2014 Mazda3 Officially Breaks Cover

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The 2014 Mazda3 could very well set a new benchmark for economy cars, and that's a very good thing.

Yesterday's leaked photos and early details of the all-new 2014 Mazda3 have so far generated lots of positive new car reviews. Gone is the smiley cat face of the outgoing model. In comes the sleeker and far better-looking Kodo styling. While the overall design of the car, both inside and out, looks impressive, it's the fine details we were waiting for. And Mazda has now released them. For the US spec 3, buyers will have a choice of a standard 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder with 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque.

That engine is a carryover from the current car, but the optional 2.5-liter four-pot with 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft is what we'd opt for. Both engines can be paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

Compared to the outgoing model, the new Mazda3 is about 200 lbs. lighter thanks to extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel that also makes the car 30 percent stiffer. Interior space has also been increased due to a longer wheelbase. As already mentioned, that sleek interior benefits from a downright killer dash design that's covered with soft-touch materials and black piano plastic. There's also something new called the Active Driving Display, which is basically a head-up screen that moves up and down on top of the dash. Details such as pricing and EPA figures have yet to be released, and we're still waiting for photos of the sedan.

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