Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Mazda 3 - 1st Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Mazda 3 - 1st Report

Date: 10 July 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £18,260
Key rival: Ford Focus

Mazda has high fleet expectations for its new lighter, better screwed together and more aerodynamic, fuel-efficient and CO2-friendly 3.

The company aims to crank up the business car factor from the previous car's 25% of sales to 33%. To achieve its aims the 3 harnesses the platform that will underpin the next-generation Ford Focus while, in the 2.2-litre five-door Sport spec diesel form of our new arrival, undercutting the current Focus nearest equivalent, the 2.0-litre TDCi Zetec, by more than £1000. Despite its muscle, Mazda's 150PS unit also has a quoted 144g/km CO2 rating and 52mpg capability.

Function wins over form in the 3 Sport's muted charcoal cabin [1] and some senior Mazda European design staff agree it lacks the class and tactility of VW Group products, although driving refinement and low interior noise levels knock on the VW Golf's door.

Creature comforts extend to a dual climate control system, outstanding window-flexing Bose sound system, heated seats and invaluable Ford-derived heated windscreen demister.

Curiously, unlike its 150PS petrol counterpart it lacks satnav and rear parking sensors. Metallic paint, our only optional indulgence at £385, is also part of the petrol car's standard kit. That anomaly must relate to providing a competitive fleet-related P11D for the inherently more expensive diesel model.

Our striking red diesel hatchback, with a snout [2] not unlike Renault's Megane, is no poor relation in terms of driving dynamics and both this and the 185PS version are worthy of their Sport badges.

Once warmed up and with the first few miles of diesel intake chatter gone, the extra oomph encourages staying in higher gears longer and exploiting genuinely seamless power delivery from surprisingly low revs.

An initial computed 43.3mpg fuel consumption - although the computer says 46.2mpg - is well shy of the official claimed 52.3mpg figure, and the only issue to report is the brushed aluminium trimmed vents reflecting in the door mirrors [3] on bright sunny days.

Mazda 3 2.2 diesel 150PS
Sport 5-doors 6-speed manual
Claimed combined
52.3 mpg
Our average
43.3 mpg
P11D price£18,260
Model price range£13,500 -£21,500
CO2 (tax) 144g/km/19%
BIK 20/40% per month£58/£116
Service interval12,500mls
Insurancegroup 10E
Boot space (min/max)300/1360 litres
Engine size/power2184cc/150PS
Top speed/0-62mph127mph/9.2secs
Why we’re running itCan it step up to its
class mark like the 6?
PositiveStrong street presence,
refinement and performance
NegativeInadequate spec
compared to petrol