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10 things we learned about the Mazda 3 this week

Date: 17 June 2016   |   Author: Alisdair Suttie

Category: Lower medium
Key rival: VW Jetta
Model tested: 2.2 D Sport Nav
Price as tested: £22,795

Can the Mazda 3 in small saloon form make a case for itself over the hatchback version, asks Al Suttie?

1 - Nearly £23,000 is a fair whack for a small saloon with a very niche appeal, but this Mazda is very well equipped.

2 - As well as the 18-inch alloys, rear privacy glass and sat-nav, you get a reversing camera, but oddly no leather upholstery.

3 - As a saloon, the boot is not as easily extended but it's more generous with the seats up, offering a useful 55-litres more space.

4 - You certainly don't notice the loss of hatch practicality from the spacious rear seats, which are more accommodating than most in this sector.

5 - It's a classy looker, the 3, and several onlooker mistakenly thought it was a 6, so job done there for Mazda's stylists.

6 - Behind the wheel, it's no different to the hatch and offers comfort, quality and a top notch driving position.

7 - There is a blind spot over the drivers left shoulder due to the rear pillar, but it's not a deal breaker.

8 - What might tip the balance for some will be how well the Mazda drives. It's a real pleasure on any type of road.

9 - Excellent steering feel and response shows Mazda's philosophy of making all cars perform well is paying off.

10 - The 2.2 D is smooth and rapid, but it's hard to argue against opting for the more efficient 1.5 diesel.