Mazda 3 review - talented family hatch, but lacks sparkle - Engine and gearbox

Mazda's C-segment contender should be taken seriously

Evo rating
Price
from £17,095
  • Good refinement, space, tech and diesel engine
  • Question mark about residual values, base models not so attractive

Going against the grain of the C-segment a little, Mazda's petrol engines for the 3 are not turbocharged, the Japanese company sticking with natural aspiration and instead upping capacity. It reckons that other fuel-saving measures help maintain competitiveness in terms of efficiency.

So there are 1.5- and 2.0-litre petrol options, both four-cylinder units. The 1.5 produces 99bhp and a modest 111lb ft of torque and it's mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox. The 2.0-litre can be had in 118- or 163bhp guises, both producing 155lb ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is optional with the lower-powered version.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

It's worth noting that renowned Mazda tuning firm BBR has already announced a tuning package for the 118bhp petrol car, lifting its output to as much as 185bhp with a new engine chip, exhaust manifold, induction system and sports exhaust.

Maximum power is developed at 6300rpm and there's more torque too, with 173lb ft at 4000rpm and a spread of 150lb ft between 3000-6500rpm. It still won't match the best hot hatchbacks, but it should endow the 3 with extra pep in its step. And at a little more than £2000 on the already well-priced 3, it could be a fun (and naturally-aspirated) alternative to the current hot hatch crop.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The best standard engine in the line-up is the 2.2-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel, which can be paired with either manual or automatic transmissions - both with six ratios. Peak outputs are 148bhp at 4500rpm and 280lb ft of torque at 1800rpm. All Mazda3s send their power to the front wheels.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/news/22743/gordon-murray-automotive-t50-revealed-the-real-mclaren-f1-successor
News

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 revealed – the real McLaren F1 successor

Gordon Murray’s T.50 is the pinnacle of supercar engineering on the eve of an electrified future
4 Aug 2020
Visit/ferrari/202963/ferrari-roma-2020-review-a-new-take-on-the-italian-gt
Ferrari

Ferrari Roma 2020 review – a new take on the Italian GT

Direct, engaging handling and superb ride quality, plus strong performance: the sharp-suited Roma nails its GT brief
5 Aug 2020
Visit/features/202947/bmw-m3-gts-vs-mini-gp-vs-renault-sport-megane-r26r
Features

BMW M3 GTS vs Mini GP vs Renault Sport Mégane R26.R

You could spend £250,000 on a 700bhp hardcore machine, but is there just as much fun to be had – if not more – with less power and for less outlay?
1 Aug 2020
Visit/ford/202957/mountune-ford-focus-rs-m520-2020-review-less-hot-hatch-more-throwback-to-group-b
Ford Focus RS

Mountune Ford Focus RS M520 2020 review – less hot hatch, more Group B throwback

The idea of a 500-horse Focus won’t be for everyone, but for the rest it’s a glorious dose of internal combustion madness
31 Jul 2020