When Mazda's redesigned compact car goes on sale in September, the sedan will start at $17,740, including a $795 destination fee — that's $245 more than model-year 2013 prices, but extra standards like push-button start, automatic power door locks, a remote keyless entry system, daytime running lights and a USB port make it worth it. Also worth the extra cash is improved fuel economy; Mazda3 sedans equipped with the 2.0-liter/six-speed automatic combo get an EPA highway rating of 41 mpg.
The third generation of the brand's best-selling car got a total overhaul for 2014, with more evocative — yet familiar — styling, a revised control layout, additional safety features and a new engine. The standard engine on i models (SV, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims) is the 155-horsepower, SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter, four-cylinder; s versions (Touring and Grand Touring trims) get the new 184-hp, SkyActiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
Six-speed manual-equipped hatchbacks with the 2.0-liter are EPA rated at 29/40 mpg city/highway, and 30/40 mpg with the six-speed automatic. Sedans eke out slightly better numbers: 29/41 mpg (manual models) and 30/41 mpg (automatic models).
Currently, only the six-speed automatic will be offered with the 2.5-liter, but Mazda plans to offer the six-speed manual at a later date. Fuel economy for 2.5-liter-equipped sedans is estimated to be 28/39 city/highway mpg; it jumps to 29/40 mpg when equipped with the available i-ELOOP regenerative braking system. Hatchbacks should return 28/37 mpg, and the i-ELOOP system bumps that to 29/39 mpg.
You'll pay a pretty high premium for the the i-ELOOP system, however. It's part of the $1,600 Touring Technology Package on s Grand Touring models and adds the regenerative braking system, active grille shutters, high beam control, a lane departure warning system and the Smart City Brake Support system.
Trim level pricing is below and includes the destination fee.
Mazda3 i SV sedan, manual: $17,740
Mazda3 i SV sedan, automatic: $18,790
Mazda 3 i Sport sedan, manual: $19,240 (add $1,050 for six-speed auto)
Mazda 3 i Sport hatchback, manual: $19,740 (add $1,050 for six-speed auto)
Mazda3 i Touring sedan, manual: $20,390 (add $1,050 for six-speed auto)
Mazda3 i Touring hatchback, manual: $20,890 (add $1,050 for six-speed auto)
Mazda3 i Grand Touring sedan, manual: $23,540 (add $1,050 for six-speed auto)
Mazda3 i Grand Touring hatchback, manual: $24,040 (add $1,050 for six-speed auto)
The s package not only adds the more powerful engine, but also includes sporty features like 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, a piano black-finish front grille, LED daytime running lights, leatherette seats and door panel inserts, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. It starts at $25,390 on Touring sedans and $25,890 on hatchbacks. The s model in Grand Touring trim starts at $26,790 for sedans and $27,290 for hatchbacks.