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Mazda 3 Review – Sport Nav 2-litre 165ps

A great family hatchback that's fun to drive and packed full of tech


When we lowered the fold-flat rear seats to make use of the greater 1263-litre capacity, we found we could slide our 5ft 2in-long bundle of camera track straight in to it, which we really didn’t expect. Of course, a larger car such as the Mazda6 Sports Tourer
or the excellent Mazda CX-5 would be a better buy if you need to ferry large, bulky items regularly, but we reckon the Mazda 3 would suit most families’ needs.

Mazda3 Boot


The 165ps 2-litre Sport Nav hatchback that we drove is in insurance group 22E, although the range starts off in group 13E with the 1.5-litre SE model. The on-the-road price of our car at the time of testing was £23,050, but you can get the 100ps 1.5-litre model for an on-the-road price of £16,695. That isn’t bad considering the kit you get as standard, but you should go for one of the 2-litre petrol engines or the 150ps diesel engine. We think you should get at least the SE-L Nav trim, but it’s well worth going for the Sport Nav trim, if only for the head-up display.

A Mazda 3 with the 120ps 2-litre petrol engine would be appear to be the best option, and it’s the model that’s expected to sell the best. We’d still recommend paying more for the 150ps diesel or 165ps petrol engine, though. The 120ps petrol engine doesn’t have the grunt we demand regardless of gear, which makes pulling out of junctions and even gentle overtaking riskier than we’d like. Once you get to 5th gear there’s very little push left at all.

We think the 150ps diesel is the better engine for most people. It has similar performance to the 165ps 2-litre petrol engine but should provide much better fuel economy. Even so, there’s a lot of fun to be had with the 165ps petrol engine.

Mazda3 Front Elevated

We didn’t expect to like the SkyActiv Mazda 3 and tried hard to find fault with it, yet our few complaints are mere nitpicking. With its multiple USB ports, internet connectivity, head-up display and excellent keyless entry and ignition system the Mazda 3 genuinely feels like a 21st century car. Its generous amounts of space and comfort make it a great family hatchback. We certainly prefer it over the non-RS Renault Clio models, and would possibly choose it over the iconic Ford Focus. Get in contact with your nearest Mazda dealer to book a test drive.

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