The auto industry has received much attention recently due to drastic innovations in technology and third-party competition, such as Tesla Motors. As such, the competition for car of the year has never been more highly contested. Just last month, the Cadillac CTS won Motor Trend's Car of the Year award. Fortunately for Cadillac's competitors, Motor Trend is not the only organization to hand out car of the year awards.
This January in Detroit, the 2014 North American Car of the Year award will be announced, and surprisingly, the finalists are the same as Motor Trend's - the Cadillac CTS, the Corvette Stingray, and the 2014 Mazda 3. While many have clamored to get their hands on the Cadillac CTS and Stingray, the Mazda 3 has been a surprise in the auto world this year.
Mazda, a Japanese automaker, has been pushing the innovation envelope lately by using new technologies to enhance the performance and experience for their consumers. Mazda has been so innovative, in fact, that the Mazda 3 won the 2013 Innovation Vehicle of the Year award handed out by the Motor Press Guild, North America's largest auto media association. (The runner-up was the Stingray).
The 2014 Mazda 3 showcases a slew of new, technological innovations. It boasts a cruise-control which can automatically control the speed of the car to ensure a safe distance between two vehicles, adaptive headlights which assist in providing the best light possible when turning or going around curves, automatic dimming and brightening of headlights while driving at night, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, reverse assist to warn of impending collisions, and forward obstruction warning with brake assist. And it does all of this while achieving 41 mpg on the highway.
While many assume that the below $20k Mazda 3 stands no chance against its more luxury-class competitors, it already has one car of the year award under its belt. On Monday, the Mazda 3 was named Car of the Year by AutoGuide.com, with the editorial director Colum Wood stating, "Combining attractive styling inside and out, with impressive features in versatile packaging, the 2014 Mazda3 is also efficient and fun to drive. It's not that the Mazda3 is a great compact car; it's simply a great car, period."
Jim O'Sullivan, the president and CEO of Mazda, also voiced his opinion on how Mazda is not holding back any punches from its high-end competition: "We truly put our best foot forward with the all-new 2014 Mazda3, not only to be competitive within its class but to be the vehicle that consumers have asked for. Never one to shy away from dynamic handling, this all-new Mazda3 also is value-minded, safety-oriented and technology-driven. Our best-selling vehicle worldwide should feature the best of what Mazda has to offer as well as give hints as to what's to come not just for the model lineup but for the brand as a whole."
Now that the three finalists have been announced, the cars will undergo one more round of voting before the winner is announced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. If the fuel-efficient, technology-laden 2014 Mazda 3 appeals to you, you can pick up the base model sedan starting at $16,945.[Image via Mazda]