From £14,805
Beautifully refined engine in a comfortable and highly competent car.

Our Verdict

Mazda 3 2009-2012

The Mazda 3 hatchback is superbly refined and a more competitive package now previous faults are fixed

  • First Drive

    Mazda 3 2.2D 185 Sport

    Mid-life revisions improve the Mazda 3’s dynamics and reduce NVH still further, but the 2.2 diesel lacks sparkle
  • First Drive

    Mazda 3 MPS BBR 320

    Brackley-based tuning specialist BBR has a long history of working with Mazda’s MX-5, and the firm has now launched a three-stage tuning programme for the 3 MPS
11 April 2007

What is it?

Mazda’s Ford Focus-sized (and to some extent Focus-based) 3 hatchback, now fitted with the 141bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine already used in the 5 and 6.

It comes in two trim levels: TS2 for £16,730, and the Sport version we tried.

What’s it like?

Refined. This isn’t the most powerful 2.0-litre turbodiesel on the market, but it’s one of the smoothest. It also never feels wanting for thrust, the 266lb ft of torque surging through from just 2000rpm.

Even when cold, the engine is never clattery. It builds revs smoothly, and will happily pull from 1000rpm in sixth, should you wish to behave like a minicab driver.

The chassis and brakes have also been uprated to cope with the extra power, but don’t be fooled by the ‘Sport’ moniker: it’s a trim level. Chuck it into a corner too hard and the body will roll, but it grips gamely. There’s the expected safety margin of understeer, but it doesn’t feel nose-heavy. The ride is excellent: comfortable and compliant.

In top Sport trim, you also get plenty of goodies: climate control, a six-disc Bose CD audio system, cruise control, 17in alloys and xenon lights.

Should I buy one?

We’d be tempted. It’s not hugely cheap, but next to an equivalent Golf it looks very reasonable. This is a car that you could grow to depend on.

Rory Lumsdon

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK