also confirmed this new generation will be on sale this fall.

Mazda said this new Mazda3 is engineered with the full complement of SKYACTIV technologies as well as the styling of the KODO design language.

Other launch events were also held in Melbourne, Istanbul, St. Petersburg and London to debut the new vehicle, as well as celebrate the 10th year of Mazda3 production, a successful car that replaced the Protege in North America.

“With more than 3.5 million vehicles sold globally, the Mazda3 is the brand’s best-selling and most recognizable name plate, and its redesign for 2014 shows just how much attention to detail and care we put into this important vehicle,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations. “SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO have performed as advertised and received critical acclaim, with even more technologies and materials to be introduced with the 2014 Mazda3. On the heels of the launch of the 2013 CX-5 compact crossover SUV last fall and the 2014 Mazda6 early this year, this is an exciting time for Mazda, and we’re only getting started.”

2014_Mazda3_5D_RearFor the North American market, the 2014 Mazda3 will be offered with two engine choices: the currently-offered SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine, as presently found in the CX-5 and 2014 Mazda6.

Mazda also said that globally, the Mazda3 will offer the widest SKYACTIV powertrain line-up in order to meet local market demands, and will be available with SKYACTIV-G 1.5- to 2.5-liter-sized gasoline engines, a SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine and as a hybrid electric vehicle (Japan only).

Both North American engines feature a new high-tumble-port 4-2-1 exhaust system that increases engine output. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. As compared to the outgoing MZR 2.5-liter engine, the torque output on the SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine at low- to mid-range speeds is increased by 10 to 15 percent, and its weight is reduced by 10 percent.

The SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter produces a peak of 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm, both figures are increases of more than 10 percent over the MZR engine.

2014_Mazda3_5D_IntThe 2014 Mazda3 will be available with a choice of the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual and SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmissions.

The SKYACTIV-MT is said by Mazda to offer the short, crisp shift pattern reminiscent of the MX-5 Miata.

Still per Mazda, SKYACTIV-Drive achieves a direct shift feel and quick gear changes that contribute to quick acceleration, while maximizing the best features of a direct-shift gearbox and a conventional torque-converter system.

The Mazda3 will be available with the company’s i-ELOOP system, though Mazda did not mention which trim level(s) will include it. Hybrid most likely.

Mazda’s i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system employs a capacitor to store electricity generated when the vehicle decelerates. Brake energy regeneration systems improve fuel economy by reducing the inherent parasitic drag of the alternator when possible, to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle under all modes of operation. i-ELOOP, its name derived from “Intelligent Energy Loop,” is the world’s first capacitor-based system to power all of a vehicle’s electrical components.

Lower and leaner than its predecessor, this third generation Mazda3 shares almost nothing with its older siblings other than a name, according to Mazda.

The 2014 Mazda3 sits on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation, yet the five-door hatchback is 1.8 inches shorter in length at 175.6 inches.

With a height of 57.3 inches and a width of 70.7 inches, the Mazda3 reduces its ceiling by 0.6 inches and gains 1.6 inches in the hips while retaining similar headroom space and offering rear legroom at 35.8 inches.

The rear seatbacks are nearly 2.0 inches taller. Front and rear shoulder room also has increased to 57.2 and 54.4 inches, respectively.

The vehicle’s style is not without purpose as the five-door and sedan models achieve, according to Mazda, best-in-class coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.275 and 0.255, respectively, when equipped with i-ELOOP and an active grille shutter. A new-to-Mazda feature, an active grille shutter is mounted in front of the radiator and automatically opens and closes in accordance with driving conditions to improve aerodynamic performance while contributing to real-world gains in fuel economy.

The 2014 Mazda3 introduces several all-new safety systems under the umbrella known as i-ACTIVSENSE.

Mazda said these technologies use sensing devices such as milliwave radars and cameras to support the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions and minimizing damage, should accidents occur. While these systems will not eliminate accidents, their intent is to minimize them and reduce the severity of a crash.

Per the company, the features available under i-ACTIVSENSE for North America are:

  • High Beam Control (HBC) – The system automatically switches the headlamps between high and low beams.
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) – This safety confirmation system detects objects located in blind-spot areas to the sides and rear of the vehicle and issues a visual alert within the outside mirrors for the driver to see. Should the turn signal be on for the direction in which the “blind” object is located, audible beeps will alert the driver.
  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) – This system monitors the lane markings on the road and issues a warning to the driver when it predicts that the vehicle is going to depart from its lane.
  • Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW) – This system monitors the vehicle ahead and issues both audible and visual alerts to help the driver take evasive action when it determines a high risk of collision to exist. FOW operates when traveling between speeds of 9 and 92 mph.
  • Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) – When traveling at speeds of less than 19 mph, SCBS helps prevent or minimize a collision with a vehicle. Should the imbedded laser sensor detect an object, and the system calculates there may be a high risk for collision, the brake pedal travel is reduced in order to hasten braking. Should the driver fail to perform an avoidance maneuver, the system will activate an automatic braking function.
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) – The system determines the difference in speed and distance to the vehicle in front and will automatically adjust the cruising speed in order to maintain a safe distance.