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2014 Mazda 3 Launches: Two SkyActiv Engines, High MPG Expected

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Mazda launched its all-new 2014 Mazda 3 compact hatchback today at coordinated events in New York, Melbourne, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, and London.

The new Mazda 3 lineup, which will include a four-door sedan version as well when it goes on sale this September, is the second model designed around the company's line of ultra-efficient SkyActiv four-cylinder engines.

Without using any form of hybrid-electric drivetrain, Mazda's high-compression engines--here in 2.0- and 2.5-liter capacities--use carefully tuned exhaust systems and other refinements to deliver remarkably efficient driving.

The size of the exhaust system has actually changed the proportions of the car, with the base of the windshield pillars moved back fully 4 inches to provide more space under the longer hood.

The proportions are similar to those of the 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover, the first vehicle to be designed entirely around SkyActiv technology.

The two vehicles share some understructure, though no body panels or interior elements.

About a year ago, we drove a last-generation 2012 Mazda 3 sedan fitted with the SkyActiv 2.0-liter four and six-speed automatic transmission, newly optional for that year.

While it wasn't as heavily optimized as the one in the 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover we also drove, the SkyActiv engine returned far better gas mileage than its EPA rating.

2014 Mazda 3

2014 Mazda 3

Enlarge Photo

That model gave us 38.1 mpg over our usual test route, against its EPA combined rating of 33 mpg.

So we rather wonder whether the new 2014 Mazda 3 might earn a combined rating of 35 mpg, perhaps better.

It likely won't hit the 40 mpg offered by two new subcompacts next year, but it's a spacious compact car with a high level of equipment.

The company will release images of the four-door sedan, specifications, and trim levels within a few weeks, it said today at the New York launch event.

Meanwhile, we look forward with eager anticipation to learning more about one of the few cars that will likely combine very high fuel economy with the fun-to-drive "Zoom Zoom" character for which all Mazdas are known.

For a full summary of the new car and more information, read our full review of the 2014 Mazda 3 on The Car Connection.

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Comments (7)
  1. According to motorweek, their CX-5 with SkyActive didn't live up to the EPA combined rating. However, it did return an excellent hwy cruising MPG...
     
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  2. @Xiaolong: In other words, your mileage may vary.
     
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  3. Other than being "ultra-efficient", I not only don't understand the name "SkyActiv", but I don't understand why it merits a name. It's like Mazda hasn't invested in a hybrid system, but they want a fancy name. (A name that makes no apparent sense. Does it mean the "sky" is cleaner because it has an "activ[e]" engine?)

    Given future EPA requirements, every manufacturer will have to have "ultra-efficient" engines. Does this mean we have to put up with 30+ names for an efficient engine? Just ranting....
     
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  4. Marketing Douglas... It works. I'm typing this on my "Retina Display" btw.
     
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  5. When will it include the Sky-D clean diesel engine?

    If it starts selling with the diesel engine, I will hold off on buying the mazda6 sedan; I would much rather have a small sportwagon than have to drive the idiotic sedan.
     
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  6. How is this car not going to be the best in class??? Looks great in either form(I'll take the hatch), handles well like most Mazdas do, best base hp n torque for the class, 200 lbs lighter n a very low drag result in best mpg by far in base form with what I'm guessing will be near 30/42. Now lets hope that Mazda doesn't charge over $20k for it...

    It sure seems that Mazda has done very well w/ Sky Active evolving their vehicles for better mpg without investing in hybrid tech. It's a good strategy that will serve them well for the rest of this decade. However, they will be gobbled up or fail next decade if they don't install plug-in ev and/or hybrid tech. Lets hope they finally bring over their diesels soon!

    Sky Active Miata next year?
     
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  7. Gorgeous! Move over, Civic and Corolla.
     
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