The Mazda3 tends to be the neglected sibling in the brand’s range: the 2 and the 6 having attention heaped on them for being a scrappage champion and an important player in the fleet market respectively, with the 6 gaining a healthy 6% segment share across all markets.
But the 3 has always been an attractive car for someone looking for a reliable alternative to the Ford/Vauxhall mainstream, Mazda insists.
The new 2.2-litre diesel range in the Mazda3 (and the 6) has boosted its appeal in retail and fleet because it offers a more exhilarating drive while being frugal on fuel use and tight on emission levels. The new engine adds a further twist to the exclusivity of the car.
The irony is that more people are cottoning on to this appeal: year-on-year sales to May have increased 14.8% to 12,177. Segment share for the Mazda3 is 2.83%.
Along with a sense of exclusivity comes enthusiasts and in this day and age that means a community on cyberspace. You can find one for this car at mazda3forums.co.uk.
Advice passing back and forth in this virtual world include factors to consider when buying one. A couple of mentions are made of corrosion around the centre cap of the alloys, uneven wear on tyres and ‘funny, slidey noises behind the dash’ which the poster suggests is connected to the DSC, but without effecting it.
The moderator then gives this piece of advice: “The car is probably one of the most reliable around and has a very good reputation for being comfortable and easy to drive.
“Servicing is affordable. However, like any manufacturer you get both good and not so good dealerships. If you have more than one in your area then it would pay you to compare.” Another thread on the site allows users to pass comment on dealer-ship experiences.
Mazda’s focus on its dealers selling new models on personal contract purchase finance offers is evident with the 3: a 3.9% APR over two years and a 5.9% over three years with a £1,000 deposit or a 0% deal over two or three years if the buyer puts up 50% deposit. The TS, Takuya and Sport models are also being sold with free Driveaway insurance. The price excludes metallic paint.
The Consumer view
The new 3 follows the family trait for bold, athletic and well proportioned design. Parked by the Golf, our Sport model seems far more dynamic. While there’s no denying the VW’s understated solidity, the Mazda is one of the best-looking cars in the class.
Be in no doubt, the Mazda3 captures the essence of Mazda’s core principles better than any mainstream car the Japanese manufacturer has produced.