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Long term test: Mazda3 1.6D TS2– on sale now

Mazda

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Review

More than 22,000 units of the Mazda3 have been registered in the UK since it was launched in October 2003.

This year’s sales have exceeded 12,000 units, well on track for its 14,000 year-end target.

Mazda evidently sees this as a fun family hatch, as its TV marketing campaign earlier this year featured a dog cocking its leg up the Mazda3, only to get squirted back by its headlamp washer.

That campaign coincided with a 0% hire purchase finance offer for retail customers which Mazda says has been a strong success. It is currently following that deal with a hefty £1,000 discount on its Mazda3 Sakata special edition.

Although the 1.6D TS2 variant we’re testing is the most expensive of the Mazda3 range, it is one of the most popular with retail and fleet buyers, and it’s easy to see why this is. Overall, it’s a very attractive and well equipped package, and still cheaper than a similarly specified Ford Focus Ghia. The specification is decent, with 16in alloys, six disc CD-changer with steering wheel-mounted controls, automatic climate control and dynamic stability traction control all standard.

At its heart is the frugal MZ-CD 1.6 16v common-rail turbodiesel engine, which Mazda launched last year. It produces peak torque of 177lb-ft at 1,750rpm, so is flexible for town use yet remains adequate for motorway use. Mazda claims a combined fuel economy figure of 56.5mpg.

Our initial use has shown this book figure can’t be far off the mark, and we’d expect consumption to improve further as the engine loosens up with more use.

This car has a low insurance group rating of 5E so is accessible for buyers of all experience. Its list of standard passive and active safety systems is comprehensive, including dual stage airbags, a collapsible steering column and emergency brake assist system.

All this, together with Mazda’s reputation for dependability, will make it an attractive proposition for small families.

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: 5sp manual, fwd
Test Period: October - March
Start mileage: 1442
Mileage now: 1740
Efficiency: 56.5mpg (combined); 135g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £6,175 (40%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £5,350 (34%)
Likes: Economy, low insurance group, well specified
Dislikes: Electric windows are as quick as Arkwright’s till in Open All Hours

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