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



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AM’s long-term Mazda3 is too modest: while its computer claims a fuel efficiency of around 30mpg, actual consumption was a more impressive 45mpg.

That’s still behind the book figure of 56.5mpg – though by common consent, official combined figures are not ‘real world’ – but with 5,104 miles on the clock the engine is getting nicely worn in. We’d expect efficiency to improve further in the coming weeks.

The Mazda3 is a fine family car. It has sufficient space for four people and plenty of luggage while the 1.6 diesel engine has ample power for 90% of tasks (occasionally falling short on uphill overtaking manoeuvres).

And, as already mentioned, it offers ‘real world’ efficiency, particularly on long haul cruising, at a time when fuel prices are escalating.

Inside, the dashboard layout is logical, the switches simple to use and everything is within easy reach. The driving position is excellent and while the overall experience is solid rather than exceptional, it will please most people who come for a test drive.

With additional equipment, our Mazda3 is priced at £15,750, but, like-for-like, the £14,950 starting price for the 1.6D TS2 compares favourably with 4dr saloon rivals like the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi (£16,270), Renault Megane 1.5 dCi (£14,530 without alloys) and Volvo S40 1.6D (£17,270 includes traction control).

However, there’s a lack of 1.6-litre diesel saloon rivals in the UK, underlining the public’s historical lack of appetite for four-doors, especially oil burners. That’s a shame as the four-door Mazda3’s shapely rump makes the car, in our opinion, better looking than the hatchback.

Overall, a great everyday car.

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, fwd
Test Period: October-March
Start mileage: 1,442
Mileage now: 3,497
Efficiency: 56.5mpg (combined); 135g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £6,175 (40%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £5,350 (34%)
Faults: None
Likes: Smooth, spacious, diesel performance
Dislikes: Nothing worth noting

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