Mazda3 hatchback review 2014

It can be hard to differentiate hatchbacks and saloons nowadays, as manufacturers are constantly implanting new design languages across their ranges – and the new Mazda3 hatchback is a perfect illustration of this.

Taking a firm grasp of Mazda’s  new-found Kodo ‘Soul of Motion’ design philosophy, as featured on the Mazda6 saloon, the Mazda3 offers a highly sculptured exterior that will have you stop and staring on the road.

Exterior

The new Kodo body language gives the Mazda3 prestige on the road and makes it look like nothing else out there, with sporty lines that run along the body from back to front.

Not only does it offer lightweight materials – which in turn results in better fuel economy – but there is a distinctive sporty feel about it that sets it apart from any other family car.

Interior

The Mazda3 has an up-market saloon vibe about it, due to the refinement and build quality. If you did want to upgrade to a saloon, the Mazda3 is actually available in a saloon body style for a little extra.

There are three main trim levels to choose from on the Mazda3. These include SE, SE-L and Sport. Each of these trim levels can be slightly modified with the addition of ‘Nav’ – SE Nav for example – which adds the benefit of satellite navigation.

Every model in the Mazda3 range  comes with USB and iPod compatibility, Bluetooth, a seven-inch infotainment colour touch screen, air conditioning and all-round electric windows as standard.

The flagship Sport Nav trim will keep short and long commuters happy with everything from satellite navigation to cruise control and heated seats to parking sensors.

Comfort wise, the Mazda3 is everything you could ask for in a hatchback. You have a great driving position which is easily adjustable, head and leg room is of abundance in the front and rear, all the kit is ergonomically laid out and there is even a futuristic-looking head-up-display behind the steering wheel, which displays your speed.

With a 350 litre boot the Mazda3 can easily swallow a large amount of shopping bags and even suitcases. This storage space can be enhanced by folding the rear seats down, offering a total storage space of 1,250 litres.

On the road

The Mazda3’s engine options are dominated by the Japanese manufacturer’s fuel efficient SKYACTIV technology.

With appealing petrol and diesel engines on offer, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to finding the right balance between efficiency and power.

One of the most popular frugal diesel engines on offer is the 148bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit, which emits just 107g/km and returns a combined fuel economy of around 70mpg.

The 2.0-litre petrol on the other hand is for those who want a bit of power. With an impressive 163bhp on tap, the 2.0-litre petrol will complete the sprint in just 8.2 seconds.

On top of its vast engine range, the Mazda3 also offers a smooth and comfortable ride that has responsive and direct steering to match.

Verdict

When looking for a hatchback, it is important to make sure that all of the key criteria is ticked – which with a family car is low running costs and practicality.

The Mazda3 goes above and beyond expectation with a unique exterior design, premium interior quality and a surprisingly affordable price tag of just £16,695.