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Auto blogFri, 01 Feb 2013 11:57:00 EST
In an automotive landscape dominated by platform sharing, technology exchange and any number of other cross-fertilization/cost-saving/amortization exercises, it's actually pretty rare that we get to drive a new car that is as "all-new" as this, the 2014 Mazda6. With brand-spanking new Skyactiv architecture throughout - engine, transmission, body and chassis all included - this 6 represents a new era of flexible production and cutting edge running gear for the happily lithe car company.
Our own Jonathon Ramsey did a cracking job of running the Mazda6 through its First Drive paces a few months ago, and sufficiently impressed upon us just how good looking a car this is for the midsize sedan segment. Suffice it to say, now, then, that this is easily the most interesting (and quite possibly the most beautiful) midsize sedan in the segment today. However, as Mr. Ramsey reviewed a fully contented example of the 6 - one equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission - we took advantage of Mazda's North American launch event of the car to suss out the base Mazda6 i Sport, complete with its six-speed Skyactiv manual gearbox. This may not shock you, but the stripper's pretty good, too.
Thanks to the folks at Top Gear Russia, we got an early glimpse of the 2014 Mazda3 sedan. Now, Mazda has released more images of its sleek new four-door, and if you like what the Japanese automaker has done with the five-door hatchback, you won't find anything to complain about with the sedan.
Many would argue that the Mazda3 sedan looks like a scaled-down version of the new Mazda6, and in many cases, that's true. But there are subtle details about the Mazda3 that we really like, starting with the larger grille that makes for a slightly more aggressive front end. On the profile, we like how the strong arching character lines that flow over the front and rear wheel wells intersect in the middle of the car and then taper off. At the rear, a short decklid rounds off a very clean design with taillamps that are indeed reminiscent of the larger Mazda6.
We can't yet confirm powertrain details (or any other specifications, really), but we fully expect the same 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engines to carry over from the hatchback, as well as the six-speed automatic and manual transmissions.
It's been a long time coming, but we finally clapped our eyes on the real deal, officially official 2014 Mazda3 in hatchback form yesterday. Yet there's a lot more to learn about this next-generation version of what has always been one of our favorite compacts. We know that the US version will come with one of two Skyactiv engines, but what about alternatives? Will there be any... or will the gasoline-fed four-cylinders be powerful and frugal enough to carry the day?
According to Automotive News, the answer is a definite maybe. Mazda North America CEO Jim O'Sullivan has told the trade publication that his employer will consider adding the company's well-liked 2.2-liter Skyactiv diesel powerplant to the model down the road. However, the company first wants to see how the engine fares with American consumers in its big-brother Mazda6 sedan, a model that goes on sale later this year. As for a potential Mazdaspeed3 successor, mum is still the word.
Anything else? Uncharacteristically, Mazda will build a hybrid model of its new 3. We say "uncharacteristically," because the Japanese independent has long shied away from gas-electric powertrain tech. In fact, it's gone so far as to boldly announce its aversion to the technology, with auto show banners proclaiming "Not Electric. Not Hybrid. Not A Drag To Drive." Despite all that, this new generation of Mazda3 will in fact be the company's first full hybrid production model. According to AN, however, O'Sullivan says that the company has "no plans" to sell it in the US.