|By PR Newswire||
|April 10, 2014 01:19 PM EDT||
IRVINE, Calif., April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Completely redesigned for 2014, the Mazda3 compact car was today named to Ward's 10 Best Interiors List, as chosen by the publication's editors. All new in every way, Mazda's best-selling vehicle worldwide is in its third-generation. With an interior layout focused on the most important seat in the car – the driver's – Mazda concentrated on honing the human-machine interface (HMI) into an instinctively ergonomic and functional part of the cockpit to create a driving experience that is intuitive, seamless and safer.
The 2014 Mazda3 continues in following the brand's SKYACTIV® philosophy of surpassing expectations without compromise and is equipped with the complete, full-efficient line of engineering technologies known as SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and is expressive with distinctive KODO "Soul of Motion" character lines. And additional new technologies abound under its emotive skin with MAZDA CONNECT™, a new-for-Mazda in-car connectivity system developed for safer, focused driving habits, and i-ACTIVSENSE, a safety-first system that includes active-safety pre-crash detection systems.
"Traditionally known for behind-the-wheel Zoom-Zoom sensibilities, for Mazda to also be recognized as a standard for design quality is an exceptional and welcomed accolade," said Derek Jenkins, director, Design, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "New communications technology, interior materials and even the overall center stack layout can be bold but still evoke a luxury feel, a premium atmosphere. With the 2014 Mazda3, we've achieved that balance of snap, crackle and sizzle for your senses."
All new or significantly changed production vehicles are eligible for review by the editors of WardsAuto. Interiors are rated based on material selection, ergonomics, driver information, safety, overall value, touch points/comfort, fit and finish as well as aesthetics/design harmony. There is no price cap for vehicle entries. The 2014 Mazda3 s Grand Touring five-door with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine was a nominee for evaluation this year. An i-designated model trim, which is equipped with a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine, was not evaluated for this test.
"The Mazda3 is a wonderful example of an interior that is sporty, sophisticated, comfortable and upscale, without being expensive," said Tom Murphy, executive editor, WardsAuto World. "We drove a fully loaded two-tone five-door Grand Touring model that stickered a hair more than $30,000, and that's with advanced safety features such as a head-up display, radar-based adaptive cruise control, forward obstruction warning and lane-departure warning. The Mazda3 is the automaker's best-selling car and with this interior it's easy to see why."
The awards had previously been called "Auto Interiors of the Year" as part of the annual Auto Interiors Show held in Detroit. WardsAuto now presents the honor as Ward's 10 Best Interiors, a centerpiece of its annual WardsAuto Interiors Conference. Previous Mazda vehicles named to the list are the Mazda5 (2008), Mazdaspeed3 (2010), CX-5 (2012) and Mazda6 (2013).
Available in four trims, the 2014 Mazda3 starts at $16,945 MSRP for four-door models and $18,945 MSRP for five-doors. Also, two engine choices are available for either configuration. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0L is standard on i-designated models (SV, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring) and can be paired with either the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda3 i models offer one of the best fuel economy numbers in its class, with four-door models achieving an EPA-estimated 41 highway mpg and five-door models are EPA estimated at 40 highway mpg, regardless of transmission.
The larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5L is standard on s-designated models (Touring, Grand Touring) and is currently available with only the SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission. Four-door models offer an EPA-estimated 39 highway mpg while five-door versions are EPA-estimated to achieve up to 38 highway mpg (when equipped with i-ELOOP). i-ELOOP is a capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system aimed at improving fuel economy, particularly during frequent stop-and-go driving. This technology is a first for the Mazda3 and is a segment-exclusive feature.
Available on i Touring models and above is MAZDA CONNECT, a new human-machine interface (HMI) system based on the "heads-up" cockpit display that is aimed to assist motorists to drive more confidently and safely, even if handling larger amounts of incoming data. An innovative seven-inch full-color touch screen layout is employed to let the driver properly balance their primary job of driving while obtaining other peripheral information. MAZDA CONNECT was developed to be a less distracting and more intuitive in-vehicle operating system, its purpose to help increase overall safety as well as create a more pleasurable driving experience.
MAZDA CONNECT connects via Bluetooth® to a smartphone and can easily be updated to ensure users always have access to the latest features and services without the need to swap out hardware. In addition to the current music access channels via standard AM/FM radio, CD and USB/auxiliary port connections, Pandora® internet radio and premium content such as Sirius® Satellite Radio and HD Radio™ Technology as well as all-new features such as internet-based apps Aha by HARMAN™ and Stitcher™. An optional Bose® premium audio system with Centerpoint® 2 virtual surround sound playback will bring the harmonies and vocals to life for even the most discerning of audiophiles.
The 2014 Mazda3 also is the first vehicle to feature Mazda's all-new Active Driving Display, a clear pop-up panel that is vertically mounted behind the meter hood to provide vehicle speed, navigation directions and other pertinent driving information safely and directly within the driver's line of sight. Standard on all s trims, this feature not only decreases the amount of time a driver is focused away from the road ahead but the virtual information display being located beyond the instrument panel falls in line with where a driver's eyes would naturally be looking. The Active Driving Display automatically folds back into a hidden position when the ignition is shut off.
Standard interior features for all Mazda3 vehicles include a push-button start, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, Black or Sand cloth seat upholstery, power windows with a driver's side one-touch auto open/close feature, sliding sun visor extensions, a fold-down rear seat, carpeted floor mats, six-way manual driver's seat adjustments with lumbar support as well as auxiliary and USB connection ports.
As tested, the premium-level Mazda3 s Grand Touring featured perforated leather-trimmed seats with variable heat settings for front occupants, dual-zone climate controls, 60/40-split fold-down rear seats, a multi-function commander control, a rearview camera, a 6-way power driver's seat with manual lumber support, a single-touch operation moonroof as well as steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and cruise control and paddle shifters.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.
 SKYACTIV is a registered trademark of Mazda Motor Corporation (MC).
 Starting price is manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest trim level. MSRP does not include $795 destination charge (Alaska $840), title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.
SOURCE Mazda North American Operations