Mazda 3 review - talented family hatch, but lacks sparkle - Interior and tech

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

While the Mazda3's cabin isn't quite as polished an environment as, say, the Volkswagen Golf's, it is massively better than its predecessor's, both in terms of soft-touch tactility and design. Though it is quite a sombre cabin unless you specify beige leather upholstery.

Nonetheless, it's thoroughly modern in its design and technology used. It was the first Mazda to use the new generation MZD Connect infotainment system, featuring a stylish colour display screen high up on the dashboard (it's a touchscreen interface, but one you don't have to use), an easy to work rotary control, extra information read-outs in the main instruments and even a head-up display feature.

Crucially for the modern buyer it interfaces seamlessly with smartphones and its functionality can be extended further depending on apps installed on the connected phone. The layout is neat too - the seats comfortable, the driving environment sporty (some models place the rev counter front and centre, like it is on an MX-5) and a simple layout that keeps distracting buttons to a minimum.

In terms of interior space, the Mazda3 is better than average for the class, despite a reduction in height for this model in comparison to its predecessor. The boot is a bit smaller than the Golf's (364- vs. 380 litres) in the conventional Mazda3 hatchback, but the 'Fastback' model - effectively a stylish take on the four-door saloon genre - swallows a considerable 419 litres of luggage.

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