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Mazda 3 (2019–)

Last updated 29 July 2019

 
5
Looks great. Premium interior with excellent standard specification. Skyactiv-X petrol engine likely to be worth waiting for.
Rear seats a bit claustrophobic. Poor rear visibility. Entry-level 2.0-litre petrol feels slow compared to turbocharged rivals.
Updated 29 July 2019
Prices and specifications announced for Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X

Arriving in October, Mazda 3s fitted with this clever engine will start from £23,555 with combined economy of up to 52.3mpg, while at the same time the Mazda3 saloon will make its UK debut powered...

Read more

Introduction

The Mazda 3 has always been an underrated alternative to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. That's especially true of the 2019 model with its eye-catching looks and range of efficient petrol and diesel engines.

The 3's interior is just as easy on the eye as its exterior, with lots of well-finished materials and a simplistic layout. Refreshingly, the (relatively small and thin) infotainment screen sits on top of the dash and is controlled via a rotary controller positioned between the front seats. There's no touchscreen as Mazda says it's too distracting - something many of our readers agree with.

With seats positioned low down, there's loads of room for even the tallest of adults in the front of the Mazda 3. There's a reasonable amount of room in the back, too, but the 3's sloping roofline hinders headroom, while the small rear windows also make things feel slightly claustrophobic. The rear bench is wide enough for three adults, though.

Continuing the driver-focussed theme, the Mazda 3 is as good to drive as the new Ford Focus - and that's saying something. Its communicative steering provides lots of confidence, whether you're tackling city traffic or negotiating winding roads - while the snickety MX-5-like manual gearchange is a delight to use.

Buyers looking for a smooth ride are better opting for the 16-inch alloy wheels which are fitted as standard to the SE and SE-L models, as the 3's slightly unsettled ride around town is emphasised by the 18-inch wheels fitted in Sport guise. The bigger wheels don't make things too uncomfortable, but the difference is noticeable.

The Mazda 3 is offered with a 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces a lowly 122PS, or a 1.8-litre turbodiesel with 116PS. A Skyactiv-X petrol, said to provide diesel efficiency and due late in 2019, is likely to be worth waiting for. 

To overlook the latest Mazda 3 in your search for a sensible family hatchback would be a huge oversight. Its interior is up there with the best - with lots of soft-touch materials and buttons in favour of a huge touchscreen display. It's also practical and great to drive, while the new Skyactiv-X engine sounds very promising.

Mazda 3 2019 prototype road test

Mazda 3 2019 road test

List Price from £20,590
Buy new from £18,073
Contract hire from £184.80 per month
 

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