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2014 Mazda3 looks as good as it drives (pictures)

The new Mazda3 is an extraordinarily good car, and easily competes with up-market compacts.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
Mazda completely rebuilt its Mazda3 compact for the 2014 model year.
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2 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
The Mazda3 can be had as a hatchback or sedan.
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The rear window is a thin strip across the back.
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4 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
Cargo space isn't large, but the rear seats fold down, more than doubling the volume.
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5 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
Mazda imbues the Mazda3 with organic curves.
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6 of 18 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
This 2.5-liter direct-injection engine produces 184 horsepower.
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7 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
The Grand Touring model gets power adjustable seats.
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Rear seat space is average for a compact.
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Mazda doesn't offer options in the Mazda3, instead giving trim lines standard tech.
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The single gauge is a tachometer, with speed shown digitally.
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The six-speed automatic transmission includes a manual mode.
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The head-up display projects on a panel sticking up from the dashboard.
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Among the driver assistance features is this rearview camera.
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The home screen for Mazda Connect shows icons for major vehicle functions.
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15 of 18 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The map display includes rendered buildings.
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16 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
Oddly, Mazda does not integrate live traffic with navigation, instead including this separate traffic map.
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You can tether the Mazda3 to a Wi-Fi hot spot for external data services.
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The playback screen for USB drives and iOS devices shows album art.

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