Mazda 3 Fastback preview

  • Attractive new range of compact saloons
  • High levels of equipment and active safety
  • Economical, low emission engine range

The Mazda3 Fastback is the Japanese firm’s interpretation of a re-emerging trend for taking a hatchback and turning it into a booted saloon.

Its rivals include the Audi A3 saloon and the Mercedes-Benz CLA, and it’s likely the majority will be sold in markets such as the USA or China, where historically hatchback cars don’t sell as well as saloons.

Although it shares its wheelbase with the five-door model, the Fastback is 120mm longer and slightly more aerodynamic.

Four engines on offer

There’s a quartet of engines available, including three petrol-powered units and a single diesel one. All are fitted with Mazda’s 'i-stop' stop/start system and 'i-ELOOP', which is a brake energy regeneration system.

A 1.5-litre petrol sits at the bottom of the range, offering fuel economy of 56.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 118g/km. It develops 98bhp and is coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Next up is the 2.0-litre petrol, which is available with either 118bhp or 163bhp. The former returns a claimed 55.3mpg and 119g/km with the manual gearbox or 50.4mpg and 129g/km in six-speed automatic guise.

The latter, high-power engine will be capable of a claimed 47.8mpg and 135g/km of CO2, which represents a 14% improvement over the previous car’s efficiency. Not bad when you consider that power has increased by 10% at the same time.

For company car drivers, or those looking for the lowest possible road tax and the best fuel economy, the diesel engine is the way to go. Delivering 148bhp and 380Nm of pulling power at 1,800rpm, the 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel is capable of fuel economy of up to 72.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km, which means very low tax bills.

More practical than ever

The Fastback is 40mm wider and 15mm lower than the current Mazda3, with a wider boot opening meaning larger loads can be accommodated. The boot’s capacity has been extended to 419 litres, and the opening is big enough for three 67cm suitcases to be loaded.

Parkers will be among the first to drive the new saloon, so check back soon for our full Mazda3 Fastback review.