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