Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: Mazda 3 - 14th report
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Our Fleet Test Drive: Mazda 3 - 14th report

Date: 04 November 2014   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

After six months and approaching 8000 miles with our Mazda 3, its all-round competence continues to impress, but as with any long-term relationship relatively minor flaws persistently irritate.

Inside the well-finished cabin, featuring tasteful leather stitching and nicely weighted switchgear, the prominent infotainment screen is a permanent fixture, which cannot be retracted or relegated to zero-distraction blackout mode at night.

Secondly, while the bevelled rotary control between the front seats is logical and intuitive, the TomTom-based satnav stubbornly refuses to input certain postcodes, however exhaustively you manipulate the system.

For high-mileage business drivers a good in-car entertainment system is more than a luxury, and the Mazda's sound quality is excellent, but DAB is lacking. However, drivers who cling on to CDs can enjoy an old-fashioned disc player.

The final operational driving quirk involves daytime running lights switching off when the handbrake is applied in traffic and illuminating again as you release it, although perhaps that's because it is linked to the energy-saving stop-start system.

One unqualified asset is that those with custody of small children and/or dogs benefit from an easy-to-operate button on the electronic key control that isolates the interior volumetric alarm, so the car remains secure, and windows open, without the occupants triggering horn alerts.