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

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

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/sports-cars/202115/porsche-ditches-four-cylinder-for-flat-six-in-cayman-and-boxster-gts
sports cars

Porsche ditches four-cylinder for flat-six in Cayman and Boxster GTS

New models eschew turbos with detuned 4-litre from the Spyder and GT4
15 Jan 2020
Visit/toyota/gt-86/202104/toyota-gt86-vs-mazda-mx-5-vs-abarth-124-spider-lightweight-sports-car-shootout
Toyota GT 86

Toyota GT86 vs Mazda MX-5 vs Abarth 124 Spider – lightweight sports car shootout

Three affordable sports cars from Japan and, er, Japan battle it out on the Yorkshire Dales
14 Jan 2020
Visit/news/202119/2020-geneva-motor-show-preview-what-to-expect-from-europes-most-important-auto-show
News

2020 Geneva motor show preview

Electrification will likely dominate proceedings, but Geneva will have plenty of performance metal to get excited about too
17 Jan 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019