Week ending: August 27
Miles driven this week: 103
There are perks to working for a magazine such as What Car?.
For example, my regular steed, a Peugeot 3008, was all set to take the family on holiday in Cornwall. That was until an unfortunate incident on a motorway, which meant it was smartly whisked off to the nearest bodyshop.
Normally this would mean a fair amount of panic trying to procure a replacement vehicle, but the office car park is full of shiny metal, and I was lucky enough to be able to grab the keys to our Mazda 3 long-termer.
I'm looking forward to seeing how it compares with the Peugeot, and my first impressions are good. I drove it from our HQ in Teddington to my home near Burford, which is a distance of approximately 70 miles, over a mix of motorway, dual carriageway and fast, sweeping country lanes. Not only is the ride comfortable and compliant, the Mazda appears to handle smartly, with good steering and balanced cornering. The Peugeot, being a taller car, tends to wallow a bit.
I shall report in more detail after my long drive down south, but it looks like my motorway shunt may have a silver lining after all.
By Jeremy Duckworth
Week ending: August 6
Miles driven this week: 337
I've just borrowed our Mazda 3 long-termer for my weekly jaunt back to Coventry. Coming from our long-term Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai the week before, the Japanese family hatchback had a lot to live up to.
First impressions after climbing into the cabin were that the bland interior did at least feel like it was made from quality materials. The driving position was spot-on with a perfectly positioned armrest, while rear passengers were grateful for the generous legroom and ride quality.
The Mazda 3, while being ever so slightly firm, soaked up the harshest bumps Coventry had to offer, with considerably less judder and more composure than our Car of the Year, the Nissan Qashqai.
However, what I was most looking forward to was sampling the Mazda’s SkyActive engine – and in this respect it proved a disappointment. On a motorway cruise I never saw better than 39.6mpg. Also disappointing was the performance; 118bhp from a modern 2.0-litre motor just isn't enough.
By Aaron Smith