Mazda 3 review - talented family hatch, but lacks sparkle - Design

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

The designer of the Mazda3 used to design shoes for a living - true story - and we reckon there's something of the running shoe about the profile of the hatchback model. Squint and it's a little too reminiscent of the current (and lacklustre) Subaru Impreza hatchback for our liking, but in a bright colour, on 18-inch alloys, it does look smart - especially so in Sport Nav specification, where the jewel-like lights help it stand out, preventing it from falling into the age-old Japanese school of bland car design.

Although the Fastback won't find as many buyers as the hatchback we reckon it's the better resolved shape - and it's more aerodynamic too to the benefit of economy, speed and refinement. And viewed from the front, either car is easy on the eye, replicating Mazda's current family look with its five-point grille and slim headlights.

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It's a pity there's no immediate evidence of an MPS version on the way - given the basic shape is already fairly attractive, a hot model to challenge the Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST could look fantastic. Best save up for that BBR package, instead.

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