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Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The MPS version has a similar cabin to the standard Mazda3 which means high quality materials and an upmarket appearance. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics while the high-placed gear lever and swooping dash give the impression that everything is focussed toward the driver. It's suitably sporty with deep-set dials, red and black half-leather seats and aluminium pedals which help distinguish it from the normal hatch, while there's a digital turbo boost gauge on the instrument cluster.

The standard sat nav is a useful feature, although the screen is fairly small and not always that easy to read, especially in built-up areas.

Whereas some performance hatchbacks are unforgiving for passengers, the MPS has a relatively smooth ride that irons out most potholes in the road. It's still firm and can get caught out by bumpy surfaces, but it makes a great long distance cruiser and is incredibly quiet and refined on motorways. There's plenty of room inside for four adults with good legroom in the back, while comfort is further boosted by supportive sports seats in the front which are heated.

The MPS also comes with climate control as standard and part-leather upholstery.