Mazda 3 review - talented family hatch, but lacks sparkle - MPG and running costs

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

Mazda hasn't gone down the road of offering eco-specials in its 3 such as the Golf BlueMotion, nor has it turned to turbocharging to extract the best from petrol engine technology. Instead, it's developed a technological strategy it calls 'SkyActiv', in everything from engines, through gearboxes, to the chassis itself.

SkyActiv technology uses techniques such as direct injection, high compression ratios for petrol models (and low compression ratios in diesels), variable valve timing and special exhaust manifolds to improve efficiency and power. Another example of SkyActiv technology is a clever stop-start system that uses combustion to restart the engine instead of the starting motor, thus saving energy.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

Even so, the Mazda3's efficiency numbers are adequate rather than class-leading. The lowest emissions rating comes from the manual diesel version of the Fastback, at 104g/km, with the hatch not far behind at 107g/km. That at least means a low annual road tax bill for private buyers and relatively low Benefit-In-Kind for company car drivers.

Fuel bills should be kept low too with a combined economy figure of as high as 72.4mpg (or 68.9mpg for the hatch). Fitting the automatic gearbox to the diesel engine (hatch only) considerably worsens things to 127g/km and 58.9mpg so business buyers are likely to stick with the manual.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Retail purchasers are expected to favour petrol power in the Mazda3 and for low mileage drivers the 1.5-litre model should be adequate thanks to a low purchase price and efficiency numbers of 119g/km and 55.4mpg. Saying that, the 118bhp 2.0-litre engine comes with identical emissions and economy ratings when fitted with a manual gearbox. The 163bhp petrol model's 135g/km rating isn't bad for the performance, but it'll not be popular in the UK.

Insurance groups are 13-24 for the 3 and Mazda offers fixed price servicing for three years or 37,500 miles, which can be paid for monthly over that time to spread the costs.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/aston-martin/202217/2020-aston-martin-vantage-roadster-revealed
Aston Martin

2020 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster revealed

Two-seater Aston Martin Vantage Roadster gets a sleek new look and a new roof
12 Feb 2020
Visit/lamborghini/201900/819bhp-lamborghini-aventador-based-v12-hypercar-nears-production
Lamborghini

819bhp Lamborghini Aventador-based V12 hypercar nears production 

Track-only Squadra Corse machine fired up for the first time at Sant’Agata Bolognese factory
11 Feb 2020
Visit/ford/mustang/202231/1969-ford-mustang-mach-1-given-986bhp-twin-turbocharged-v8
Ford Mustang

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 given 986bhp twin-turbocharged V8

A pair of turbochargers and a modern Coyote V8 turn this ’69 Ford Mustang into a near four-figure quarter-mile hero 
13 Feb 2020
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019