What alternatives should I consider to a used Mazda 3 hatchback?
Any Ford Focus will beat a 3 in terms of driver engagement and cornering grip. It's let down by a low-rent interior and clunkier to operate infotainment system, but on the plus side, rear seat accommodation is vast.
A post-facelift Vauxhall Astra is even less expensive to buy than a Mazda 3, but you will have to weigh that up against poorer handling, an infotainment system that's more awkward to use on the move, and worse refinement at speed.
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