Mazda 3 (2019) Review

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Mazda 3 (2019) At A Glance

Rating:

Looks great. Premium interior with excellent standard specification. Fun to drive with excellent manual and automatic gearboxes.

Rear seats a bit claustrophobic. Poor rear visibility. Entry-level 2.0-litre petrol feels slow compared to turbocharged rivals. Diesel axed in 2019.

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, premium interior and generous amount of standard equipment.

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 was initially offered with a 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces a lowly 122PS, or a 1.8-litre turbodiesel with 116PS. The diesel was dropped late in 2019, replaced by a clever Skyactiv-X petrol engine which is said to provide diesel-like economy.

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 fairly practical and represents very good value for money.

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Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

What have we been asked about the Mazda 3 (2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can you recommend a good diesel car for motorway journeys?

I’m considering changing our 2009 Ford Focus 1.8, which is still running well with 70,000 miles on the clock. It’s used as the second family car mainly for local journeys of 15 to 20 miles but we also use it for long motorway trips. My only dislike about the Focus is that it requires revs in excess of 4000 to cruise along motorways and, for this reason, I’m considering changing to a diesel. We like the Honda Civic, Mazda 3 the diesel Focus. I'd appreciate your comments on any models you think I should consider.
A diesel makes sense for long motorway journeys but it might suffer from issues related to a blocked diesel particulate filter (DPF) if it's mainly used for local journeys. If you do buy a diesel, make sure you regularly drive it on the motorway for a good half an hour or so to clear out the DPF. All the cars you've mentioned are good options. We'd also recommend a Skoda Octavia - it's a very practical choice and represents good value for money.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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What does a Mazda 3 (2019) cost?

Buy new from £18,726 (list price from £21,840)
Contract hire from £201.60 per month
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