Which used Mazda 3 hatchback should I buy?
Pick from four engines - three petrols, plus a diesel - and four trims. There's no one model to avoid, but the 1.6 petrol delivers the best trade-off between power and ownership costs.
The smallest motor is a 1.4 that's willing but needs to be worked hard, while the 2.0 is quick but noisy, and brings with it an electro-hydraulic power steering system, which feels more nervous than the purely hydraulic version on the 1.6. The diesel is economical, but sluggish.
You can also choose between this five-door hatch and a saloon, but we far prefer the hatch - and, besides, the saloon only sells in tiny numbers, so there are precious few on the used market.
Trims run from the entry S, through TS, TS2 and Sport. The S lacks the air-con and alloy wheels fitted to the rest, so we'd go for the TS to get these. This model is so well kitted out - with four airbags, anti-lock brakes, full electrics and a CD player - that we wouldn't bother with those higher in the range.