Mazda3 2.0 186ps GT

Sport

Mazda3, 2023, front
Mazda3, 2023, front
Mazda3, 2023, side, action
Mazda3, 2023, side
Mazda3, 2023, tail
Mazda3, 2023, nose
Mazda3, 2023, rear, action
Mazda3, 2023, interior

WITH a new, smoother, sportier design, the fourth-generation Mazda3 is certainly a good-looking stylish car, especially so for a family hatchback.

It's aggressive styling has obviously been designed to look fast and powerful while standing still - and it succeeds.

It also had a majorly repackaged interior, new technology and driver assistance features, and the GT Sport model is certainly great fun to drive as well - something often seemingly incompatible with being a family hatchback.

However, it's name is soon to disappear. For 2024, Mazda is introducing a new trim range. The GT Sport is most closely aligned with the new Exclusive-line trim.

There's no difference in looks and luckily it still come with the punchy

It is fitted with the brand's183bhp 2.0-litre SkyActiv-X powerplant, which uses a clever combination of supercharging and compression ignition to deliver more performance without sacrificing fuel economy. It develops 240Nm of torque which is plenty for a car of this size. There's also 24v mild-hybrid technologyto further boost overall efficiency.

The slick, six-speed, short throw manual gearbox is an absolute joy to use, adding to that feeling that this was built for drivers.

Set low in the car, the driving position is excellent with the power-adjusted black leather seats offering plenty of support and comfort, and there's plenty of steering wheel adjustment too.

As a ‘driver's car', the cabins wraps itself around you with all the important controls within easy reach.

The eye-level, centrally mounted, colour infotainment screen is being upgraded from 8.8-inches to 10.25-inches in 2024 models, can be easily and safely operated by a rotary dial behind the gearstick. There's also full smartphone integration ain case you'd prefer to use that. Wireless charging and USB Type-C charging ports are also new for 2024.

The cabin is a classy space to be too. Build quality is great and the materials used - plenty of nice soft touch surfaces - are top-notch.

Because of the swept-back roofline, less impressive is the rear seat accommodation, which is probably best left to children and shorter adults, and even they might find the legroom a little restrictive.

Plus, there's just 351 litres of boot space. The rear bench folds, with a 60/40 split, to make up to 1,022 litres available.

Other equipment includes a head-up display, front and back sensors, a rear-view camera, auto lights, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, dual-zone air conditioning, heated steering wheel and a splendiferous 12-speaker Bose surround-sound system.

As for the driving, it's very enjoyable. Its steering, acceleration and braking are all very responsive and the suspension and chassis set-up soaks up all but the very largest of potholes.

By family hatchback standards, it is extremely composed and responsive on turn-in, which can be put down to standard G-Vectoring technology, which detects wheel lock and reduces engine torque as necessary, shifting weight onto the front axle and pushing the nose of the car into the tarmac.

Importantly for a family hatchback, the Mazda3 was awarded a full five-star rating by industry safety body Euro NCAP, achieving an impressive 98 per cent score for adult occupants and 87 per cent for child occupants. This puts it among the very safest family cars on sale.

FAST FACTS

Mazda3 2.0 186ps GT Sport

Price:£29,565

Mechanical: 183bhp, 1,998cc, mild-hybrid petrol engine driving front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:134 mph

0-62mph: 8.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 53.3

Insurance Group:22

C02 emissions:121g/km

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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