Beginning with the five-door model's (we expect a four door sedan to follow at a later stage) dimensions, while the third generation Mazda3 rides on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches (2,700mm), which is 2.4 inches (61mm) longer than the previous "3", it is 1.8 inches (45.7mm) shorter in length at 175.6 inches (4,460mm). The height is also reduced by 0.6 inches (15.2mm) but the car gains 1.6 inches (40.6mm) in width. According to Mazda, "the rear seatbacks are nearly 2.0 inches taller for added passenger comfort", while front and rear shoulder room has increased to 57.2 and 54.4 inches, respectively.
Like all new Mazda models, the Japanese firm's VW Golf and Ford Focus challenger has been given the "SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY" treatment, which translates to weight reduction measures and fuel-efficient engines and transmissions.
According to the automaker, a European-specification 2014 Mazda3 fitted with a SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter engine, which from what we've heard, will likely be offered later on in North America as well, and a SKYACTIV-MT manual gearbox, weighs about 198 pounds (90kg) less than the outgoing model.
At launch in North America, the 2014 Mazda3 will offer customers a choice of two four-cylinder gasoline engines, a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter unit producing 155hp at 6,000rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, and the larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter unit delivering 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. A standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual and an optional SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission will send power to the front wheels.