What’s new: Mazda’s 3 2.0 Sport has been improved by the addition of a new 6-speed box, more sound insulation and some rear suspension tweaks.

Excellent: Sharing the talented underpinnings with sister car the Focus, the Sport offers sharp handling, a snappy gearchange and a raspy 150PS 2.0-litre engine.

Good: Speedo graphics light up red on a translucent cool blue background at night. Opting for the Sport trim brings a pair of bright xenon lamps and a powerful Bose stereo.

Average: Performance is only sparkling – the 3 Sport lags far behind most hot hatches. Suspension struggles to suppress the bumps giving rise to a fidgety ride. A Focus 2.0-litre has a better handling/ride compromise.

Poor: With a CPM of 30.1ppm, we’d be more tempted by other quicker offerings. The Seat Leon FR produces 200PS, costs only 0.4ppm more, £56 more to lease and slots into the 25% tax banding despite sprinting to 60mph in 7.1secs v 9.1.

Verdict: Worth considering but there are faster ‘real’ hot hatches out there for similar money.