28 October 2014

2014 MAZDA3 Skyactiv R 2.0L - Definitely not your father's old sedan.

Photos|Text|Leslie Sy

ext front 01The all-new 2014 Mazda3 sedan was launched into the Philippine market earlier this year and it is the third generation of the car that first hit the road back in 2003. In the past ten years has it benefited from recent developments in technology as seen with our mobile phones or has it grown dull and fat around it's proverbial belly as with some cars? Will your low-tech dad love it or loathe it? Let me take you for a drive in the 2014 Mazda3 and let's find out together.

The 2014 Mazda3 R 2.0L is an all new car that is based on Mazda's Skyactiv technology. The Skyactiv technology is a unique combination of design in the body, chassis, engine and transmission. The result is a car that is much more than simply the sum of its parts. Driving it feels as “high-tech” as using the latest version of smartphone.

engine 01Under the hood sits the Skyactiv-G DOHC 16 valve engine that features i-STOP and i-ELOOP systems. The i-STOP system is an engine stop-start feature that turns off the engine when the car has stopped during braking. Releasing the brake, the engine automatically and smoothly starts up. The i-ELOOP system is a regenerative braking system that captures deceleration energy into electricity and stores it in high capacity capacitors. Individually these systems can save fuel by 5 to 10 percent. Working together, they can get much more. The two liter engine gives a generous power rating of 155ps at 6,000rpm with 200Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. Power delivery through the Skyactiv 6-speed automatic transmission is very smooth when driven lightly yet more than eager to quickly downshift for more aggressive driving. The transmission also features tiptronic style gear shifting for those times when you want to manually select your gears.

cover 01Externally, the Mazda3 follows the KODO theme which means “soul of motion” that was first seen in the current generation Mazda6 sedan. In fact, the Mazda3 borrows many design cues from the Mazda6 including the front end styling, the long hood line, and the long sweeping curves that go all the way to the rear end. The black front grill and the projector headlight clusters seems to inversely blend into each other while the hood lines melt smoothly to the car's doors to the rear fenders and to gracefully end up at the trunk-lip spoiler. The front foglight clusters perfectly fills the space with a muscular accent at each corner of the front bumper that would otherwise be left plain and wanting. The car's front door handles feature push button lock/unlock that only responds if the car's key fob is nearby, so you don't need to bring out the key to enter the Mazda3. The same goes with starting the car, as long as you have the key, just press the start/stop button located beside the steering wheel and go! The Mazda3's rear-end styling is not forgotten with it's short external overhang that keeps the the trunk from ruining the car's smooth lines. And before I forget, the Mazda3 rolls on a set of 18 inch multi-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 215/45/R18 tires that gives the car that extra look of a classy sports car. This is definitely not your dad's old sedan.

interior 03Inside, the interior styling follows the external sporty them with an all black luxurious interior with dual textured leather seats highlighted with beautiful red stitching. Seating up front is very generous and supportive with lots of leg and headroom. As expected, rear seating is good for three people with ample legroom for all. The dashboard is an interesting design with a big tachometer in the middle and other information (fuel, fuel economy, gear, temperature) are displayed at either side. The traditional analog speedometer has been deleted and replaced by a heads-up-display (HUD) located above the instrument cluster. The speedometer HUD deploys up and retracts down whenever you start or stop the car, making me feel as if I was in a fighter plane. The dash is a mixture of textured plastic to simulate leather and smooth plastics for other portions. The car's integrated entertainment system is very difficult to ignore with the silver-bordered touch-screen LCD display mounted prominently on the middle of the dashboard. This is controlled either by touchscreen input or by the multi-directional control “puck” located just behind the gear selector which works the same way as the BMW iDrive system. Aside from audio system, the system also features GPS, bluetooth phone connectivity (with voice control), and access to certain settings for the car itself like rain-sensing wipers, locks, and interior lighting.

interior 04What is it like to drive? Well, going to the basics, the 2014 Mazda 3 2.0L handles well and lots of fun. Massive amounts of power is available on demand with a simple press of the accelerator pedal with very little lag between gear shifts from the automatic tranny. You practically do not need to remove your hands from the steering wheel with audio controls and paddle-shifts right at your fingers. Ride quality is on the firm side which helps in the handling performance but those looking for a plush limo-like ride would be disappointed. The HUD-speedometer does take a bit of time to get used to but when you do, you wonder why aren't all other cars have the same feature because it really does help keep your eyes fixed on the road for better safety especially when you are trying to keep yourself from going over the speed limit on the expressway with this car.

cover 03The all-new 2014 Mazda3 is a great car with more technology fitted inside than when man first went to the moon. That said, this is a car for today's driver who want to get the most when behind the wheel. This car is not for old people who would just be looking for a car to get from point A to point B but as the saying goes, you are only as young or old as you feel. Driving this car really brings out the youthful spirit in me.ext rear 01ext rear 02ext roof 01ext side 01ext side 02ext side 03ext trunk 01ext trunk 02interior 01interior 06interior 07interior 08interior 10interior 11interior 12

The 2014 Mazda3 R 2.0L 4-door sedan with 6-speed automatic transmission has a SRP of Php1,195,000.00.

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