2014 Mazda MAZDA3 S Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,137
edited September 2014 in Mazda

image2014 Mazda MAZDA3 S Long-Term Road Test

The 2014 Mazda 3 S offers loads of cargo room and versatility, enough to wonder why more automakers don't offer hatchbacks.

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  • adamb1adamb1 Cookeville, TNMember Posts: 122
    As a 40 something, my foundational memories of hatchbacks were Omni's, Chevettes, and Escorts. My first car was a Datsun 310 hatchback. Basically, there were no aspirational hatchbacks in my youth that I recall (maybe the odd Toyota Supra). I own a '12 Focus SEL hatchback now and enjoy the car for daily commuting. But, I also have a '09 Mazda 6s GT and a '03 Ram 1500. So, rather than go for versatility, I've preferred having several vehicles for different purposes.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    People are swayed more by image than by logic. Their parents wanted sedans and they want sedans.
  • 7driver7driver Member Posts: 145
    @adamb, what do you consider aspirational? The 944, Corvette, Mustang 5.0, GLH-S, Nissan Z, and RX7 were from that era and were all hatchbacks.
  • evodadevodad Member Posts: 135
    @7driver, but none of them were flat rear end hatchbacks. Although all technically hatchbacks, when people picture a hatchback they are picturing something more wagon-esque in the styling department. I blame the Griswolds for America's disinterest with ha
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    7driver, good point. Hatchbacks don't have to be squared off. The squared shape allows for carrying more but I've gotten 7 foot Christmas trees home in a 240Z and big old boxed up lawnmowers and large 7 foot potted plants too.
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    "Consider a recent report that shows Mazda 3 sales sliding every month since August." - - - Is that just the hatchback sales for the 3s or does that include the sedan? To be honest I'm not quite in love with the new 3's look yet. I wasn't a big fan of the front of the past generation one (liked it more when they softened it in 2012) but the new one is a bit too rounded for my taste. It will likely grow on me in time but for now it isn't a "wow, I've got to have one". And before they came out I thought I might swap my CX-5 for one to gain some better handling, lose some blind spots and gain better mpg but haven't gotten the bug for it yet since seeing them.
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    " So why are wagon/hatches slow sellers? What's your take?" - - - To be honest, as a fan of wagons and hatches, I find very few of them to look really good. I wanted to like the TSX wagon but at some angles it looks like it has a big bulging butt hanging out. I guess it is the way it gets narrower and slants forward so much. I looked at the Jetta sport wagon but to me it looked a bit like a suppository on wheels, just rounded for easy insertion. The full wagons are typically more than I need anyways and I typically find the hatches (which tend to be shorter than the sedan versions) to be more attractive while still having plenty of space for my needs. I loved the old Protege5; the newer ones tend to be going more for the look of lowered CUV's though and are getting many of their blind-spots with smaller rear windows. Part of the reason I'd buy a hatch is for better visibility (at least once upon a time they had good visibility). On the Mazda3 that big chunk of back glass is largely covered from the inside which limits the visibility and the slanted rear windows doesn't help either. If I can see better out of a different sedan then I'm getting the sedan.
  • arcticbluetsxarcticbluetsx Member Posts: 79
    I really love the idea of a hatchback, however what really bothers me about them is the lack of security. If I go shopping I can throw whatever I buy into the trunk and know that it's out of sight from anybody that walks by. In a hatchback/wagon/suv/crossover items in the rear are typically sitting there in plain sight.
  • seppoboyseppoboy Member Posts: 93
    SAAB 99, 900, and 9000 were great hatchbacks, and desirable cars, and the 9-5 wagon was the best version of the 9-5. Volkswagen had Rabbit and Golf and GTI, which were not too shabby either, as well as earlier Scirocco and later Corrado. Accord and Civic were originally hatchbacks, and Accord had a nice wagon.
    The problem is American culture combined with low fuel prices compared to the rest of the world. A European recognizes the versatility and usefulness of hatchbacks and wagons, to meet most of life's transporting needs. Americans value bigger as better, and would rather have a separate truck, van, SUV, or now CUV to do their hauling. Low fuel prices mean that could be the driver's only car, or they can afford a sedan for daily use and another utility vehicle, where the rest of the world for fuel and tax reasons can afford only one, versatile vehicle. I always had a hatchback when I was younger, now I can borrow or rent a truck if needed for larger hauling. But if something like SAAB 9000 was still on the market, that would be my drive today. CUVs are just too clunky to drive, and too fuel inefficient, compared to that sort of hatchback, for my tastes.
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    arcticbluetsx, I think pretty much every wagon or hatchback either comes with or has an optional cargo cover to conceal whatever you have in the hatch area.
  • adamb1adamb1 Cookeville, TNMember Posts: 122
    @7driver. The RX7 was one of my all time favorites. But, I saw cars like that as a sports car first, hatchback was not the main draw.

