Mazda 3 hatchback driving position
Drivers of all shapes and sizes should have no problem getting comfortable behind the wheel of the 3. There's a good range of adjustment in the seat, and the steering wheel moves in and out as well as up and down. Adjustable lumbar support is standard on the driver's seat too, even on the cheapest trims, while the centrally mounted armrest can be used by both front occupants.
All of the major controls are within easy reach and the dashboard is fairly logically, so you won't be flummoxed every time to try to tweak the air-conditioning.
Mazda 3 hatchback visibility
It's easy enough to see out of the windscreen of the 3; the top of the dashboard isn't particularly high, and mounting the side mirrors on the doors instead of at the base of the front pillars has allowed Mazda to improve visibility out of the bottom corner of the screen.
The view out of the back is a different story, though; the glass is fairly narrow, so you may find it difficult to judge the rear extremities when you're reversing. All bar entry-level models come rear parking sensors to help mitigate this, while range-topping Sport Nav models gain have front sensors and even a reversing camera.
Mazda 3 hatchback infotainment
Even the entry-level SE models get a clear, centrally mounted 7.0in display. The system is easy to use and quick to respond – and it's surprising how quickly you learn to use it, especially when using the rotary controller between the front seats (it can also be used as a touchscreen).
SE trim also gets you Bluetooth and app integration that can use your mobile phone's data connection to access internet radio, Facebook and Twitter. All the trim levels badged ‘Nav’ get satellite navigation, as you’d expect, which is easy to use and gives clear directions.
All trim levels feature a CD player and a DAB radio as standard, although it's a pity there's no option to add Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Sound quality is also acceptable rather than great.
Mazda 3 hatchback build quality
Perceived quality hasn’t always been Mazda’s strongest suit, but the 3 isn't a bad effort. There are dense, soft-touch plastics on most of the dashboard, and smart enough finishes and flourishes of chrome in the right places. In fact, only the lower section of the centre console lets the side down; it feels a little bit lightweight and flimsy.
All of the switches feel pretty solid, and the controls you touch regularly, such as the ventilation dials, and the indicator and light stalks, are nicely weighted. That said, rivals such as the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia are classier inside.