The Mazda3 doesn’t look or feel like a typical compact. Four-door and five-door (hatchback) versions are available in four trim levels: SV (sedan only), Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The Mazda3 is priced right, starting at less than $17,000 for the sedan and $19,000 for the hatch, and extending to about $24,000 with the Grand Touring trim. Add $3,000 for the 2.5 liter.

Model Lineup:

The 2014 Mazda 3 lineup can get a little bit confusing, but we’ll try to sort things out for you. In addition to two body styles, the Mazda 3 is offered in two primarily model series. Those with an “i” in the name have the base 2.0-liter engine, while those with an “s” in the name include a more powerful 2.5-liter engine. Depending on body style and model series, trim levels include SV, Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.

Engines and Transmissions:

For 2014, Mazda installs a choice between two SkyActiv powertrains designed to deliver excellent fuel economy with no loss of performance. The Mazda 3i models are equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 155 horsepower, while the Mazda 3s model have a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 184 horsepower.

Fans of the manual transmission will need to stick with the smaller engine, as the more powerful powerplant is available only with a 6-speed automatic. The automatic is an option for the Mazda 3i models.

Fuel Economy Ratings:

According to the EPA, the Mazda 3i averages between 33 mpg and 34 mpg in combined driving, depending on body style and transmission choice. The Mazda 3s models are expected to get between 31 mpg and 32 mpg.

Safety Ratings:

As this summary is written, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have not performed crash tests on the 2014 Mazda 3.

Technology Highlights:

Impressively, the 2014 Mazda 3 offers buyers a long list of technology upgrades, depending on the model series and trim level. Select the Mazda 3i Touring, and the car includes a Blind Spot Monitoring system and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert system, while offering a navigation system, a reversing camera, and Mazda Connect technology as options. Mazda Connect includes text messaging capability, Internet radio access, E911 Automatic Emergency Notification service, and more. These features come standard on the Mazda 3i Grand Touring.

Switching to the Mazda 3s models, in Touring trim this version of the car includes Mazda Connect as well as bi-Xenon headlights, LED running lights, LED taillights, and an Active Driving Display that acts in similar fashion to a heads-up display.

The Mazda 3s Grand Touring is equipped with an Adaptive Front Lighting System and rain-sensing wipers as standard equipment. Optionally, the Mazda 3s Grand Touring is available with a lane departure warning system, automatic high-beam headlights, active grille shutters, and an i-ELOOP regenerative braking system. Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support system is also optional for this model, and the automaker plans to offer a radar cruise control system and a Forward Obstruction Warning system at some point during the 2014 model year.