What's the used Mazda 3 like?
If you want a good, dependable family hatchback that isn’t one of the the usual suspects, chances are your search will eventually lead you to the door of a Mazda 3.
When it was new, buyers appreciated the 3’s sporty looks, not to mention the fact that it wasn’t the usual Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. As a used buy, it also makes sense as it’s good value, and it doesn’t cost the earth to run, either.
The 3’s low-speed ride is firm, however, and verges on being uncomfortable. As speed increases, things smooth out only slightly, but there is excellent body control, as well as bags of grip, which makes it pretty good fun to drive. The steering is very responsive, too, but it’s also overly light at speed, a combination that makes the car feel twitchy in a bend.
Inside, you get chunky controls for the stereo and heater, both of which come with snazzy flashing lights, and everything you touch feels sturdy. The dashboard isn't all that appealing, though, with hard dashboard plastics letting things down, and it’s a shame there are so many buttons on the dash and steering wheel.
The 3 is roomy enough to seat four six-footers in comfort. Access to the rear can be a little tricky, though – the gap at the bottom of the doors makes it a bit of a squeeze to get your feet inside, and shoulder space is rather tight, too. The good-sized boot is well shaped, though, and the 60/40 split rear seats fold to make an almost flat extended load floor.