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IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The completely redesigned 2014 Mazda3 has been named the " Best Compact Car" for 2014, according to Yahoo! Autos.  From art pad to assembly line, this third-generation Mazda3 is all new and features the full suite of SKYACTIV®1 technologies and fluid styling of the KODO "Soul of Motion" design language.  This 2014 model also receives all-new game-changing technology with the full suite of active-safety pre-crash detection systems of i-ACTIVSENSE, which includes class exclusives Mazda Radar Cruise Control and Smart City Brake Support, the next-generation in-vehicle connectivity of MAZDA CONNECTâ„¢, which features an innovative Active Driving Display, and the capacitor-based regenerative engine braking i-ELOOP system.

"Our best-selling vehicle worldwide continues to win over the critics, impressing not only with its expected dynamics and performance but also with its top notch fuel economy, all-new technologies and excellent value," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations.  "The Mazda3 has always been competitive within its segment and will continue to bring its best to the table with the all-new 2014 model."

The Yahoo! Autos' testing methodology rates vehicles based on interior design, exterior styling, power delivery, ride, handling, fuel efficiency and value.  Editors also kept in mind how readers might approach these vehicles if their hard-earned money were at stake.  In its second year, this is the first time category winners have been announced.

"Even during Silicon Valley rush hour, the five-door Mazda3 continuously made us smile," said Yahoo! Autos.  "It's plenty peppy, handles brilliantly for a front-wheel drive hatchback and sports an engaging, well-executed manual transmission.  Boasting 33 [combined] mpg, and a price tag starting around $17,000, there really is a Mazda3 for everyone."

Starting at $16,945 2 MSRP for four-door models and $18,945 MSRP for the five-door, the 2014 Mazda3 is available with two engine choices and two transmissions.  The SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, and can be paired with either the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic.  Offering one of the best fuel economy numbers in its class, four-door models achieve an EPA-estimated 41 highway mpg while five-doors are rated at 40 highway mpg, regardless of transmission choice.

The larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine boasts 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm and currently is only available with the automatic transmission.  However, the six-speed manual has been confirmed to be added as a transmission selection at a later date.   Four-door models equipped with the 2.5L are EPA-estimated at 39 highway mpg while five-doors are EPA-rated at up to 38 highway mpg (with i-ELOOP). 

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