Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The fact that the larger Mazda 6 and Skoda Superb both start at around the same price makes it seem pricey, though. True, running costs will be more expensive on those cars and the 3 Saloon tends to be cheaper on a PCP finance deal, but the extra space might be worth it, depending on your needs.
The entry-level SE-L Lux is all you need, with 16in alloy wheels, power-folding door mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, keyless entry, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, two-zone climate control and a head-up display all part of its inventory. That's a lot more than you get with the entry-level A3 Saloon and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé.
Walking up the trim ladder brings more trinkets, but they're not must-haves.
The safety kit is also generous. As standard, you get automatic emergency braking (Mazda calls it smart city brake support), blind-spot 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 response service (eCall). GT Sport Tech, the top trim, adds even more active safety aids.
The Mazda 3 Saloon is also rated highly by Euro NCAP. It gets five stars out of five overall and scored very well for adult and child occupancy protection and pedestrian protection.
Mazda came an impressive eighth out of 30 manufacturers in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey. That puts it above BMW (13th) and Audi (18th), and way above Mercedes-Benz in 22nd. Every 3 Saloon comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is pretty standard for the class, although the Hyundai i30 Saloon beats that with five years of cover.
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