This is how you celebrate an anniversary.
Mazda announced that after 10 years, two generations, and 3.6 million units of its popular 3 sedan and hatchback sold globally, a new version is on its way.
The 2014 Mazda3 will go on sale this fall. When it does, it will bring with it a bold dose of the KODO styling cues that have recently graced the handsome Mazda6 sedan and CX-5 crossover. It will also rely heavily on an efficiency philosophy that Mazda calls SkyActiv technology.
The Mazda3 is the brand’s most popular car, according to Jim O’Sullivan, the company’s North American chief executive and president. It also makes up 30% of Mazda’s annual sales, globally.
"Its redesign for 2014 shows just how much attention to detail and care we put into this important vehicle," O’Sullivan said in a statement announcing the car. "This is an exciting time for Mazda, and we’re only getting started."
The overhauled 3 is now a near clone of the larger Mazda6, a wise move that gives the car an upright nose and a deep grille that is flanked by a pair of sleek, narrow headlights. The 2014 Mazda3 sits on a wheelbase that is 2.4 inches longer, yet the hatchback’s overall length shrinks by 1.8 inches.
The latest generation of compact will also get a heavy dose of what Mazda calls SkyActiv technology. This philosophy means a lighter curb weight for the vehicle, as well as wringing all available efficiency out of a standard gas engine and drivetrain without resorting to hybrid technology or continuously variable transmissions.
This allows Mazda, which is a significantly smaller company than Japanese rivals Honda and Toyota, to save potentially billions of dollars in R&D. At the same time, Mazda can stay competitive in terms of its vehicles’ efficiency, and build vehicles that are among the most fun to drive in their respective segments.
The base engine on the 2014 Mazda3 will be a SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit that makes 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. It’s largely a carryover engine from the previous generation 3, though Mazda only introduced it in that car for the 2012 model year.
Fuel economy wasn’t released, though don’t expect this engine’s thirstiness to vary much from the current car. That model gets 28/40 mpg in city/highway driving.
A larger four-cylinder engine will be optional. Borrowed from the Mazda6 and CX-5, this 2.5-liter engine makes 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, gains of 17 horsepower and 17 pound-feet of torque over the previous generation 3’s optional engine.
Both engines will come with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.
A 2.2-liter diesel engine will be offered in foreign markets, though Mazda wouldn't confirm whether it would make it to U.S. shores.
The 2014 Mazda3 will come with standard safety features like six airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, traction and stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, and adaptive cruise control will all be optional.
Pricing on the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback wasn’t announced, but don’t expect it to be much of jump from the current model. That generation of Mazda3 starts at $17,495, including destination.
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