Mazda 3 – Review

In recent years, Mazda has become a stand-out-from-the-crowd brand. This is reflected in their pricing as they are marginally more expensive than their rivals. I tested the Mazda3 recently and I’m saying straight out, I was very impressed. What makes it such a great car you ask? Read on…

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Mazda 3
Engine: 1.5 diesel – 105hp and 270Nm
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual, Front Wheel Drive
Price: The Mazda 3 range starts from €22,995. As tested – €30,290.

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Styling

Kodo design is Mazda’s design language. It first featured on the Mazda6 and has now made it to the rest of the model line up, DSC_0062including the Mazda3. Kodo design has helped make the Mazda3 stand out from the crowd. Compared to most of its rivals, it doesn’t look generic or boring. It has an angular face and fold lines going down the side of the body. It is angular and square.

Interior

If you were to sit in each model in the Mazda line up, you will see that each one is either a scaled-up or scaled-down version of the next one.

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The cream leather is nice touch of class for the interior of the DSC_0067Mazda3 but a very similar interior featured in the Mazda2 I had a couple of weeks ago. It makes the 3 feel that little bit special. It is a very nice and comfortable place to be. The instrument cluster and infotainment system is nicely laid out. I liked that the tachometer showed DSC_0078dominance in the instrument cluster. To the left and right were different displays of trip data, fuel consumption and other driving and vehicle information.

The infotainment is simple but it works . It is very easy to use thanks to its BMW iDrive-esque dial. Buttons that surround it allow you to switch to the Sat Nav, the home screen and the radio/media outlet.

 

Practicality

The car has a spacious interior with the usual cubby holes in the doors, arm rest and glove box. Although, the door’s cubby holes were enclosed to only make space for a bottle.

The boot in the 3 is 364 litres. This is compared to the Opel Astra’s 351 litres, the Ford Focus’s 316 litres and the Volkswagen Golf’s 380 litres. So it fits more than just the weekly shop. The seats also fold down flat increasing the space to 1,263 litres.

On The Road

The Mazda is an easy car to drive. It weighs about 1300kg but doesn’t feel all that heavy. The clutch is light which makes for easy parking. Gear change is smooth, unlike the Astra which is notchy.

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Overall the 1.5 SkyActiv-D engine is quiet, it was pleasantly surprising. The diesel unit is 105hp and 270Nm. I found the power lacking when on the motorway and overtaking. To get the most out of the engine, I had to drop down 2 gears before I overtook which led to a very noisy cabin. Also apparent on the motorway is tyre noise.

The car drives well. It has weighty enough steering where you want it to and the body roll is controlled nicely. Not so much a sports car but does the job when you want it to. It is comfy too. Especially with its leather trim.

Equipment

The infotainment system and equipment level in the Mazda 3 is sufficient. It is basic and what one would need but is not ground breaking and doesn’t overly excite the tech nerd in me. DSC_0080In this trim, it comes standard with Bluetooth, Mazda MZD Connect, Dual zone air conditioning, LED Daytime running lights, Bi-Xenon dusk sensing head lights and Cruise control to name but a few.

Running Costs

The car produces just 99g/km of CO2 so is in tax band A2 of €180 per year to tax.

Competition

Opel Astra –  Good quality interior but only in Elite Trim. The Mazda 3 has a bigger boot and is better looking overall.

Volkswagen Golf – Build quality is good and is the first choice in this segment. Although as I’ve said before, they’re a too common. The Mazda3 adds some exclusitivity.

Pricing

Prices start from €22,995 for the Mazda3 range. The car as tested was €30,290 including options.

Conclusion

The Mazda3 is great car overall. It is comfortable, spacious and looks good. Even if the price tag is a little hefty, I think it is worth it. You get a lot for your money.

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