2019 Mazda 3 review - verdict

With a new look, new mechanicals and plenty of new technology, the 2019 Mazda 3 is gunning for honours in the family car class...

2019 Mazda 3 Cornering Front

The 3 finally feels like the car it should have been all along, offering buyers a genuinely accomplished alternative to the likes of the Focus and Golf.

And yet we’re not quite convinced that this is the right time to buy one. You see, while it handles convincingly, is beautifully screwed together and comes with a generous amount of standard kit, we suspect it will be even better with the Skyactiv-X petrol engine that's due to arrive later this year.

With 179bhp, over the relatively puny 120bhp of the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G, this should offer up much better performance without a significant fuel economy penalty.

What Car? rating 4/5

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Mazda 3 Skyactiv-G GT Sport Tech specification

Price £25,495 Engine 4cyl, 1998cc, petrol Power 120bhp at 6000rpm Torque 157lb ft at 4000rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual 0-60mph 10.4sec Top speed 122mph Economy 45.0mpg CO2 142g/km

Top 10 family cars the new Mazda 3 has to beat

10. BMW i3

The BMW i3 is an electric family car that uses super-light carbonfibre and aluminium to offset the weight of the battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, while a smart interior and great handling add further to its appeal.

In addition to the fully electric model, BMW offers a range-extender version with a two-cylinder petrol engine that acts as a generator to prevent the car's batteries from running flat.

Read our full BMW i3 review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

9. BMW 1 Series

A more conventional option from BMW is the 1 Series, which offers a strong combination of performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

It’s still a little unusual in that it sends its power to the rear wheels rather than the fronts, but this makes it entertaining to drive, and ride comfort is also good.

Read our full BMW 1 Series review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

8. Honda Civic

Used Honda Civic 17-present

The latest Honda Civic is good to drive and has plenty of space inside for your family and their luggage. Add to that an impressive array of standard safety equipment and it's easy to recommend as an all-rounder.

We'd recommend teaming the frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine with mid-range SR trim for the best combination of economy and equipment.