The compact Mazda3 comes in Hatchback or Fastback (saloon) form, and now has a slightly revised face, a new cabin and fancier behind-the-scenes tech.
Clout is delivered via a 1.5 diesel power unit with 105PS and a 150PS 2.2 diesel engine. There are also two petrol-powered units offering 120PS and 165PS. The oil-burners have been developed to all but eliminate that familiar diesel rattle on start-up and at slower speeds. Quietening the diesel din has made a significant difference to the driving experience. Add in some extra vibration damping and the Mazda3 now feels smoother on the road. Indeed, refinement is now on a level with the Audi A3 and similar ‘premium’ small car models.
The cabin has had more work done to it than anything else. It has been given the interior of the Mazda6 and is therefore better quality than the outgoing Mazda3. The dials and switchgear are now easier to read and use, and the conventional manual handbrake has been swapped for an electric one.
I tried the Mazda3 Hatchback 1.5 diesel 105PS in SE-L Nav trim on some awesome driving roads from Aberdeen to the Cairngorms. This car only emits 99g/km of CO2 – and is therefore likely to be a fleet favourite. For private buyers/leasers, it means there’s no worries about paying road tax or forking out for city congestion charging, either. What’s more, the official combined fuel consumption figure for this 1.5 diesel model is 74.3 mpg.
The Mazda3 is an utter joy to drive – especially along snaking rural routes. Grip is massively improved – and so is torque. This is due to Mazda’s latest gadgetry that enhances handling by monitoring steering inputs and throttle position. Basically, the tech rebalances the car for you, giving the Mazda much better stability than before. The test routes, totalling close to 300 miles, weren’t always covered with the best tarmac, so the suspension took some pummelling at times. However, the Mazda3’s ride was always comfortable, and it handled high-speed peaks and troughs with confidence. The manual six-speed gearbox has short, sporty throws, and the clutch is light, adding to driver pleasure. And, as I found out after coming across a tractor following a particularly heavy hooning session, the brakes are bob on.
Three trim versions are accessible on the Mazda3: SE Nav, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav. The flagship varieties have more technology than before. This includes adaptive LED headlights and a superior head-up colour display. There’s also optional leather trim to be had – and, take it from me, this really does add to comfort levels. It’s a shame there’s no spare wheel supplied, though. The Mazda3 has always been a fine car – and now it’s better than ever. Prices begin at £17,595 with the top Nav Sport model coming in at a very reasonable £24,195. Why not contact one of Perrys Mazda dealerships to find out more?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Handling √
- Comfort √
- Efficiency √
- Trim √
- No spare wheel X
Fast Facts (1.5 SKYACTIV-D 105PS SE-L Nav)
- Max speed: 113 mph
- 0-62 mph: 11.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 74.3
- Engine layout: 1498cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (PS): 105
- CO2: 99 g/km
- Price: £21,195