|2014 Mazda3. Click to enlarge.|
Mazda unveiled the redesigned 2014 Mazda3 (known as the Axela in Japan) in a series of launch events world-wide. The new Mazda3 is the third new-generation model to embody Mazda’s new KODO Design and SKYACTIV Technology, after the CX-5 and new Mazda6. With more than 3.5 million units sold since its original debut, the Mazda3 is now sold in more than 120 countries and accounts for 30% of the company’s annual global sales.
For the North American market, the 2014 Mazda3 will be offered with two engine choices: the currently-offered SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine, as fitted to the CX-5 and 2014 Mazda6. Globally, the Mazda3 offers the widest SKYACTIV powertrain line-up in order to meet local market demands, and will be available with SKYACTIV-G 1.5- to 2.5-liter-sized gasoline engines; a SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter diesel engine; and as a hybrid electric vehicle (Japan only).
SKYACTIV-G 1.5L. A new gasoline engine added to the SKYACTIV line-up that achieves a high compression ratio of 13.0:1 (14.0:1 in some markets). It greatly improves dynamic performance and fuel economy over the MZR 1.5 engine of the previous model. Maximum power: 115 hp (86kW) with maximum torque of 111 lb-ft (150 N·m) (values are for European specification hatchback with automatic transmission).
SKYACTIV-G 2.0L. Introduces a high tumble port and 4-2-1 exhaust system that increase engine output. (Earlier post.) The North American SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter produces 155 hp (116 kW) at 6000 rpm and 150 lb-ft (203 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm.
For the European specification hatchback with manual transmission, maximum power is 162 hp (121 kW), and maximum torque 155 lb-ft (210 N·m). A special fuel-efficient version is also available for European specification vehicles: maximum power: 118 hp (88kW), maximum torque: 210Nm (values are for hatchback with manual transmission).
SKYACTIV-G 2.5L. Torque output at low- to mid-range speeds is increased by 10-15% over the MZR 2.5 engine, and the weight is reduced by 10%. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5L produces ample power, exhibits excellent fuel economy and low NVH. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter produces a peak of 184 hp (137 kW) at 5700 rpm and 185 lb-ft (251 N·m) of torque at 3250 rpm.
SKYACTIV-D 2.2L. With its low compression ratio of 14.0:1, the diesel delivers maximum power of 148 hp (110kW) and maximum torque of 280 lb-ft(380 N·m) (values are for European specification sedan with manual transmission).
The 2014 Mazda3 will be available with a choice of the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual and SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmissions. SKYACTIV-MT offers the short, crisp shift pattern reminiscent of the MX-5 Miata. SKYACTIV-Drive achieves a direct shift feel and quick gear changes that contribute to quick acceleration, while maximizing the best features of a direct-shift gearbox and a conventional torque-converter system.
Mazda’s i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system (earlier post) employs a capacitor to store electricity generated when the vehicle decelerates. Brake energy regeneration systems improve fuel economy by reducing the inherent parasitic drag of the alternator when possible, to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle under all modes of operation. Unlike other battery-based systems, i-ELOOP (Intelligent Energy Loop) is the first capacitor-based system to power all of a vehicle’s electrical components.
The added combination of the SKYACTIV-Body and SKYACTIV-Chassis offers high-performance, lightweight materials for added strength and safety. Carefully engineered load-transfer delivers a firm grip on the road. The SKYACTIV-Body provides increased rigidity of 30% compared to the previous model while reducing weight as well.
Although variable from market to market, the expanded use of high tensile-strength steel, and the complete reevaluation of more than 300 separate components, has led to significant weight savings.
Straight line stability, tire grip and ride comfort have been greatly improved by tuning the suspension system’s springs, dampers and stabilizers. Mazda’s new mechatronic column-type electric power assist steering system is compact and lightweight, with a gearing ratio of 14.0:1. The brake response also was improved to be even more responsive, allowing for improved vehicle control and feel as well as a braking distance amongst the best in the segment. Such improvements also reduce rolling resistance, all improving fuel economy.
A new lightweight material that exhibits a high level of noise absorption is introduced on the dash insulator and floor mats, and insulating material also is positioned for maximum effectiveness behind the instrument panel.
The five-door and sedan models achieve a coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.275 and 0.255, respectively, when equipped with i-ELOOP and an active grille shutter. A new-to-Mazda feature, an active grille shutter is mounted in front of the radiator and automatically opens and closes in accordance with driving conditions to improve aerodynamic performance while contributing to real-world gains in fuel economy.
Lower and leaner, the third-generation Mazda3 shares almost nothing with its predecessors. The 2014 Mazda3 sits on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation, yet the five-door is 1.8 inches shorter in length at 175.6 inches. With a height of 57.3 inches and a width of 70.7 inches, the Mazda3 reduces its ceiling by 0.6 inches and gains 1.6 inches in the hips while retaining similar headroom space and offering rear legroom at 35.8 inches.
The rear seatbacks are nearly 2.0 inches taller for added passenger comfort. Front and rear shoulder room also has increased to 57.2 and 54.4 inches, respectively.
New HMI. All-new for Mazda vehicles and being launched with the 2014 Mazda3 will be a next-generation human-machine interface (HMI) system. Based on the heads-up cockpit concept, the new HMI system aims to help drivers maintain proper posture, concentrate on the road and drive more safely, even while handling larger amounts of information. The information used is divided into groups, and an innovative screen layout is employed to let the driver safely balance the primary job of driving with other peripheral information.
The 2014 Mazda3 also is the first vehicle to feature Mazda’s all-new Active Driving Display, a clear pop-up panel that displays vehicle speed, navigation directions and other important driving information, and is vertically mounted behind the meter hood. This feature not only places necessary information comfortably in the driver’s line-of-sight but also directs the display beyond the instrument panel, more in line with where a driver’s eyes are naturally focused. The Active Driving Display panel will automatically fold back into a hidden position when the ignition is shut off.
Safety features and driver assistance. The 2014 Mazda3 introduces several all-new safety systems under the umbrella known as i-ACTIVSENSE. These technologies use sensing devices such as milliwave radars and cameras to support the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions and minimizing damage, should accidents occur. While these systems will not eliminate accidents, their intent is to minimize them and reduce the severity of a crash.
The features available under i-ACTIVSENSE for North America are:
High Beam Control (HBC) - The system automatically switches the headlamps between high and low beams.
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) - This safety confirmation system detects objects located in blind-spot areas to the sides and rear of the vehicle and issues a visual alert within the outside mirrors for the driver to see. Should the turn signal be on for the direction in which the “blind” object is located, audible beeps will alert the driver.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) - This system monitors the lane markings on the road and issues a warning to the driver when it predicts that the vehicle is going to depart from its lane.
Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW) - This system monitors the vehicle ahead and issues both audible and visual alerts to help the driver take evasive action when it determines a high risk of collision to exist. FOW operates when traveling between speeds of 9 and 92 mph (14 and 148 km/h).
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) - When traveling at speeds of less than 19 mph (31 km/h), SCBS helps prevent or minimize a collision with a vehicle. Should the imbedded laser sensor detect an object, and the system calculates there may be a high risk for collision, the brake pedal travel is reduced in order to hasten braking. Should the driver fail to perform an avoidance maneuver, the system will activate an automatic braking function.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) - The system determines the difference in speed and distance to the vehicle in front and will automatically adjust the cruising speed in order to maintain a safe distance.
Mazda Proactive Safety is Mazda’s development concept, and it aims to help the driver avoid dangerous situations before they occur by minimizing the risks that can lead to an accident. Additionally, it maximizes the range of conditions in which the vehicle can be driven safely and with peace of mind.