Mazda 3 Saloon boot

Mazda 3 Saloon review

Costs & verdict

Manufacturer price from:£23,555
Review continues below...

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The 3 Saloon is priced keenly when compared with the Audi A3 Saloon, but the fact that the larger Mazda 6 and Skoda Superb both start at around the same price, makes it seem quite expensive. True, running costs will be more expensive on those cars, and the 3 Saloon is cheaper on a PCP finance deal, but the payoffs for extra space may be worth it, depending on your needs. 

The topic of running costs is where Mazda's Skyactiv-X engine really earns its keep. It officially makes the 3 Saloon capable of 52.3mpg, and our experience suggests more than 40mpg is easily achievable. The 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the larger Skoda Superb records 42.8mpg and 120g/km, while benefit-in-kind business tax rates start at 28% for the Skoda but an impressive 23% for the Mazda. 

Mazda is relatively generous with standard equipment, including adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and heated front seats. There’s also the comprehensive infotainment system mentioned earlier. However, we’d recommend mid-range GT Sport trim, because it adds front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control and a 12-speaker Bose surround sound system. 

Mazda as a brand didn’t fare too well in our 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, ranking 17th out of 31 manufacturers. Still, that’s ahead of both Audi and Mercedes. Every 3 Saloon comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is pretty standard for the class, although there’s nothing that compares with the seven-year cover you get with the Kia Optima.

All versions of the 3 Saloon come packed with safety kit. As standard, you get automatic emergency braking (Mazda calls this smart city brake support) blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and a system that alerts you to traffic crossing your path when you’re reversing. On top of that, you get traffic sign recognition and an emergency call service (eCall). 

It’s just a shame you have to go for range-topping GT Sport Tech trim for active cruise control and front cross-traffic monitoring, as well as for a driver attention monitor system that issues a warning if it senses your mind wandering from driving. 

The 3 hatchback received the full five stars in its 2019 Euro NCAP safety tests, scoring particularly highly for adult occupant safety and well in the other areas.

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Mazda 3 Saloon driving
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The Mazda 3 Saloon comes very well equipped, with a seriously premium-feeling interior. If you’re a company car driver and will benefit from the clean and economic Skyactiv-X engine, it’s worth your consideration. However, cheaper and roomier rivals, such as the Skoda Superb, are a better shout.

  • Efficient petrol engine
  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Plenty of standard kit
  • Average handling
  • Boot not very practical shape
  • Diesel rivals are similarly efficient