By the end of 2015, the Mazda3 will be the oldest model in Mazda UK’s new car range. Yet that is not to be seen as a negative – the family hatchback will actually have been in the UK market for just under two years.
During that time, the Mazda3 has won plenty of plaudits – a Red Dot Award for product design; the best small hatchback trophy in the 2014 UK Car of the Year Awards; second place in the World Car of the Year Awards; and the best family car trophy at the 2014 Scottish Car of the Year Awards.
It is easy to understand why. A focal point of the new Mazda3 is its styling, which conforms to the brand’s ‘KODO Design’ ethic of combining ‘muscular’ looks with an elegant demeanour. Beneath the styling lies a lightweight body and finely tuned chassis that combine to make the Mazda3 a great dynamic drive.
Mazda’s dealers can honestly tell their customers that a little of the magic from the MX-5 sports car has rubbed off on the 3, and as long as the test drive isn’t a 10-minute spin around the block, the customer will feel it. That test drive is crucial. My colleagues at AM have suggested that this 120PS Skyactiv-G derivative of the Mazda3 is underpowered. Having spent a few weeks driving it, I don’t agree.
It certainly makes sense that any customer who enters a Mazda showroom desperate for high performance should be guided towards the 165PS Skyactiv-G version, or even the 150PS 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D bi-turbo diesel if they want low-down torque and 0-62mph in almost eight seconds. But the 120PS version on AM’s long term test fleet is perfectly suited to the majority of private buyers, especially those with children, and when they want to put their foot down it is barely a second slower in the same 0-62mph sprint.
The challenge sales executives may face is convincing customers used to driving a turbodiesel or small capacity turbocharged petrol car where peak torque is available at low revs that they should take this Mazda3’s engine past 4,000rpm and on towards the 6,300rpm redline before each gear change for this car to show its maximum capabilities.
What’s been said about the Mazda3
For someone who wants to stand out from the usual crowd of VW Golfs and Vauxhall Astras, the Mazda3 is a great choice. It offers all the impressive quality of rivals like the Golf, plus it has strong engines and excellent driving dynamics, making it easy to recommend.
Loads of value and quality that would make any family feel happy. A little big shot.