It's been a long time coming, but we finally clapped our eyes on the real deal, officially official 2014 Mazda3 in hatchback form yesterday. Yet there's a lot more to learn about this next-generation version of what has always been one of our favorite compacts. We know that the US version will come with one of two Skyactiv engines, but what about alternatives? Will there be any... or will the gasoline-fed four-cylinders be powerful and frugal enough to carry the day?
According to Automotive News, the answer is a definite maybe. Mazda North America CEO Jim O'Sullivan has told the trade publication that his employer will consider adding the company's well-liked 2.2-liter Skyactiv diesel powerplant to the model down the road. However, the company first wants to see how the engine fares with American consumers in its big-brother Mazda6 sedan, a model that goes on sale later this year. As for a potential Mazdaspeed3 successor, mum is still the word.
Anything else? Uncharacteristically, Mazda will build a hybrid model of its new 3. We say "uncharacteristically," because the Japanese independent has long shied away from gas-electric powertrain tech. In fact, it's gone so far as to boldly announce its aversion to the technology, with auto show banners proclaiming "Not Electric. Not Hybrid. Not A Drag To Drive." Despite all that, this new generation of Mazda3 will in fact be the company's first full hybrid production model. According to AN, however, O'Sullivan says that the company has "no plans" to sell it in the US.
Production for the 2014 Mazda3 will throttle up ahead of the car's September on-sale date in the US, but supply might be pinched until Mazda's new Salamanca, Mexico plant fires up next year.