Mazda3’s ‘legendary reliability’ praised

German magazine Auto Bild tested the hatchback over two years and at the end only a plastic clip in the luggage compartment has stopped working.

The result means Mazda now boasts the top three cars in terms of reliability and is the only car maker to have three cars pass the test.

Previously the Mazda6 executive saloon and Mazda5 people carrier both passed the road test and Auto Bild editors have now praised the brand’s ‘worry-free’ cars.

They said: “That legendary Japanese reliability is still alive and kicking here,” after the hatchback finished the test.

The Mazda3 has undergone a refresh for 2012 with an update to the exterior and revamp of the interior.

This includes new materials for the seats and control panel and better sound-proofing for a more refined drive.

The big changes come under the bonnet, where Mazda’s hotly anticipated ‘Skyactiv’ petrol and diesel engines finally make an appearance in a road car.

The new engines improve fuel efficiency by 30 per cent over the 2011 Mazda3 and CO2 emissions are reduced for the hatchback.

Fuel economy stands at a little under 50mpg for the 1.6-litre petrol Mazda3 thanks to the Skyactiv technology and a new, efficient six-speed automatic gearbox.

The new 2012 Mazda3 will go on sale in the UK in October. Other cars to use the new Skyactiv technology include the Mazda2 and the new Mazda CX-5 compact SUV crossover.