For The Mazda 3 is available with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines. It’s also fun to drive and relatively good value, and all models are decently equipped.
Against The petrol engines aren’t turbocharged, so they need to be worked hard if you want to make brisk progress. The Mazda 3 isn’t as refined as some of its rivals, either – there’s plenty of wind and road noise on the motorway.
What Car? says
The Mazda 3 isn’t far adrift from the best in class. It’s stylish, good to drive, well equipped and relatively cheap to buy and run.
What Car? readers say
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There are 13 Mazda 3 versions available
Target Price team says:
The Mazda 3 is attractively priced, undercutting big-name rivals, including the VW Golf, by a big chunk. Resale values should also be strong, while road tax and insurance costs are competitive.
Go for the 118bhp 2.0-litre petrol if you’re a private buyer – it’s much cheaper than the diesel. True, this engine isn’t turbocharged, so you have to rev it pretty hard when you’re in a hurry, but it’s always smooth.
The 3 also appeals to company drivers, thanks to its relatively low CO2 emissions – especially when you factor in how powerful the engines are. That said, it’s a shame there isn’t a super-low CO2 diesel model to compete with the likes of the VW Golf Bluemotion.
Most buyers will be best off sticking with entry-level SE trim, not least because this retains a big price gap between the Mazda and classier, more complete rivals such as the Audi A3 Sportback.