The 2014 Mazda3 will go on sale in September (Sharon Si... The 2014 Mazda3 will go on sale in September (Sharon Silke Carty, AOL Autos).
Mazda unveiled what's probably their most important model Wednesday at an empty warehouse space in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, a neighborhood filled with artsy boutiques and graffiti that could one day hang on the walls of a museum.

The 2014 Mazda3 will be the second production model Mazda has manufactured using what the company calls its "Kodo" design language. The first car using it was the Mazda6, a full-sized sedan that has gotten a warm welcome on the market thanks to its stylish good looks and its fun driving personality.

Sometimes when you take a design from a big car and try to translate it to a smaller car, something gets lost in translation and the smaller car ends up looking like the ugly little sister. But not in this case – the Mazda3 hatchback unveiled Wednesday has the same strong lines taken from the Kodo (which means "soul of motion" in Japanese) philosophy, and makes it work on a smaller frame.

The interior is all-new as well, and Mazda says the new materials it will use inside the car will make it feel like a more lush vehicle than its competitors.

Mazda says it's trying to make drivers safer by minimizing distractions, so the company is introducing a new human-machine interface system, which, in Mazda's words, "aims to help drivers maintain proper posture, concentrate on the road and drive more safely, even while handling larger amounts of information."

It will also come with a heads-up display that pops up behind the steering wheel, close to the windshield, to keep driver's eyes on the road while monitoring their speed, navigation directions and other information. The display folds back into a hidden position when the car is turned off.

"Its redesign for 2014 shows just how much attention to detail and care we put into this important vehicle," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North America.

Mazda showed just the hatchback version of the Mazda3 on Wednesday; the sedan version will be revealed in a few weeks, the company said. The hatchback version will go on sale in September, and will be imported from Japan until 2014, when the company starts making the Mazda3 in Mexico.

The new hatchback and its sedan sibling are important sellers for Mazda. Since 2003, they've sold more than 3.8 million of these cars worldwide. It is Mazda's best-selling nameplate.

Under the hood, there's a Skyactive-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine with 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. People wanting a little more power can get the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque.

Mazda hasn't released pricing or fuel economy numbers, but says both will be competitive with other similarly-sized cars on the market.

For more pictures, head over to Autoblog and check out their gallery.

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