AM Online

Long term: Mazda3 1.6D TS2 - on sale now



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The Mazda3 is a bit like a really comfy pair of shoes – it doesn’t matter how long it is since you last wore them, you instantly feel right at home.

This isn’t a car that requires any forethought – you just get in and drive. No looking for concealed instruments, every-thing is clear and just where you’d expect it to be.

It’s nicely put together and has a quality feel about it. All materials feel as though they will prove durable over time.

The driving position can easily be tailored to suit any sized driver, with rake and reach adjustment for the steering wheel and supportive, highly adjustable seats.

Five-speed gearbox is precise and the engine revs freely; acceleration feels quick and the whole driving experience is very smooth. There are quieter cars on the market, but the wind noise is not so overwhelming as to get annoying. Noise from the diesel engine is hardly noticeable.

It’s veered towards the sportier side of family motoring, so the ride is quite firm but by no means uncomfortable. Long drives, especially on motorways, are a breeze.

The car has a contemporary look both inside and out. It’s a positive thing to be driving a c-sector car that doesn’t blend into the background.

Mazda has an excellent reputation for reliability, and we can see no hint that the 3 is going to change this.

The 3 is the Japanese carmaker’s biggest seller, so there should be plenty about on the used market. Residual values look to be pretty strong, so they’ll make a useful addition to any forecourt.

Our diesel version was average on fuel consumption, but better than average when you consider the performance feel to the gearing.

Not one member of the AM team had any qualms about driving the Mazda3 and, in fact, it will be sorely missed.

Price: £15,750
Engine: 1.6-litre, 16V, common rail turbodiesel; 107bhp @ 4,000rpm; 177lb ft @ 1,750rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 11.5sec; top speed: 113mph
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Test Period: October-March
Start mileage: 1,442
Mileage now: 8,012
Efficiency: 56.5mpg (combined); 135g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £6,175 (40%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £5,350 (34%)
Faults: None
Likes: Comfortable and easy to drive
Dislikes: Nothing to speak of

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