"We are honored to receive this latest distinction from U.S. News & World Report," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "To see not only our all-new vehicles but also our carryover models be recognized as the best in their segments is a testament to the quality, reliability and value of our vehicle lineup but also an absolute win-win for ever-discerning car buyers."
U.S. News considered 225 vehicles for the 21 categories of this year's Best Cars for the Money awards. The award methodology factors quality and value data into a composite score, of which the highest composite score is named the best in that category. Quality is measured by the overall score a vehicle achieved in the U.S. News car rankings at the time the awards are published. Value is measured by a combination of a vehicle's five-year total cost of ownership provided by Vincentric, LLC and the average price paid for the vehicle at the time the awards are published, as calculated by TrueCar.com.
"Finding a great car that's also a great deal is a challenge," said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor, U.S. News Best Cars. "Our awards are designed to help consumers identify great value cars that have also received critical acclaim and high safety and reliable scores. A good value car doesn't have to be boring – cars with the latest features, great performance and comfortable interiors can also be smart financial choices."
All-new for 2014, this third-generation Mazda3 features the game-changing elements of the SKYACTIV®1 TECHNOLOGY engineering philosophy and the brawny swagger of the KODO "Soul of Motion" design language. Mazda3 also features all-new technology with the debut of MAZDA CONNECT™, a next-generation driving-focused in-vehicle connectivity system, an innovative Active Driving Display and the complete i-ACTIVSENSE system, which includes active-safety pre-crash detection features. Available in four- and five-door body styles, Mazda3 starts at $16,9452 MSRP for four-doors and at $18,945 MSRP for the five-door.
2014 Mazda3 vehicles are powered by either a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter gasoline engine. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0L is standard on i-designated models (SV, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring) and 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 transmission. Mazda3 i models offer one of the best fuel economy numbers in its class, with four-door models achieving an EPA-estimated 41 highway mpg. Five-door models are EPA estimated at 40 highway mpg, regardless of transmission choice.
The larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5L is standard on s-designated models (Touring, Grand Touring) and offers 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm, 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm and currently is only available with the automatic transmission. Four-door models equipped with the 2.5L are EPA-estimated at 39 highway mpg while five-doors are EPA-estimated at up to 38 highway mpg, when equipped with i-ELOOP. i-ELOOP – a Mazda3 first and segment-exclusive Mazda option – is a capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system aimed at improving fuel economy, particularly during stop-and-go traffic.
The 2014 Mazda5 is the epitome of minivan versatility and compact car agility. The six-passenger multi-activity vehicle offers accessibility and storage with three rows of easy-to-configure, fold-flat seating as well as a variety of hidden storage trays and bins. Powered by an MZR 2.5-liter engine producing 157 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 163 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, Mazda5 can be had with a do-it-yourself six-speed manual or fluid-shifting five-speed Sport automatic transmission. Fuel economy is EPA estimated at 22 city/28 highway mpg for the automatic and 21 city/28 highway mpg with the manual.
While pricing starts at $20,140 MSRP for the entry-level Sport trim, a top-of-line Mazda5 Grand Touring model with premium features will still make wallets happily full with an MSRP sticker of less than $25,000. Added exterior features include a power moonroof, xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, heated door mirrors and rain-sensing windshield wipers with interior luxuries including leather-trimmed seats with heated front seats.