Mazda3 - Used Car

Review

Mazda3, front, action
Mazda3, side
Mazda3, rear
Mazda3, interior
Mazda3, rear seats
Mazda3, hatchback, boot

MAZDA has had an excellent reliability record from its earliest days of sales in this country and while some of those early cars left something to be desired in the driving, the latest models are brilliant all round.

The ‘3' medium hatch has been the company's biggest seller for some years and the latest model launched in 2013 is the best yet, with great looks, excellent safety and a top driving experience.

There are five door hatch and four door fastback models to choose from, and all feature the company's Skyactiv technology, which brings light weight from innovative build techniques. This helps towards good economy and low emissions as well as excellent safety and good performance.

All have a very comfortable ride even in town and over rough roads at speed, and they also hold the road brilliantly with excellent grip, good balance and informative steering.

There is a choice of three petrol engines and two diesels. The petrol range starts with a 1.5-litre that has 98bhp, and next up is a 2.0-litre with 120.

The range topper - only available in more expensive models - is the same 2.0-litre but now with 165bhp - and this one is a real stormer with a delicious soundtrack.

In fact all the petrol engines sound good and are very willing and free revving.

The diesel choices are a 1.5 with 105bhp and the same 2.2 litre used in other models from the range with 150. These could be the best choices for business drivers, and even the 1.5d offers better than average performance for the size.

Economy is very good - helped by the lightweight construction - so the 1.5d average is 74mpg while the 2.0-litre 120bhp petrol is capable of 55.

Trim levels are SE, SE-L and Sport, each of which has a Nav model alongside with standard - and very good - sat nav.

Top models also get active safety including automatic city braking, lane departure warning, auto high beam lights and radar controlled cruise.

All have a large display screen at the top of the centre console that's controlled by a rotary wheel, plus an internet connection and top models also have a head up display for speed and optional leather trim.

Pay about £7,250 for a '13 13-reg 2.0 SE petrol, or £9,900 for a '15 15-reg 1.5 SE-L diesel.

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