Mazda released a major update to its Mazda3 hatchback model in 2012, giving it a new engine based on its Skyactiv efficiency technology. But as we found out today, that model was a mere teaser for the entirely rebuilt model shown off in New York today.
The redesigned and rebuilt model uses Mazda's Skyactiv principles to shed weight, helping increase fuel economy. Mazda says it used higher-tensile steel and evaluated over 300 components in the car to reduce weight, although no specifications were given as to the new curb weight.
With the 2012 model, Mazda showed off its new Skyactiv 2-liter engine, using direct injection to achieve 155 horsepower. This new 2014 model will give buyers a choice of that 2-liter engine, or a new 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine making 184 horsepower. Although Mazda offers diesel engines in other markets, that option will not be offered in the U.S.
The styling of the Mazda3 sees a big change, with cues reflecting the Mazda2 and the new Mazda6. Mazda pushed back the A pillars, giving the nose a longer look, and raked the rear hatch at more of an angle than on the previous model.
Along with the styling changes, Mazda reduced the length of the Mazda3 by almost 2 inches, while extending the wheelbase, which should aid handling and ride comfort. Height was also reduced, although the car model was widened.
Mazda says the interior headroom loses 0.6 inch, although hip room is widened by 1.6 inches. Transmission options will be a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, the latter using a better lock-up range for tighter, more-efficient gear changes.
The Mazda3 comes with a whole new cabin electronics system, with SD card-based navigation, stereo, and phone information shown on this fixed center LCD. The car will integrate Harman-Kardon's Aha Internet radio system, which runs on the driver's smartphone.