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Auto blogWed, 26 Jun 2013 11:30:00 EST
Mazda has officially pulled the sheets off of its 2014 Mazda3. The all-new compact boasts a wheelbase that's a full 2.4 inches longer than the outgoing model, yet the hatchback is a nearly two inches shorter from stem to stern. The machine is also lower and wider than before, which should give occupants plenty of space indoors. The driver gets treated to a new human-machine interface that features a new Active Driving Display for information like vehicle speed and navigation instructions conveniently in the line of sight. Likewise, the vehicle's infotainment system has received a complete rebuild.
Outside, the new Mazda3 makes full use of the company's KODO design language, and to our eyes, the result is one of the most attractive entries in the segment. Jump under the hood, and buyers can expect to find a Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine with 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, though no fuel economy estimates are available. For those looking for a bit more thrust, Mazda also offers a 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline mill with 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. So far there's no word on the diesel engine available to our friends in Europe.
Both engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic and feature the automaker's i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration systems. The recaptured energy is stored in a capacitor and used to power the vehicle's various electrical systems.
For the first time ever, the Crown Range, New Zealand's highest paved road, was closed off for the drifting pleasure of one man. That man is Mad Mike Whiddett, and the machine he's piloting is a heavily modified Mazda RX-7 sponsored by the energy-rich crew from Red Bull and powered by a 750-horsepower quad-rotor engine. There will be smoke. Lots and lots of smoke.
Mad Mike hits speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour over the course of the road's six and a half miles, which boasts 47 individual corners at over 3,500 feet of elevation. Scroll down for all kinds of fire-belching, tire-squealing and smoke-inducing action. Or, as Mad Mike himself puts it, "A dream turned into reality."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 62,000, 2010-2011 Mazda CX-9 models over brake problems. The government safety watchdog says it has received seven complaints of an observed loss of power braking power to stop the crossover, according to the The Detroit News.
The NHTSA complaints say that the problem causes a hard pedal, increased braking effort and reduced braking effectiveness. Some complaints allege that they hear a hissing noise during braking similar to the sound of air leaving the tires. No injuries or crashes have been reported.
"As always, we are fully cooperating with NHTSA on their investigation. We cannot comment further at this time," said Mazda spokesperson Tamara Mlynarczyk to The Detroit News.