Test Drive: 2014 Mazda3 s-Grand Touring

 

After spending some time in the 2014 Mazda3, I have to say that I’m impressed. I drove the 5-Door Hatchback fitted with the Grand Touring Package. I’m a busy guy and hauling gear is the story of my life. Being a musician and a videographer I have guitars, amps, pedal bags, cameras, tripods, etc. with me at all times and making the weekly trek to band practice or a video shoot can be a cumbersome task. Not with the Mazda3. It’s one of the most versatile vehicles I’ve been in to date. The 5-Door Hatch has tons of room. My weekly drudge of hauling gear went from being a chore to being fun as soon as the back seats folded down and provided a huge landscape to play gear “Tetris” with.

 

 

Aesthetically speaking, the Mazda3 looks like a sports car should. Sleek definition lines and a lower profile make anything else in class look lack luster. Just looking at the exterior makes you want to drive it. And speaking of the ride and drive, the 3 is a blast to drive. The s-Touring has a 2.5 Liter 4-Cylinder with acceleration that pushes you into the seat.  Every ounce of the 184 Horsepower under the hood is utilized and sounds more like a heavy hitting V-6 than a 4-Cylinder. I have to admit I was skeptical of the fuel economy ratings, 30 City and 41 Highway, but after a week in the car I was amazed. Between stop and go traffic to and from work and some highway driving to the recording studio, I averaged 38 MPG and I’m not light on the pedal.

 

 

The interior is just as stylish as the exterior yet comfortable and sporty. The infotainment system, gauge cluster, and interior amenities are simple and look great. Mazda has mastered the less is more approach with interior design and it really shines in the 3. That’s not to say there isn’t a load of technology and features especially with the fully loaded Grand Touring Package, it just so easy to use that it almost seems natural. There’s also a HUD (Heads Up Display) that pops up when you start the vehicle and it’s positioned right above your steering wheel. It shows your MPH as well as cruise control speed and adaptive cruise control distance. It’s pretty cool and a way better solution that projecting it onto the windshield. I don’t like to be reliant on blind spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control but the systems in the Mazda3 are fluent. I found myself appreciating them by the end of the week and didn’t find them to be an annoyance as some systems can be in other vehicles. Did I mention the seats? The Grand Touring Package had comfortable leather seats that really hug you. The interior was covered in soft touch leather and materials and looks as nice as it feels.

 

 

With plenty of packaging options, astounding fuel economy, and a 5-Door Hatchback or 4-Door Sedan, the Mazda3 is definitely a car for anyone looking for a sporty and versatile ride. Driver enthusiasts will find plenty to appreciate about this hot hatch as well.

 

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