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Used test: Hyundai i30 vs Mazda 3 vs Skoda Octavia verdict

Fancy a family car for just £8000? Buying used can put one of these three on your driveway for a fraction of the price of a new one. But which is the best of the lot?...

Used test: Hyundai i30 vs Mazda 3 vs Skoda Octavia

Our verdict 

If you were to buy a used Mazda 3 of this generation we doubt you’d be disappointed. It’s economical, well-equipped and gets a good, easy-to-use infotainment system. However, it comes third in this test, as it can’t quite provide the same levels of comfort, performance and handling as our other two contenders. 

The Hyundai i30 takes second place. Its strong engine and good grip put it above the 3, while its lesser amount of kit and space on offer – compared with our winner – places it below the number one spot. 

So, it's the Skoda Octavia that reigns supreme. It offers levels of practicality and comfort neither rival can match, plus it’s the quietest and most balanced car here on the road. It's our pick of the bunch. 

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1st – Skoda Octavia

New Hyundai i30 & Skoda Octavia vs Mazda 3

For Huge inside; punchy engine; best ride and handling balance; quietest cruiser
Against Suspension noise; body roll in corners

New Hyundai i30 & Skoda Octavia vs Mazda 3

For Strong engine; fine driving position; safety kit
Against Stingy kit list; least rear leg room

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Read our full used Hyundai i30 review >>

Find a used Hyundai i30 for sale >>

3rd – Mazda 3

New Hyundai i30 & Skoda Octavia vs Mazda 3

For Lots of standard kit; good infotainment system; economical
Against Ride and handling; noisy; low-rent interior

What Car? rating 3 stars out of 5

Read our full used Mazda 3 review >>

Find a used Mazda 3 for sale >>

Specifications: Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi 140 SE Nav

Engine size 1.4-litre petrol
Power 138bhp
Torque 178lb ft
0-60mph 8.6sec
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 52.3mpg official average)
CO2 emissions 124g/km

Specifications: Mazda 3 2.0 120 Sport Nav

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol
Power 118bhp
Torque 155lb ft
0-60mph 9.9sec
Top speed 123mph
Fuel economy 55.4mpg (official average)
CO2 emissions 119g/km 

Specifications: Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI 150 SE L 

Engine size 1.4-litre 
Power 148bhp
Torque 184lb ft
0-60mph 8.7sec
Top speed 136mph
Fuel economy 54.3mpg (official average)
CO2 emissions 121g/km