Mazda isn’t afraid of a pseudo-premium price positioning these days, and the before-options asking price of our upper-level test car showed as much, being higher than for a 180bhp Ford Focus Ecoboost ST-Line X and very close to a VW Golf 1.5 TSI GT Edition. But Mazda justifies that position by including a great deal of equipment as standard: on a GT Sport model, you get 18in alloys, adaptive LED headlights, heated leather upholstery and a 12-speaker premium audio system to go with your 8.8in touchscreen infotainment system.
The cost of insurance will be relatively high for private buyers – up to six bands higher, in fact, than for like-for-like rivals. But benefit-in-kind tax for company drivers will be appealingly low – up to five bands lower than those same competitors. You would imagine the latter will be a bigger relative draw than the former is an obstacle.
Real-world fuel economy, meanwhile, could go a long way to offsetting any inflated insurance bill, since our test car averaged a very impressive 57.0mpg on our touring economy test, where most cars of the same power output would be unlikely to top 45mpg.