We have been running our Mazda3 for just under four months and it has consistently been one of the vehicles of choice when we have needed to drive long distances.
Having used various other test cars over the past month, it was really pleasant to get back into the 3.
The family hatchback, which is the mid-sized model in the Japanese brand’s range, is comfortable and spacious: credentials that make for a bearable road trip, whether that’s for fun or for work.
Our belief that the 1.5-litre petrol model feels vastly underpowered remains the case, but it gets you where you need to be comfortably and economically. We are averaging a very respectable 48mpg.
Globally, Mazda’s overall vehicle sales were up by 5% to 1,003,000 units for the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to 2013/14, led by a 16% increase to 125,000 in Europe.
The manufacturer expects to reach the 1.4 million mark worldwide for the full fiscal year, ending on March 31.
New-generation vehicles have fuelled the growth, with models like the CX-5 and 3 leading the way.
In the UK last year, the manufacturer registered 9,174 Mazda3s (3,500 up on 2013). Of these, 6,736 went into the retail market, with the remaining 2,438 going to fleets.
To maintain the sales momentum, Mazda has put in place competitive finance offers which are currently running until March, including a 0% PCP agreement with zero deposit.
PCPs are becoming more and more popular with more customers living in a ‘direct debit’ world.
It is considered normal to have a mobile phone contract for a fee each month, where the phone is free as part of a pay-monthly contract, but if you were buying outright it would be an indulgence, with some smartphones costing more than £500. It is now becoming more popular to have a car which you pay for in the same way.