2014 Mazda3 Sport GS
2014 Mazda3 Sport GS. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Mark Stevenson

This winter has not been pleasant here on the east coast. After three Wednesdays in a row of snow near or above 20 cm falling to the ground in the Halifax region, the Mazda3 Sport hasn’t missed a beat.

During the last month, the compact hatchback has continued its dog-hauling duties in addition to a longer jaunt to a snowmobile rally in central Nova Scotia. The Mazda traversed city streets, highways, and even back roads in the past month, all of which gave the car only minimal problems. However, there was one very close call.

As of today, the Mazda3 Sport has hit 4,000 km. During that time, the majority of the driving has been around the city and in very unfavourable conditions. Taking that into consideration, I’ve consistently seen fuel economy clock in at 8.5 L/100 km.

On the highway, and with winter rubber, I still find it to be fairly loud in the cabin. The hum coming from the tires is enough for me to crank the radio to compensate. Thankfully, the stereo in our tester sounds great, and in the other Mazda3s I’ve driven shod with all-season rubber this humming has not been an issue.

On one particular trip, the aforementioned snowmobile rally, which took me down a back road covered in a nice layer of ice and gravel, the Mazda3 really shined. The road posed absolutely no issues on the way in. But, on the way out, after spending the better part of the day doing 80+ km/h on a 600cc snowmobile, I had become extremely tired.

 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS
2014 Mazda3 Sport GS. Click image to enlarge

Approaching one of the turns, my speed was a little too quick for the conditions, and the tail of the Mazda started to kick out as I entered the corner. Most cars would put up a massive fuss, create a ton of racket through the ABS, and finally get themselves straightened out. It’s quite the performance. But the Mazda, by lightly applying some brake automatically, sorted me out without the typical harshness. And no theatrics either, free of the ear-shattering noise usually attributed to electronic stability control systems in other cars.

While the GS trimmed vehicles aren’t equipped with Mazda’s new i-ACTIVSENSE combination of technologies, to know base and mid-trimmed models will easily keep you from impregnating a snow bank on the outside of a corner is confidence inspiring.

 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS
2014 Mazda3 Sport GS. Click image to enlarge

Speaking of winter, there is nothing better than a proximity key (also known as keyless entry) during colder days. Walk up to your car, touch the handle or tap a mounted button, the car unlocks, and off you go. Easy. A number of cars equipped with push-button start have proximity keys. But, in GX and GS trim, while they do have push-button start, the Mazda3 lacks keyless entry.

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