Used Car Review

2014 Mazda3: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions October 2016

The 2014 Mazda3 undergoes a major redesign that brings a bold Kodo-inspired grille, a wide stance and sculpted flanks, while ditching the smiley face of the previous versions. The Mazda3 remains one of the few compact cars that's available as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. Upgraded interior materials, comfortable seats and an Audi MMI-like infotainment system take cabin ambiance upscale. The Mazda3 continues to offer excellent driving dynamics, precise steering and good handling -- unexpected attributes in the segment. For 2014, the rowdy MazdaSpeed3 is discontinued, and the powertrain lineup is simplified to a pair of fuel-efficient SKYACTIV 4-cylinder engines, a capable 155-horsepower 2.0-liter and a 184-hp 2.5-liter. The front-wheel-drive compact is the best-selling car in the Mazda lineup.

What We Like

Performance of SKYACTIV 2.5-liter 4-cylinder; precise handling; fuel economy; manual shifter; interior materials and layout; hatchback versatility

What We Don't

Firm ride over bumps; low rear seats; short on cabin storage

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The SV, i Sport, i Touring and i Grand Touring trims use the capable and efficient direct-injected SKYACTIV 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which produces 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. Sedans equipped with the 6-speed automatic achieve 30 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, while 6-speed manual-transmission versions return 29 mpg city/39 mpg hwy. All hatchback models with this engine also get 29 mpg city/39 mpg hwy. This engine uses regular unleaded fuel.

Buyers looking for peppier performance should consider the s Touring and s Grand Touring models, both of which come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder version of the SKYACTIV engine that produces 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the 2.5-liter. Sedan versions achieve an estimated 28 mpg city/38 mpg hwy, while hatchbacks return 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy. It also uses regular unleaded fuel.

Standard Features & Options

For 2014, the Mazda3 is available in i SV, i Sport, i Touring, i Grand Touring, s Touring and s Grand Touring trims.

Standard i SV features include cloth seats, air conditioning, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a basic 4-speaker AM/FM stereo, the SKYACTIV 155-hp 2.0-liter engine, intermittent wipers, a USB port, a trip computer, a clock, power windows and mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels, a folding rear seat and anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes. Also included are dual front, front-seat side and overhead airbags, as well as dynamic stability control with traction control.

The i Sport adds cruise control, Bluetooth, projector-beam headlamps, a split folding rear bench, upgraded CD/MP3 audio with steering-wheel controls and a choice of sedan or hatchback body styles.

The i Touring upgrades with a blind spot monitoring system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a center rear armrest, a security alarm and 16-in alloy wheels. Options include a 9-speaker Bose stereo, navigation, SiriusXM radio, HD Radio, fog lamps, auto climate control, a power moonroof, an auto-dimming mirror and a rear sunshade.

Moving up to the i Grand Touring trim adds navigation, a power moonroof, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, faux leather seating, a power driver's seat, a backup camera, auto climate control, SiriusXM radio, HD Radio and heated side mirrors.

Opting for s Touring trim gets you the 184-hp 2.5-liter engine, 18-in alloys, heated front seats, fog lamps, driver's-side adjustable lumbar and a heads-up display.

The range-topping s Grand Touring trim adds leather seats and self-leveling bi-xenon headlamps. Options include radar cruise control, forward-collision warning and i-ELOOP regenerative braking.

Pricing

In 2014, the Mazda3 was the brand's top-selling car, but recognition among buyers is a fraction of that enjoyed by entries from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Ford and Chevrolet. For this reason, a Mazda can present a relative used-car bargain if you shop around.

For a good idea of the Mazda3's price range, check out KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the following safety recalls for Mazda3 models from 2014.

The weld for the fuel-tank inlet check valve may fail, creating a possible fuel leak and a fire risk if an ignition source is present.

On 2.5-liter models with optional regenerative braking, the alternator drive belt may slip during heavy rain, creating a power-control module malfunction that results in poor acceleration, inoperative wipers, loss of steering assist and engine stalling, increasing the risk of a crash.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they'll fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The NHTSA gave Mazda3 models from 2014 a 5-star rating overall, with five stars for front and side impacts and four stars for rollover resistance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave both the 2014 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback Top Safety Pick+ designations. Both versions received Good ratings for small- and moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seat performance.

For 2014, the Mazda3 came with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, a 5-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion-perforation warranty and 3 years/36,000 miles of roadside-assistance coverage.

Mazda certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles can't be more than 6 years old or have more than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Every CPO Mazda3 receives a 150-point inspection. Each also receives an additional 1-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on top of the remainder of the existing 3-year/36,000-mile coverage and an extension of the vehicle's original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty to 7 years and 100,000 miles. Also included is an AutoCheck vehicle-history report and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Ford Focus -- Available as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback, the Focus is fun to drive and has European driving flair. The standard 160-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is available with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. Fuel economy is near the top of the class, but interior room is lacking.

2014 Toyota Corolla -- All-new for 2014, the Corolla gets a more stylish exterior, an upgraded and roomier interior and the model's first-ever continuously variable automatic transmission, which returns up to 42 mpg hwy on the new LE Eco model with a 140-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. The driving experience, however, remains plain vanilla.

Autotrader's Advice

The bold styling of the 2014 model will turn some heads, but the Mazda3 remains one of the best-kept secrets on used-car lots. It's fun to drive, nicely outfitted inside and channels a lot of the goodness that makes the Miata such a joy, but not many people know about it. The s Touring and the s Grand Touring with the 184-hp 2.5-liter engine and 18-in wheels are the most fun to drive, but the 2.5-liter is only available with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

If you've ever wanted to try a stick-shift everyday car, you should test-drive the Mazda3 -- its 6-speed manual gearbox is among the best. There is a trade off, however, as this gearbox is only available with the capable but not exciting 155-hp 2.0-liter engine. Regardless of your engine choice, look for a low-mileage example that's been well-maintained, and check out CPO vehicles. Ask the dealer about any possible safety recalls on the vehicle you're considering.

Find a Mazda3 for sale

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Used 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Hatchback
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Certified 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 i Touring Sedan
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Certified 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 i Grand Touring Hatchback
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Used 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 i Grand Touring Sedan
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Mazda3: Used Car Review - Autotrader