New Mazda3, sporty hatch that's practical

Hugh Maguire: is impressed with the Mazda3

New Mazda3, sporty hatch that's practical

The 3 is an important car for Mazda as it represents the bulk of their sales in Ireland.

The all new Mazda3 is a rather nice car indeed and I have been road testing the 5-door hatchback version in the GT Sport version.

It's a model that adds a touch of sportiness to a car that also proves practical and good to live with.

Prices for the all-new Mazda3 start at €26,295

So has it any street cred?

Well the style is certainly a winner! My test car was finished in Polymetal grey with matching alloy wheels which gave it a somewhat individual look.

The long wheelbase, short overhangs, and solid proportions give the car a dynamic profile. This Mazda3 stands out from the crowd.

What’s it like inside?

Slip inside and you will immediately notice the quality of trim and cabin fittings.

The dashboard is a model of clarity and good design.

The driver is confronted with a sporty looking instrument panel with a HUD (Head Up Display) and a centre console that is both functional and elegant.

I like the centrally located information screen for audio and climate settings.

The new Mazda3 is pretty well equipped, with multiple airbags, ABS with EBD, alloy wheels, bluetooth, cruise control, remote locking with alarm, power windows, Blind spot recognition, Apple car play, Alarm, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, and heated electric mirrors.

The GT Sport model adds full leather trim, Heated front seats, Adaptive lighting, Rear camera, Parking sensors, 12 speaker Bose sound system, 18” grey alloys, Heated steering wheel, and Auto dimming mirror with auto lights and wipers.

There’s more but I’m out of space here!

What’s under the bonnet?

This model is powered by a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder petrol developing some 122 PS with Mazda Sky Active technology and mated to a very slick new 6-speed gearbox it really performs well overall though I felt for a 2.0 litre it could have a bit more punch. It feels detuned for economy.

On the economy side it is impressive burning on average during my test only around 6.9 litres per 100km. Road tax is just €200.00 for the year.

What is it like to drive?

The new Mazda3 feels taut and well balanced even on poorer road surfaces.

The well weighted steering gives the driver plenty of feed back as to just what the front wheels are doing.

The handling is a fine balance between giving the driver some feedback and involvement but offering the passengers a decent level of ride comfort.

Mazda seem to have gotten the balance just right.

In short I found this a fun car to drive, something lacking in many of its class competitors.

Verdict

Overall I really liked the new Mazda3.

Despite its compact dimensions and coupe like profile it offers reasonable room for four adults and it has a good level of practicality with a decent load area.

It's very well equipped even in base model form but particularly so in this GT Sport model and it has a bit of style and a presence on the road.

The GT Sport costs €31,495 and comes highly recommended if you are seeking a 5-door hatchback that offers the driver a bit more involvement than the average rival.