What alternatives should I consider to a used Mazda 3 hatchback?
The Audi A3 is a bit of a What Car? favourite, and for good reason. It's a premium car, and you'll have to pay a premium for it over a Mazda 3, but it does have excellent driving manners, a classy interior and a class-leading infotainment system.
The Peugeot 308 is an interesting alternative, because it has a very refined engine, a capacious boot and lots of equipment. It has its flaws, though, such as cramped rear seats and an unsettled ride.