Welcome to the Parkers Mazda 3 portal page. If you are looking to buy or lease and want to know more before deciding, you’re in the right place. You’ll find expert reviews, cars for sale and the latest lease deals.
What is the Mazda 3?
The Mazda 3 is a five-door family hatchback that, uniquely, is also offered as a four-door saloon called ‘Fastback’ (but not as a five-door estate). Now in its fourth generation, it rivals the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and others.
This latest model was introduced in 2019 and is the most sophisticated 3 yet – and priced accordingly. Mazda is bypassing the entry-level sector and even the basic version now costs more than £20,000. ‘Think overall value’, it says, not just cheap lead-in prices. At launch, engine choice is limited to a single petrol and diesel, but an advanced spark-controlled compression injection (a ‘two-in-one’ diesel and petrol) will become available: this engine is a world-first. It also uses the latest evolution of the company’s Kodo design language, with side panels carefully crafted to play with the light.
- Top-speed: 119-122mph
- 0-62mph: 10.3-12.1 seconds
- Fuel economy: 42.2-56.5mpg
- Emissions: 107-128g/km CO2
- Boot space: 358 litres
Which versions of the Mazda 3 are available?
The launch line-up for the 2019 Mazda 3 is straightforward in terms of engine choice: pick from either a 122hp 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol or a 116hp 1.8-litre Skyactiv-D diesel. Each is available either as a six-speed manual or automatic. The petrol engine has a standard 48v mild hybrid system called M Hybrid; the diesel goes without.
There are five trim levels, ranging from entry-level SE-L through SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech. The exciting addition to the engine range comes later in 2019, with the launch of the Skyactiv-X powerplant.
Until the introduction of the Skyactiv-X engine, which is expected to produce around 185hp, there is no authentic Mazda 3 performance variant. Buyers can, however, get a model that looks more sporting than many rivals by choosing one of the three sport grades. These all have 18-inch dark grey alloy wheels (regular 16-inch silver wheels are standard), dark rear glass and striking LED rear lights.
The stage is set for a higher-performance Mazda 3 derivative; we just need the Skyactiv-X engine to make it complete.
Mazda 3 styling and engineering
Mazda’s latest Kodo design evolution uses sculpted body panels that play with the light. The designers wanted it to appear ‘alive’ when on the move, and it’s a striking effect when you first see it, particularly in one of the premium paint colours. A coupe-like rear end gives it a sporty appearance (and poor rear visibility), while meticulous attention to detail makes the car look almost like a premium class contender. The interior finish of the new Mazda 3 is to a very high standard, too.
A much-improved infotainment system, with a wider screen and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is a welcome advance. The engineering underneath is based around the Mazda Skyactiv chassis, an all-new design that’s stiffer and safer than before. It also allowed Mazda to integrate the 48v mild hybrid system within the chassis, so the lithium-ion batteries don’t encroach on boot space. This engine also has cylinder deactivation, saving fuel when cruising.
How does the Mazda 3 drive?
The new Mazda 3 is a class act to drive. It is sophisticated and upmarket, with a good feel to controls and tactile, precise feedback. The ride is supple at low speed and handling is faithful, while the snappy six-speed manual gearbox is a delight (it’s far better than the disappointing, soggy automatic).
The weakness at the moment is the engine range. The 2.0-litre petrol is OK, and the mild hybrid system helps give a better response at lower revs. Nonetheless, its meek power output and lack of a turbo means it lacks oomph at speed. Drivers will find themselves changing gear more than in rivals to maintain progress. The 1.8-litre diesel is a bit gruff, spoiling the latest Mazda 3’s otherwise very impressive refinement, but it is more relaxing on the move thanks to greater pulling power. On-paper performance is similar on both engines, but the diesel feels more effortless in practice.
How much does the Mazda 3 cost?
As mentioned, Mazda is bypassing the entry-level market with the latest 3. The basic car, an SE-L, costs £20,595 as a 2.0-litre petrol; an automatic is £1,300 more and the 1.8-litre SE-L diesel is £22,395. Buyers get an extremely comprehensive level of standard equipment for this, though. Radar cruise control, a head-up display, LED headlights and sat nav are all standard. The only option across the range is metallic paint. SE-L Lux is £1,100 more and the Sport Lux costs from £22,795. The current top-spec Mazda 3, a GT Sport auto diesel, is almost £28,000 and we expect the range to creep above £30,000 when Skyactiv-X arrives.
Mazda 3 Model History
Current generation Mazda 3 model history
February 2019 - orders open for May deliveries of the 3 in SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech trims with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, both available with manual and automatic transmissions.
Third-generation Mazda 3 (2013-2018)
The third Mazda 3, launched in 2013, was the first to be built on the firm’s own Skyactiv chassis engineering technology, rather than a Ford-derived platform. It was extremely aerodynamic and more distinctive than previous models, and available either as a five-door hatchback or four-door saloon.
The engine line-up was now all-Mazda, with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol motors plus a 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel. Mazda no longer offered a high-performance petrol turbo version, though.
Second-generation Mazda 3 (2008-2013)
The second generation Mazda 3 was a more sophisticated evolution of the original, with edgier styling and a more substantial appearance. It was again offered as a hatchback or saloon; Mazda has never offered an estate variant.
The architecture was an upgraded version of the previous car, rather than an all-new chassis, which meant that engines were largely carried over as well. Mazda continued to offer the high performance MPS version. Later diesel versions included stop-start to cut CO2 emissions.
First-generation Mazda 3 (2003-2008)
The original Mazda 3 was launched in 2003 and derived from a platform also used by the Ford Focus. There was a broad range of engines, with 2.0-litre petrol and diesel models proving popular, and the range crowned by a thrilling 260hp 2.3-litre turbo MPS variant. It was available in five-door hatchback and four-door saloon guise.