    Marketing is largely to blame for my lack of affection for hatchbacks and small cars in general. In my youth, the
  • misterfusionmisterfusion Member Posts: 471
    @adamb1 I don't know... I'm from the same era, and there were lots of hatchbacks that I aspired to: GTI, Celica GT-S, Mazda 626, Saab, Volvo (wagon, but still) -- even the Merkur XR4ti!
  • duck87duck87 Member Posts: 649
    I'm pretty sure sales of the 3 aren't falling because of the fact that the 3 is offered as a hatch. There's also the sedan. Ford also offers both variants- have their sales dropped as much? @arcticbluetsx: Every hatchback I've seen has a rear shelf that obscures your stuff, with the rear seats up...
  • craigistcraigist Member Posts: 29
    I think the answer is just simple economics. Many people just want A to B transportation and don't need a lot of cargo space. The hatchback versions of vehicles usually cost more than their sedan counterpart and have slightly worse gas mileage. Crossovers cost more again, but have upgraded cargo space, ride height and often nicer interiors. Hatchbacks fill an atypical midground populated by young-ish buyers.
  • blueprint1blueprint1 Member Posts: 22
    The entire Mazda3 line is down 30% vs Civic & Corolla. Hatches have nothing to do with it. The problem is Mazda's rusting rep, lower reliability than Honda, Toyota & Nissan, higher prices, cramped interiors, poor ergonomics and poor visibility. All of that trumps driving fun for Joe Public. A Mazda3 equivalent to, say, a Civic EX is 2k$ more. In the compact world, that's a huge gap.

    I recently drove a top-shelf Mazda3 GT up here in Canuckland. It was fun to drive, but it was also 5k$ more than a loaded Corolla S or Civic Touring. And it's that 30k$ Mazda3 they only show in the ads...
  • glossgloss Member Posts: 150
    @blueprint1 Poor ergonomics? Now you're just trolling.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Member Posts: 3,856
    Not me, I grew up in the era of "hot" hatches! My first car was a VW Scirocco, followed by a Mitsu Mirage Turbo. Bro had an original Rabbit GTI. I moved on to Acura Integra and, when expecting child numero uno, Saab 900s. All fabulous cars. And, when mid-life crisis hit? Jaguar XK. Hot. Hatch. Hot. Hate to say it though, now driving a sensible pair of shoes sedan... Sometimes life just throws you a curve...

    A fond, but bittersweet adieu to my '13 Jaguar XF. And so, I present this laurel, and hearty handshake to the new boss; '21 Audi A7 PHEV. '09 Jag XK , '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco ; all special to me. And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... I've yet to buy a car I didn't like. Although, do I really want to drive a car that would have someone such as me as its owner?

  • caramelo91caramelo91 Member Posts: 13
    I am one of the people that prefer hatchbacks to sedans. But that's mostly because I prefer the styling of sedan versions in MOST cases, not all. I'm still waiting to see what the next Mazdaspeed 3 looks like before I decide between that or jump on a Mazda 3 s Touring sedan. Also Hatchback variants have a cost premium over sedan versions and they usually take a hit in fuel economy vs sedans as well.

    Lastly, I rarely ever find myself in the situation where I need to haul a bunch of stuff in my car that doesn't fit in the trunk (I can probably count how many times in a year on 1 hand) so the additional utility and cargo space doesn't appeal to my needs.
  • bassrockerxbassrockerx Member Posts: 24
    i think it just has to do with the proliferation of pickup trucks and large suvs. everyone just buys a sedan and when it is time to haul something they just call their best friend with a pickup truck. my first car was a chevy s10 and in highschool and college i was basically the only one out of my circle of friends with a truck so all my friends were always pestering me to help them move something. Everyone looks down on truck drivers for "wasting gas" and then they need help moving one day ...
  • flunderflunder Member Posts: 9
    I actually don't get the point of this at all... Aren't CUVs just tall wagons (Let's not confuse CUV and AWD, and I personally think a CUV is basically a tall wagon)? In another word, CUVs are "American Wagons" which are better for the localized market.

