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Mazda3

THREE-STYLE (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

The Mazda3 is a car that has underachieved. The latest version looks set to comprehensively rectify that issue. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 60

You need real talent to succeed in the family hatchback sector these days, particularly if you want to make up ground on cars as good as Ford's Focus and Volkswagen's Golf. Does the fourth generation Mazda3 have exactly that? The signs are good: eye-catching looks, cutting-edge engines and one of the best cabins in the segment number amongst the highlights.

Backgroundword count: 112

The development engineer who led up the project to create this car, Kota Beppu, says the MK4 version of this Mazda3 will appeal to 'free spirits'. The sort of person perhaps who might want something stylish and interesting in this class but doesn't want quality or engineering compromises. Think of a car of this type as good to drive as a Ford Focus, as good inside as a Volkswagen Golf and as good to look at as an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. That's what Mazda was aiming at. So many other brands have started out in this sector with similar objectives but we can't help wondering whether this Mazda hasn't nailed them here.

Driving Experienceword count: 231

Mazda is offering a choice of three engines. Most sales will be based around either a 122PS 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol unit (now a mild hybrid) or a conventional 1.8-litre 116ps Skyactiv-D diesel. The third option is the brand's more advanced Skyactiv-X Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine, a 182PS supercharged unit which runs on petrol but uses a combination of spark ignition and compression ignition to deliver, Mazda claims, the driver appeal of a petrol unit along with the fuel efficiency and torque of a diesel. This Skyactiv-X powerplant is able to switch from compression ignition, which best suits day-to-day driving, to a form of spark ignition, generally when the engine is started from cold or the driver demands maximum power at high revs. The 'X' engine comes paired with four wheel drive for our market, but as you might expect, the cost of all this technology makes it a pricey choice. Most UK customers will choose the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G variant, though the diesel is also worth a look. That Skyactiv-D black pump derivative makes 62mph from rest in 10.3s en route to 121mph. Mazda has put a great deal of effort in developing the sharp driving dynamics that characterised the previous generation model, though a relatively porky kerb weight - 1,350kgs even in the 1.8-litre petrol version, doesn't help here, nor does it really fit with the whole 'Skyactiv' 'less-is-more' ethos.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62 mph (s):

8.1

12.1

Combined mpg:

48.7

74.3

CO2 (g/km):

99

135

Extra urban mpg:

58.9

80.7

Height (mm):

1465

Insurance group:

17

24

... and 7 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Compact Family Cars

Performance
70%
Handling
80%
Comfort
70%
Space
40%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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