- Two bodystyles to choose from
- Economical powertrains
- Comfortable ride
- Rivals offer more kerb appeal
- Smooth but slightly lethargic engines
- May feel outdated
What's the Mazda3 Like?
The Mazda3 has been the company’s biggest seller for years and production of that model lasted until 2019 with various updates and changes along the way.
Previous variations had already proved their worth, but this one was still a big improvement, with great looks, top-notch safety, and an excellent all round driving experience.
While some of the earlier Mazda3’s left something to be desired in the driving, this model is brilliant all round.
There are 5-door hatch and 4-door Fastback models to choose from and where the hatch is more practical, the Fastback is certainly better looking.
All feature the company’s Skyactiv technology, which brings light weight from innovative build techniques in both the body and the drivetrain.
This helps towards very good economy and low emissions, as well as excellent safety and class leading performance.
They also have a very comfortable ride over rough roads in town or poor surfaces at speed, and they hold the road brilliantly with excellent grip, tremendous balance, and marvellously informative steering.
There's a choice of three petrol engines and two diesels. The petrol range starts with a 1.5-litre that has 98bhp. That doesn’t sound like much, but because of the Skyactiv setup, it’s good for 0 to 60mph in a shade over 10.0 seconds and 55mpg.
Next up is a smooth 2.0-litre with 120bhp that can still do 55mpg and drops the sprint down to 8.6 seconds.
The range topper – only available in more expensive models - is the same 2.0-litre engine but now with 165bhp - and this one is a real stormer, with a delicious soundtrack. It brings up 60mph in 7.9 seconds and still gives very good economy.
The diesel choices are a 1.5-litre with 105bhp and the same 2.2-litre used in other models from the range with 150bhp. The 1.5-litre offers better than average performance plus superb 74mpg economy.
Trim levels are SE, SE-L, and Sport, each of which has a Nav model alongside with standard – and very good – sat nav.
All have a large display screen at the top of the centre console that’s controlled by a rotary wheel, plus an internet connection.
Mid-range SE-L trim comes with alarm, parking sensors, heated mirrors, traction control, audio remote, alloy wheels, cruise control, heated seats, and headlamp washers.
Top models also have a head up display for speed and the local limit, optional leather trim, and active safety including automatic city braking, lane departure warning, auto high beam lights, and radar controlled cruise.
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The Mazda3 is a great all-round hatchback that comes with a variety of equipment as standard, as well as a fairly practical interior. Competitors may turn more heads while out on the road, but very few can match the Mazda3 when it comes to build quality, reliability, and running costs.