The Mazda 3 is the firm's long-standing rival to the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra – but this generation takes a different approach from all of its rivals. Instead of following the trend for downsizing engines and installing small turbocharged petrol motors, Mazda has come up with radical non-turbocharged units. When combined with lightweight construction techniques, they deliver promising CO2 and fuel economy figures. The diesel models (which are turbocharged) look even more efficient.
For the 3 to succeed, though, it must deliver on more than just fuel efficiency; Mazda has reworked the cabin in a bid to match the European rivals on perceived quality, with a neat dashboard layout and a large central infotainment display that's standard across the range.