2014 Mazda 3 5-door i TouringEnlarge Photo
Overall Rating: 8.0
Bottom Line: The 2014 Mazda 3 is no longer a niche compact; this year's redesign makes it a mainstream player that doesn't lose its sporty edge.
The Mazda 3 has long been one of the top small-car picks for those who appreciate a sporty driving experience but need an affordable, practical car with low running costs. As a hatchback, the Mazda 3 is once again at its best, as the five-door model makes the most of the curvy new 'Kodo' design theme shared with the Mazda 6. Mazda could have done a bit better with its interfaces, and in reconciling the racy exterior lines with back-seat and cargo practicality, but there's a lot to love here. The all-new 2014 Mazda 3 is not just quieter, more refined, and more fuel-efficient, but in 3s versions, it's sportier as well—and that's quite an achievement.