Mazda 3 visits the Peak District

  • We take our Mazda 3 long termer to the Peak District
  • The petrol engine copes well with hilly roads
  • Our test car proves to be an excellent all-rounder

It’s usually January 1 which prompts most of us to start thinking about being healthier, however after a busy summer of partying hard here in the UK and on hen weekends in Ibiza and Marbella, I found myself in desperate need of a bit of a detox.

So for our first ‘healthy’ weekend away me and my partner decided to head up North to go on a seven-mile circular walk around the beautiful countryside of the Peak District around Chatsworth House and Birchen Edge, finished off with a relaxing overnight stay at a nearby Spa.

It also provided a great opportunity to see how our long-term Mazda 3 deals with trickier terrains away from the flat landscape of Cambridgeshire.

So our bags were packed and stowed away in the Mazda 3’s boot with ease and we were ready to go.

Our destination was a good 100 miles down the road which consisted of plenty of motorway travel, country roads and hilly descents.

In the office we’ve all been impressed with our Mazda 3’s comfort levels and on the motorway this is highlighted even more. The smooth engine and comfortable seats make motorway travel a real pleasure and the practical storage options around the car mean you have a home for your coffee and bacon butty when you stop at the services en route... not that we were eating much bacon on our detox!

The cruise control is also very intuitive and there is plenty of leg and headroom available to stretch out when you stop in traffic.

Once off the A1 the roads started to get more twisty and narrow as we journeyed into the Peak District. Our long-termer is paired with a 2-litre petrol engine which has 118bhp available, a top speed of 121mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.9 seconds.

On the whole our Mazda 3 did very well across a variety of terrains, only faltering slightly on more challenging hills when we needed to change down a gear or two to access more oomph.

Around the bends and tight junctions there's lots of grip available to keep the Mazda 3 stuck to the tarmac with virtually no bodyroll produced in the corners either. The steering is well-weighted too, and the car's compact dimensions mean tigher country lanes were no issue either.  

So overall we was impressed with our long-termer's performance. That said, if you live in places like the Peak District or Snowden and your faced with steep inclines everyday on your commute then you may want to consider the higher-powered 163bhp version of this engine available for around £1,000 more, or the 2.2-litre diesel which is the most powerful in the range and hits peak torque from only 1,800rpm. 

Hill Hold Assist is available as standard on our test car which means that there is no danger of rolling back if you get stuck in traffic on a hill - a useful system if you live somewhere like the Peak District.  

We haven't been that impressed with our Mazda’s fuel economy over the past five months, recording an average of 37mpg after nearly 4,000 miles which is quite a way off the official 55.4mpg official figure. That said, driving long distances did see an improvement with the trip computer recording 42mpg on this particular journey.  

So after an enjoyable seven mile walk soaking up all the country air (including some panting when walking up the 148 steps to the Hunting Tower), it was time for us to head to the Spa for a well-deserved facial and some dinner.

I wish I could say that I felt better the morning after my walk but that certainly wasn’t the case. The Mazda 3 on the otherhand fared much better than my legs, which were as stiff as a board.

Miles: 3,978

Fuel Economy: 37.2mpg