It's surprising what you can fit in the boot, if you're determined
Darren Moss
22 September 2016

I’ve just finished redecorating my flat, which on the surface wouldn’t have much to do with our Mazda 3 Fastback.

Until, that is, you consider how much rubbish redecorating generates. There’s old furniture, carpet offcuts, paint tins and assorted other related detritus that all need to be taken to the recycling centre.

In a regular family hatchback, you get a large opening because the entire rear of the car forms the bootlid, but in a saloon like the 3 Fastback, the opening is a lot smaller. Thankfully, though, the boot is relatively versatile. You can drop the rear seats by pulling handy toggles from inside the boot, rather than fiddling with levers on the seats themselves – useful when you’re struggling with the remnants of a skirting board.

The amount of boot space in the 3 Fastback is 419 litres with all five seats in place – 55 litres more than in the regular hatch – but the space isn’t as usable as in the hatchback because of that narrow opening. I did eventually get everything in, but not without considerable jostling.

I’m also discovering how to get the most from the 1.5-litre diesel motor. I’ve already noted that it doesn’t feel particularly sporty, and the throttle response can be soft, but I’ve found that keeping the revs slightly higher than normal (say, above 2000rpm) avoids the bogged-down feeling lower down the range before the turbocharger has had a chance to catch up. It’s still proving to be economical, too, as we’re averaging more than 56mpg in normal driving.

When I took the 3 for its first major motorway run, a 180-mile round trip to my home town in Northamptonshire, I was impressed with the engine’s refinement. Even under load, its noise doesn’t really penetrate the cabin. That said, it can feel a little gutless when overtaking at higher speeds and a downshift is usually necessary.

One feature of the interior I really like is the infotainment system. Most of the time it can be controlled via a rotary dial on the centre console, but it’s also a touchscreen, making tasks like inputting a postcode in the nav or tapping out a phone number much easier. Little touches like these are endearing the car to me already.

MAZDA 3 1.5 DIESEL SPORT NAV FASTBACK

List price £21,945 Price as tested £22,605 Economy 56.7mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 3.8.16

Read our previous report here

Our Verdict

Mazda 3
The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

Mazda's SkyActiv revolution hits the family hatchback class

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Comments
7

jer

22 September 2016
That is so true and tapping in post codes far faster than using a dial. So why does every autocar and every other review prefer the dial input of other manufacturers? Post code input is far and away the most used function.

22 September 2016
True the boot is less practical, but in fastback form the '3' looks so much better, kudos for Mazda for continuing to plug a segment (C segment saloons) when most - even Ford - have abandoned it (travel to Ireland and you'll see Focus, Astra, Corolla and Megane saloons)

22 September 2016
For a mere £1,600 (7%'ish more) you could have the an A3 Saloon with a 150hp engine rated at 60 mpg. OK you don't get any bling other than the stuff you need but you'll get the money back when you sell it and have a lot more fun in the meantime for only a few hundred extra on fuel. Just my choice in this market I don't need people to tell me it's not sensible

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

22 September 2016
xxxx wrote:

For a mere £1,600 (7%'ish more) you could have the an A3 Saloon with a 150hp engine rated at 60 mpg. OK you don't get any bling other than the stuff you need but you'll get the money back when you sell it and have a lot more fun in the meantime for only a few hundred extra on fuel. Just my choice in this market I don't need people to tell me it's not sensible

Think the price difference is more than that! A a3 manual S-line is 24995 with discounts, the mazda 19564 (using broadspeed adding red paint to mazda keeping free white paint for audi).

Agree the mazda will depreciate more but thats over £5k difference to start with before we even talk about finance (currently 0% on mazda).

22 September 2016
gazza5 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

For a mere £1,600 (7%'ish more) you could have the an A3 Saloon with a 150hp engine rated at 60 mpg. OK you don't get any bling other than the stuff you need but you'll get the money back when you sell it and have a lot more fun in the meantime for only a few hundred extra on fuel. Just my choice in this market I don't need people to tell me it's not sensible

Think the price difference is more than that! A a3 manual S-line is 24995 with discounts, the mazda 19564 (using broadspeed adding red paint to mazda keeping free white paint for audi).

Agree the mazda will depreciate more but thats over £5k difference to start with before we even talk about finance (currently 0% on mazda).

I did say the base line A3 Saloon, the S-Line is the next model up. The base model is the Sport.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

22 September 2016
I did say the base line A3 Saloon, the S-Line is the next model up. The base model is the Sport.[/quote]

Even so - still 23100 for a poor spec audi still thick end of 3k + - audi, merc and bmw are both starting to depreciate rapidly due to so many cars for sale. The residual value on a sport spec audi isn't great.

22 September 2016
gazza5 wrote:

I did say the base line A3 Saloon, the S-Line is the next model up. The base model is the Sport.

Even so - still 23100 for a poor spec audi still thick end of 3k + - audi, merc and bmw are both starting to depreciate rapidly due to so many cars for sale. The residual value on a sport spec audi isn't great.[/quote]
It's £2,290, not the thick end of £3,000 +, and the residual value would take care of most of that. The Diesel version is only £100 extra by the way

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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