This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mazda 3 MPS (09-13) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Little gives away that this is the top-of-the-range Mazda3 from behind the wheel. That's especially disappointing as the 3 has fairly bland cabin, although it is spacious and well laid out. The driving position is very good, as the steering wheel adjusts for height and reach and you bucket-style seats to hold you in place through corners, while still being comfy enough for motorway trips.

A nice design touch is the soothing blue backlit dials and orange LEDs that run between the stereo buttons. However some of the plastics feel cheap, it's starting to feel dated and ultimately lacks the feelgood factor you'd expect in a hot hatch.

Passengers should appreciate the roomy cabin as there's loads of head and legroom - just as in the standard hatch. Plus being a five-door, everyone should find it easy to get in-and-out of. The sports seats do a good job of holding the front passengers in place when the car's being driven quickly and are comfortable when it isn't. On the move it's generally a quiet car, with the only noticeable noise from the booming turbo under acceleration.