Mazda 3 long-term test review: report 7

Mazda's new family hatchback combines groundbreaking engine tech with the promise of driver engagement. We're trying it out...

Mazda 3 long-term

The car Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactiv-X MHEV Sport Lux  Run by Kris Culmer, special contributor

Why it’s here To prove that Mazda's new petrol engine technology really works and discover whether the 3 can now truly challenge premium-brand family hatchbacks

Needs to Achieve diesel-challenging economy; have an interior and driving experience that make you feel special; be practical enough for a family of four

Mileage 9025 List price £25,575 Target Price £24,049 Price as tested £26,365 Test economy 47.1mpg Official economy 48.7mpg

27 May – Mazda or Mercedes?

I never thought I would say this, but I’m bitterly missing my daily drives to and from work. The inability to drive is made even more frustrating by the fact that I’ve lost the last three months with the best and fanciest car I’ve ever run.

That might surprise you, because it’s a Mazda 3. Is Mazda a premium brand? Certainly it’s not one that has historical prestige, like Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz, but over the past few years, the quality of its design has at last matched the quality of its engineering. 

The interior of the 3 is highly impressive, especially considered against its predecessor. The steering wheel is soft and finely made, and this stitched, soft-touch material continues on the central arm rest and a large swathe across the dashboard. It’s joined by high-quality plastics everywhere you’re likely to touch and a gloss black panel atop the centre console that’s very attractive, if rather susceptible to hairline scratches.

Mazda 3 air-con controls

It’s certainly a massive step up from the likes of the Ford Focus; in fact, the only family hatchback that feels fancier inside is the Audi A3, with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class close behind.

How much are you going to have to pay for this, though? Is it really palatable to spend more on a Mazda than an equivalent Mercedes? Well, most people take out a PCP finance deal, so let’s use that to compare.

2019 Mercedes A-Class

My 3, in mid-range trim with the pricier of the two petrol engines, has a monthly Target PCP price of £210, with you placing a 15% deposit for 48 months with a 3.9% APR. That’s £15 per month more than the entry-level version: easily worth it. 

As for the A-Class, the closest equivalent is the less powerful (161bhp to 178bhp) A200, which will be £235 per month with the same deposit and term but a 5.9% APR. Even the most basic A-Class is currently £207 per month. 

As good as the A-Class is and despite the difference in impressions of your success the Mazda and Mercedes badges may create, I wouldn’t think twice.

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