Mazda 3

Mazda 3 review

Cost & verdict
Review continues below...

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Mazda 3 hatchback running costs

The 3 is fairly keenly priced compared with, say, the VW Golf but rivals like the Octavia and Astra are both cheaper. All of the engines (both petrols and diesels) are very efficient given how powerful they are, and the 1.5 diesel is a good option for company car buyers since it offers sub-100g/km emissions and low company car tax. Private buyers are likely to be better off going for the 2.2-litre diesel, as it’s a justifiable three-figure jump in price given the extra performance on offer.

We haven't yet verified Mazda's claims about the 3's real-world fuel economy. However, the larger Mazda 6 fitted with the same 148bhp 2.2-litre engine averaged an impressive 47.3mpg, so chances are the 3 will get close to 50mpg.

If you're buying privately, expect your 3 to depreciate at about the same rate as an equivalent Skoda Octavia. Mazda's PCP finance deals aren't the most attractive around they're good enough.

Mazda 3 hatchback equipment

Entry-level SE editions get a generous standard kit list, which includes 16in alloys, air-conditioning, electric windows all round and a auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Stepping up to SE-L gets you dual-zone climate control, automatic xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors.

SE and SE-L are both also available as SE Nav and SE-L Nav, which add satellite navigation to the abilities of the infotainment system. The upgrade isn't that cheap, though, so you'll need to be sure you need integrated navigation before stumping up the extra.

The range-topping trim level is called Sport Nav; it brings larger alloy wheels (18in), front parking sensors and keyless entry, although you'll still have to pay extra if you want leather seats.

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 hatchback reliability

This version of the Mazda 3 wasn’t included in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but the previous model was rated above average for mechanical reliability.

Mazda also has a strong reputation as a brand for durability; it finished 10th in our most recent reliability survey, just behind Ford but ahead of Nissan, Fiat and Citroen.

Every new 3 comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which doesn’t compare well with Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited-mile offering on the i30, but matches similar offerings from most other manufacturers.

Mazda 3 hatchback safety and security

All versions of the 3 come with six airbags, stability control and a tyre pressure-monitoring system. The 3 also achieved a maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring almost identical marks as the rival Skoda Octavia for adult, child and pedestrain safety. It's disappointing that entry-level SE and SE Nav trims aren't available with automatic emergency braking, although this does at least come as standard on every other trim.

The 3 gets deadlocks and an alarm as standard, and it received the maximum five stars from security experts Thatcham for resisting theft. It also scored four out of five for guarding against being broken into.

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The Mazda 3 is an also-ran in the fiercely competitive family car class

  • Plenty of kit
  • Should prove dependable
  • Real-world fuel economy
  • Not that great to drive
  • Noisy compared with rivals
  • So-so interior quality