2014 Mazda3 i Touring
John Goreham's picture

Why Motor Trend's praise for the Mazda3 is so important

Motor trend likes to take the opposing view on a lot of issues. However, its recent test of the Mazda3 against all its competitors is important in more than one way.

In the June 2014 issue of Motor Trend magazine, the Mazda3 I Touring and all of its industry competitors are compared in excruciating detail against one another and a victor is chosen. The comparison test starts on page 80 and ends on page 97. Yes, 17 pages in full color, with all the specifications, opinions, rants, raves, kudos and bravos any compact car buyer could ever wish to tear through. Motor Trend invited 8 automakers to provide cars with their base engines. The Mazda tested had the lower power 155 horsepower in-line four. Ford did not have a car available(?), the Dodge and the Jetta were the worst two and kicked out of the print edition’s full review, and guess who the winner of the top 5 remaining cars was?

Yes, Mazda has now come out on top of every single comparison test we can think to bring your attention to. This time though, the Mazda didn’t just win on driving dynamics alone. Rather it also dominated this incredibly detailed look at the compact class in terms of other important factors.

Most notably, the Mazda3 I Touring as it is formally called, with the automatic transmission can achieve incredible fuel economy. Motor Trend says the car has a “Real MPG” city/highway/combined of 30/46/36 MPG. Wow! Our recent test of the 5-door hatchback with the same engine, but manual 6-speed seems to bear this out. We got over 42 MPG highway and our combined fuel economy of 35.4 is almost exactly what Motor Trend says is the “real MPG combined.” That simply stomps the competition. Only the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco Plus is even close with a combined “Real MPG” of 34. On regular unleaded fuel of course. Never buy a passenger car that takes premium.

Motor Trend also says the Mazda3 it tested had the second best 5-year cost of ownership after only the amazing Corolla, which tops all EVs, diesels, and hybrids in family car cost of cownership. Second is not bad overall in a field of 7 or 8 cars. Here is the best part of the Mazda if safety matters to you. No car in the this class is safer according to NHTSA, IIHS, and Motor Trend. The Mazda3 is a Tope Safety Pick+ and it also aced the NHTSA tests. Motor Trend pointed out that informedforlife.org says that the Mazda3 is in the top 3-percent of the safest cars. Pretty impressive given the compact car class’ size.

In terms of overall feel Motor Trend said the Mazda3 “feels like the most solid, highest quality, all of one piece.” Of course we could have started this story by telling you that Motor Trend said regarding the driving and handling of the Mazda3 “best driver here – great steering, nice ride, fun and sporty handling.” However, if you read our recent full review, or the recent overview we did of the Car and Driver comparison test, you already knew that.

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informedforlife.org actually indicates a "not recommended" safety rating for the 2014 Mazda 3.
Correct. Because of its weight. Our understanding is that all the cars in its class would have that same rating. The group has a minimum recommended and this car class is lower than that. Good clarification. Bigger cars, equally well built, are safer. Worth a look at the group's website.