What is it?
The current Mazda 3 only launched in 2009, but with the number of able rivals in the C-segment, it was easily overlooked. The latest revisions seek to play the Focus and Golf at their own game by improving the 3’s already-impressive dynamics.
Key to these improvements is what Mazda calls ‘Toitsukan’, which describes a consistent and linear feel. That might sounds like marketing doublespeak, but there’s truth in it. The 3 is easy to drive smoothly, with nicely weighted and keen steering, well damped suspension and the best gearshift in its class.
Mazda has tweaked the electric-hydraulic power steering and MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems. Combined with improved torsional stiffness and new damping settings, the dynamics are nearer the class best than ever. Although the second-generation Mazda 3 was always a refined car, particularly with a diesel powertrain, the facelift has brought further NVH improvements.
What’s it like?
The slightly revised high-power 2.2-litre diesel develops 188bhp, but needs to be pushed to get the best from it. With a 0-62mph of 8.2secs – a second less than the 148bhp version of the same engine – the difference is noticeable.