The 2014 Mazda 3 is one of the most fun-to-drive small economy cars you can buy.
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I sometimes wonder if more people drove 'fun' cars if there would be less people blocking the way as they putt along distracted and slowing to 5 mph to make a turn. And then I remember that one of my most common sayings behind the wheel of my little two liter powered CX5 is "Get your ultimate driving machine out of my way"
A lot of people out there don't care about having fun while driving. They just want to get from Point A to Point B with as little drama as possible. The firm suspension we sporty drivers like to take around corners feels too harsh over bumps, grooves, and potholes to them. The seat we say "gives support" they say "is hard and pinches". They don't notice the zoom-zoom engine but they do notice the lower numbers on the EPA sticker. Not many people in this group write comments here on Edmunds.com, but all of us know plenty of them. They're the majority.
I understand that many people want dull cars, but I don't agree that some of the more popular compacts are so unassuming to drive. Compact A with overboosted power steering also doesn't self-center and requires constant steering input which makes it very fatiguing to drive for an extended trip. Compact B has a pillow soft ride on smooth pavement but is harsh over pavement joints and nearly twisted the steering wheel from my hands on bridge expansion joints. The Mazda3 is superior in both those regards, and its EPA mileage is higher than most competitors, even in s trim--and CR, a frequent critic of cars that don't reach their rated mpg on their test runs, exceeded the EPA ratings with both the 2.0l and 2.5l engines. The Mazda3 can run more expensive than some competitors, but at the higher end you are usually getting stuff for that money, and even at the low end, you get IRS and rear disc brakes--but then we get back to buyers who don't care about stopping distances and cornering but push the cars they do buy beyond their limits and sometimes suffer for it.
The last few times I rented a mid size car I "downgraded" to a base model 3 just because it's so much more fun to drive.
I was happy to see that the new Mazda 3 is finally starting to catch on in terms of sales. It was a disappointing first 9 months, that's for sure.
I REALLY like my new Mazda 3 S, however, the only disappointing thing has been gas mileage. Current mileage is just under 1000 & the best fill I've had was 24 mpg which was an all highway trip. I am getting around 20 mpg of mixed driving during morning commute without aggression or using sport mode. MPG is diappointing, especially with EPA figures & even the figures on this long term test, but still very happy!
@mjdozie - Those numbers are way out of whack. Make sure your tires are correctly inflated (measured cold before any driving). If they are, and you're measuring your mpgs for full tanks using the actual gallons you buy, I'd be back to the dealer to find out what the problem is.
I love how Mazda puts retracting screens in their cars, yet Mercedes feels the need to superglue a small tablet above the center stack on their new designs instead of integrating a nice looking display like EVERY OTHER MANUFACTURER
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