The 2014 Mazda3 sees a redesign this year with a new infotainment system and improved safety features that help Mazda keep pace with its compact counterparts. This year sees the introduction of the Mazda Connect system, which replaces the cramped display interface seen in previous models. The new infotainment system features a larger, full-color LCD, touch screen display that is a significant improvement over the previous system. Additional safety features include the new forward collision alert that works at speeds up to 95 mph and auto braking at speeds up to 19 mph are great additions, more typical of a luxury car. The exterior has also seen a change, with an elongated hood and updated grille that gives the Mazda3 a sportier look than in previous years.
Overall, the Mazda3 leaves a very good impression. The new infotainment system is probably its strongest addition, though that may be because the offering was a little subpar in previous models. The display's placement in the car is a bit odd and it almost looks like an aftermarket part, but the interface is still very sleek and should impress owners anyway. The new safety features that seem more at home in a BMW 3-Series than in a compact should also be well appreciated by drivers, and help to separate the Mazda3 from its peers. Unfortunately, the rear remains somewhat cramped and headroom is still an issue for taller passengers, so those looking for a roomier ride for their friends would be better suited by a Honda Civic, or another compact with a larger rear seat.