The new Mazda 3 is a perfect fit for enthusiasts. Its blend of brisk performance and energetic handling will be deal-clinchers for Mazda regulars who like to get a bit more but pay a bit less, and those buyers will be delighted with the economy, practicality and style also on offer.
This is a car that deserves to bring new customers to the brand. But road testing a car for a week often leaves you with a different perspective than living with it for several years might – and we have to account for that gap here.
The best of the Mazda 3’s rivals manage to wrap their driver reward in a blanket of compliance and refinement, and the Mazda’s equivalent blanket is a bit thin.
The 3’s cabin is also a conservative, slightly mundane place, and too ordinary to land blows on the competition at the highest level.
Much as we like it, that’s why the Mazda 3 fails to infiltrate our family hatch top three, but it deserves a four-star recommendation all the same.
Many will appreciate its ride, ergonomics and straightforward A-to-B effectiveness. And many will enjoy this Mazda's style, too.