Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
How else can you explain the fact that this relatively small Japanese company is doing what no one else in the car industry seems to have figured out? They’re building cars that get amazing gas mileage and are exhilarating to drive at the same time.
Doing one or the other is easy. If you cram a giant engine into a little car, you’ll get people’s hearts racing. And on the flip side, you can put a puny engine into a tin-can car and get good gas mileage.
But what Mazda has done with this car, the all-new Mazda3, is remarkable.
First of all, it’s rated for 41 mpg on the highway. To put that in perspective, it’s the exact same mileage figure as the first-generation Toyota Prius hybrid, which set the standard for hyper-efficient cars when it was introduced.
Unlike many fuel-saving cars, though, the Mazda3 doesn’t feel like a dinky, hamster-powered contraption. It feels quick and nimble, matching the breathtakingly fun feeling that I loved in the previous generation 3.
I’m not quite sure how Mazda managed to do that. Mazda’s Department of Marketing Mumbo Jumbo came up with the term “SKYACTIV” to describe how the engine, transmission, body and chassis work together to boost performance and gas mileage, but black magic still makes more sense to me.
Whatever the root cause, this is one of my favorite small cars to drive in a long time. And it’s for reasons that go much deeper than gas mileage.
From the driver’s seat, this new design feels like one of the fastest, most fun compact cars you can buy. It doesn’t drive at all like a car that’s designed for good gas mileage, strangely enough.
I love the new look Mazda gives this car for 2014. It gets a long, sports-car-like hood, swept-back headlights and a sleek, expensive-looking overall shape. I think it looks like a smaller, sportier version of the pricey Lexus RX 350 that I tested last week.
Inside, this is one of the best cabins I’ve ever seen in a compact car. It has soft materials on the dash, tight construction, and — at least in my test car — all the bells and whistles you could possibly imagine being in a commuter vehicle: automatic headlights, a heads-up display, lane departure warning, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, blind-spot sensors, a navigation system and lots more.
On the downside, all those extras added a lot to the price of my test car. It rang up over $29,000, which — to me, at least — seems like an awful lot of money for a Mazda compact car. The base version of this car, starting under $17,000, makes more sense for most people.
As a whole, though, this is one of the most impressive small cars I’ve driven in years. Even at the end of its lifespan, the previous generation Mazda3 was one of my favorites, and this new version raises the bar even higher.
It’s kept the lovable, fun-to-drive spirit of the Mazda3 while adding better gas mileage for today’s world. If Mazda had to stick pins into Honda and Toyota voodoo dolls to do that, so be it.
Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
- Community News Network
VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up
Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.
Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'
What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.
The virtues of lying
Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.
Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered
You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.
Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus
Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.
An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about
It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.
Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight
In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive
The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.
Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research
Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.
Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock
Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.
Can black women have it all?
In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.
Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir
Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history. Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.
'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead
Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.
Fast food comes to standstill in China
The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country
Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran
Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.
VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape
A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.
Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world
We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.
How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement
A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.
Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish
Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.
Don't judge mothers with messy homes
I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."
Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year
Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3
Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)
Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos.
Facebook continues moneymaking trend
Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.
- Has the ipad lost its swag?
Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese
The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.
Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates
On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.
Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town
A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.
An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells
Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.
VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid
A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.
What we get wrong about millennials living at home
If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.
- More Community News Network Headlines
- VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up