What's the used Mazda 3 like?
In a sea of strait-laced, one-style-fits-all family hatchbacks, the swoopy lines of the Mazda 3 do mark it out among its rivals. There’s even a big, bold grille on its snout to give it some genuine rear-view mirror presence.
But it isn’t all looks with the Mazda 3; there is genuine substance underneath its skin. The interior has a pleasingly uncluttered layout and the controls you come into contact with regularly, such as the air conditioning dials and the indicator stalks, all have a nice weight to them, suggesting this car has engineering integrity behind it.
It also has a very easy to navigate infotainment system, complete with a 7.0in touchscreen on top of the dashboard, and a rotary dial – with shortcut buttons on the centre console between the driver and front passenger’s seats. You learn how to operate it very easily, which is impressive because some systems can be quite distracting. Any model specification with ‘Nav’ at the end means the car has sat-nav. As you would expect, it is just as easy to use as the infotainment system, although it isn’t quite as good as the system you will find in the Audi A3.
Interior space is good in the Mazda 3, with three being able to fit across the rear bench, although they wouldn’t want to spend all day back there. Leg room is fine, too, certainly on a par for the class. The boot opening is narrower than it is in some rivals, so if you need to load a pushchair into the back, it may be a good idea to take it along with you to find out if it fits.
On the downside, the Mazda 3 isn’t the most refined of hatchbacks, with a noticeable amount of tyre noise coming into the cabin when on the move, accompanied by wind noise while cruising at motorway speeds. The diesels are also a bit louder than you will find in the likes of the Peugeot 308.
The Mazda 3 doesn’t drive as well as rivals such as the Seat Leon, which is more composed in corners than the Mazda. Plus, the Leon’s steering has greater consistency to its weighting, meaning you will be more confident driving the Seat than the Mazda.
However, if you are after a family hatchback that offers good fuel economy, plenty of equipment and a friendly infotainment system, then the Mazda 3 should be worth your consideration.