Mazda 3: Company car star?

  • Does our Mazda 3 makes sense as a company car?
  • SkyActiv technology helps to keep CO2 emissions low
  • Smooth ride and standard equipment impress

As over half of new car sales in the UK are accounted for by company car drivers, it seems like a worthy question to ask: does our Mazda 3 make a good company car?

Our long-term Mazda 3 has impressed us so far with its comfortable ride, generous equipment levels and head-turning good looks courtesy of Mazda’s new Kodo design language.

Equipped with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and in the top-of-the-range Sport Nav trim, does this combination make the most sense as a company car choice? We take a closer look to find out.

For starters the Mazda 3 has got some steep competition on its hands with the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf taking the lion’s share of sales. So it needs to have some pretty impressive figures on paper to give it a chance of featuring on a company’s user chooser list.

Although petrol isn’t the favourable choice in fleet, this 2.0-litre petrol emits only 119g/km of CO2 and an official fuel consumption figure of 55.4mpg is pretty good – although on test we are averaging figures in the late 30s so far.

The more powerful 2.2-litre diesel fares much better with an official consumption figure of 78.5mpg. However the diesel is much more expensive with a P11d price of £22,490 versus our long termer's more modest £20,140 price tag.

Unsurprisingly the diesel is better when it comes to CO2 emissions at 107g/km, which means it sits in a 17 percent BIK tax band for the 2014/15 tax year. Our petrol is within the 16 percent banding.

It is worth bearing in mind though that the diesel surcharge (the 3 percent BIK added to diesel cars) will no longer exist for the 2016/17 tax year so the small upper hand petrol has over the diesel will disappear here.

So here comes the important bit, company car tax. Our long-term car will cost you £53.66 a month versus the diesel’s £63.75 monthly tax bill*.

So the petrol is cheaper per month versus the diesel which is good news for company car drivers and dependant on how many miles you drive and the type of journeys you travel, could be the most cost-effective option.

Our test car comes in the top-of-the-range Sport Nav trim and as the name suggests standard kit includes sat-nav as well as numerous comfort features like dual-zone air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, a premium sound system, cruise control, Bluetooth and remote keyless entry, which really make a difference.

That’s a lot of kit for just over £20k and we think our long-termer offers excellent value for money.

Now our car may not be as powerful as the diesel engine but the 2.0-litre engine still offers plenty of pull and can speed away quickly with 118bhp available. It’s quiet and smooth too with the six-speed manual gearbox well-paired to the engine.

On the motorway the Mazda 3 really shines. Its soft suspension, well-weighted steering, numerous storage options and spacious cabin make it comfortable to drive.

So, do we think our long termer is a viable company car choice? The answer is a resounding yes with the caveat that if you travel a lot of miles each year the diesel may be the most cost effective choice.

Don't forget, you can work out your company car tax using the Parkers Company Car Tax Calculator tool.

*Tax costs are based on a 20 percent tax payer for the 2014/15 tax year.