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Get a load of this: plan a trip in the all-new Mazda3

It might be a sleek and sporty-looking hatchback, but the all-new Mazda3 is also spacious and comfortable enough to be the ideal long-distance companion

Words By What Car? team

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There’s nothing like a road trip. Sure, a plane will get you farther in less time, and you can nod off or multi-task on the train, but the freedom that comes with throwing a bag in the boot and hitting the highway is second to none.

The all-new Mazda3 is the perfect tool for the job. Sleek looks, punchy SKYACTIV engines and sharp handling aside, it has one of the roomiest cabins in its class and the boot can swallow more than its fair share of gear.

Teeing off
If it’s just a weekend game of golf you’re after then the boot is ample. Even if you’re going mob-handed and the seats are full of sporting pals, each with their own set of clubs, the all-new Mazda3 Hatchback’s boot will swallow 364 litres of clobber. The four-door Fastback version can handle even more with its 419-litre boot, the opening for which has been widened by 100mm over the previous model to make lugging clubs, bags and any other kit all the easier.

If you’re going further afield then that’s no problem either, because the all-new Mazda3 has grown: the Hatchback is 5mm longer and 40mm wider than the previous model – but the crucial bit is the wheelbase, which is 60mm longer and has freed up class-leading levels of front and rear shoulder room, along with heaps of leg and headroom, even though the roof is 15mm lower. In short, it’s likely to keep your passengers quiet on long journeys.

Not every road-trip demands a car full of people, though. You might well be travelling solo or as a couple hitting the road for a holiday – and that’s when passenger space morphs into more room for bags. Fold down the rear seats and you’re looking at a lofty 1,263-litre loading area – 18 litres up on the previous model. The floor is also completely flat with the back chairs folded down, so there’s less fear of loose cargo bunching up by the tailgate and erupting all over you when you open the boot.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
You’ve packed your bags, you’ve filled the boot and you’re ready to hit the road… or are you? Even with a top all-rounder like the all-new Mazda3 as your transport of choice, a little preparation goes a long way before tackling a leggy drive.

All new Mazdas come with a three-year or 60,000-mile manufacturer warranty and their reputation for reliability is legendary. Even so, it’s still worth checking a car’s vitals before you set off, such as the tyre tread and pressure along with oil, radiator coolant, clutch, brake and washer fluid levels. If they’re all where they should be and there are no warning lights showing on the dials, then you’re looking good.

Once you’re rolling, it’s worth stopping at least every two hours to stretch your legs and freshen up. Plan your pit-stops before you leave and they’ll break up the drive and keep you relaxed and alert – and give you a good excuse to veer off the beaten track and find somewhere more interesting (and with better food) than your average motorway service station.

Go for a version of the all-new Mazda3 with the word β€˜Nav’ in its title and you’ll get the benefits of an advanced satellite navigation system with highly accurate live traffic data to help you dodge snarl-ups before you end up in them. Even if you know the route like the back of your hand, an early heads-up about a traffic jam will never go amiss.

Make it last
The all-new Mazda3 is one of the most economical cars in its class, with combined fuel consumption of up to 72.4mpg available from the 150ps SKYACTIV-D Diesel Manual Fastback model, so you won’t be hunting for petrol stations too often even on trips with three-figure mileages.

It’s still worth making your fuel go as far as possible, though, so sticking with as high a gear as is practical, particularly on a motorway or A-road cruise, will ease the movement of your fuel gauge. Read the road as far ahead as possible and slow down or accelerate gradually and you’ll not only conserve fuel but you’re also likely to spot hazards earlier – and there’ll be less wear on your brakes, tyres and other consumables, so everyone’s a winner.

Experience the all-new Mazda3 for yourself: download a brochure here, and book a test-drive here.

For more information on the all-new Mazda3, visit www.mazda.co.uk

See our latest offers here: http://www.mazda.co.uk/offers/mazda3/

Retail sales only, subject to vehicle availability for vehicles registered between 01.10.14 and 31.12.14 at participating dealers. T&Cs apply. 0% finance available on all all-new Mazda3 models. *You will not own the vehicle until all payments are made. Finance subject to status, 18s or over. Guarantee/indemnity may be required. Mazda Financial Services RH1 1SR.