Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Mazda 3 Saloon's 2.0-litre e-Skyactiv X petrol is different to most of its rivals’ engines, producing its 184bhp by combining the best aspects of petrol and diesel engine technology.
Mazda says it behaves like a sporty petrol engine when you need lots of acceleration, then at cruising speeds uses diesel-style compression ignition to reduce the car's fuel consumption. There's also a tiny supercharger, which is there to increase efficiency rather than power.
The Mazda 3 Saloon's suspension set-up is quite firm and doesn’t smother ridges on motorways or potholes around town nearly as well as the Mercedes A-Class Saloon or A4. On the plus side, it’s well tied down, so you and your passengers won't be bounced out of the seats on rolling country roads.
In the dry, it's also grippy enough (less so in the wet) and there’s not too much body lean. The steering is quite slow but pleasingly weighted, with sufficient heft that you feel connected to the wheels and can corner precisely.