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2014 Mazda3 configurator goes live, make your dream 3 come true

You can now design, price and order your dream Mazda3, with all options ready to be configured online. Find out how I would build mine.

The much-anticipated 2014 Mazda3 is now available and those who wish to check it out or buy one can go to Mazda's website and configure their own. Prices start at $19,740 for the entry-level Mazda3 i Sport five-door with a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV inline-four cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission.

Even at that sub-$20k price tag, though, the entry-level model has some pretty impressive features, including push-button start, Bluetooth, power windows, and air conditioning. Going up through the model lineup, though, it's not hard to get a Mazda3 at over thirty thousand, but most will probably find their sweet spot at around the $25,000 mark.

I went ahead and built my perfect 2014 Mazda3 at a price of $26,445, plus destination, with all of the options I wanted included. That car is pictured above.

To start with, I wanted the Mazda3 i Grand Touring 5-door option because the five-door has more space and the Grand Touring package has excellent goodies without going overboard. I kept it at the 2.0-liter direct overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve engine with its 155 horsepower because in a car this small, that's plenty of juice and the EPA estimates stay at 40 mpg on the highway (29 city). I opted for the six-speed automatic for convenience.

The i Grand Touring has a lot of perfect options in it, including a sliding-glass moonroof, dual-zone climate controls, variable heated front seats (I do live in Wyoming, after all), a 7-inch touchscreen display with rearview camera, and, of course, the Bose 9-speaker surround sound system that made me so happy when I test drove the 2014 Mazda6 earlier this year. SiriusXM with HD and other infotainment and voice command options are also a plus.

I chose the Soul Red Metallic because it was my favorite color option and looks really awesome in person. The Black Leatherette interior comes standard with that in this package. I would prefer a different interior color since our Mazda5 has taught us that kids and black interiors are not a good mix, but I'll live with it here.

I added some other options I consider a must for our lifestyle. These include all-weather floor mats, a cargo net and tray, fog lamps, hood/fender paint protection film, and scuff plates / door sill trim plates. These will help the car retain its good looks for a long time and since our family is a "buy it and drive it into the ground" kind of outfit, I want the car to still look good ten years from now when I'm considering whether or not doing another timing belt change is worth the effort given the car's age. These options add about $1,000 to the car's price tag.

So what do you think? Did I build the perfect 2014 Mazda3 or can you do better?