    If CUVs are American wagons:
    What's the point of this article?

    If CUVs are not:
    For down market, with gas at the present price, why bother with a compact with two trunks if you can pay minimal penalty and get a CUV?

    The sweet spot is setup by the policy, not by the people.

    Further, if looking up market, why settle for a Swiss Army Knife if you can have a saw, a knife, and a pair of scissors? So the garage will have a sedan, a C/S-UV and maybe a toy car. Anything that doesn't fit in the 3, just call for someone to get the work done.
  • agentorangeagentorange Member Posts: 893
    The average American car buyer has a memory like an elephant. They remember the cheap and nasty hatchbacks of the 80s and are hard to convince that things have moved on. They are the same over diesel cars, thanks largely to GM. Modern hatches have cargo covers, unlike back in the 80s when the cover was the first thing the US bean counters ditched. Hatches in Europe at the time all had the cover.
  • metalmaniametalmania Member Posts: 167
    Why don't we buy wagons? Part of it is ignorance, part bad memories, and for me at least part is availability. I'm middle aged now with a family and a wagon makes a lot of sense, but the truth is there aren't many available that are truly appealing and the ones that are, are luxury branded and too expensive for the market I'm in. I wanted the TSX wagon to be better than it was. Except for being cheaper, they really didn't give it anything to pull potential buyers away from A4 wagons (also sadly gone) or Volvos. Sedan gets the V6 but not the wagon? Jetta wagon? Boring. Passat Wagon? Boring and gone too. 3 series wagon? Great but out of my price range. For that matter so are the Volvos - some of which actually look stunning, but I'm not a "Volvo guy". I liked the old Subaru Legacy wagon, especially the GT with the turbo, but all we've got now is the bloated Outback (liked the old one better too). Maybe if we got some of the "mainstream" wagons that the rest of the world gets that also happen to be desirable cars. The Mazda6 wagon is definitely one - no it's not a rocket but it probably retains all or most of the driving goodness of the sedan and arguably looks even better. The Ford Mondeo (Fusion) wagon would be one I'd very seriously consider, as would the Buick Regal (Opel Insignia) wagon. I'd love a well equipped, fun to drive, interestingly styled wagon - but please make it available with all the same good stuff as a sedan and not cost $50k. Fuel costs might open more eyes to wagons these days too, if we're offered more that we might actually want to drive.
  • dharbindharbin Member Posts: 0
    People buying in this segment tend to automatically go to Toyota/Honda, unless they see a cheaper deal elsewhere. It's just a very conservative segment with not much interest is style. My office is full of Toyota/Honda drivers, looking for the cheapest possible repair shop or replacement tires. If I were in the market, I'd definitely be looking at a new 3.
  • chitownmarcuschitownmarcus Member Posts: 1
    I guess some of us are not ashamed of the dead hookers we cart around in our hatchbacks.
  • 204meca204meca Member Posts: 370
    I am with you Dan. Have had a 5 door hatch or wagon since my 1st car in 1972. We had an 2004 Audi A4 sedan for four years - great car but we missed the utility of the hatch. Personally I don't get the attraction to the sedan.
  • 204meca204meca Member Posts: 370
    I agree, gotta have a hatch in the fleet. I have had a hatch or wagon since my 68 122 Volvo. For about 4 years we have a Del Sol & A4, couldn't hardly wait to get back to a hatchback. Now have an Outback & a Fit, Hatchback Heaven!
  • rallen1980rallen1980 Member Posts: 5
    edited May 2015
    I just bought a 2015 Mazda 3, and I picked the sedan over the hatchback. Price was a factor, but even if they were the same price, I still would have taken the sedan. Why? Styling. The lines on the sedan just look 1000% better to me than the hatch. Then again, the Mazda is replacing an aging Jaguar, so I may have a weak spot for swoopy sedans.
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