4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Four-door comes with all the best bits of the 3 hatch

Mazda 3 Saloon (19 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
Enlarge 38 photos

At a glance

New price £23,145 - £29,655
Lease from new From £240 p/m View lease deals
Used price £18,875 - £24,090
Used monthly cost £471 - £601
Fuel Economy 45.6 - 52.3 mpg
Road tax cost £145
Insurance group 21 - 23 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • More space than regular 3 hatch
  • Lovely, high-quality interior
  • Handles just like the hatch, too

CONS

  • Just one engine available
  • Smaller tailgate opening
  • Fidgety ride on bigger wheels

Mazda 3 Saloon rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

Mazda’s a brand that’s known for doing things a bit differently, so it’s perhaps no surprise that it continues to offer a small saloon in the UK market – at a time when such cars could hardly be less fashionable.

The proliferation of SUVs hasn’t escaped Mazda, of course – and with the CX-3, CX-5 and CX-30 it offers a handsome and expansive range of them. But it also offers two saloon cars – the 6 and this, the smaller (and newer) 3.

It uses the latest Mazda 3 hatchback as a base, and looks very similar, but surprisingly shares just two exterior panels with its five-door sibling – the bonnet and the roof.

Rivals to the 3 saloon are remarkably limited. In fact, the only other small saloon car on sale that doesn’t come from a premium brand is the Toyota Corolla – itself available in limited numbers and with a reduced range. More conventionally, you could have a Skoda Octavia or a Hyundai i30 Fastback – both saloon-styled but with bigger, hatchback-style boot openings.

Towards the top end of its range, the 3 saloon begins treading on the toes of premium-branded models such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA or the Audi A3 Saloon.

Bigger boot, but less practical

Whether the Mazda 3 saloon is more practical than the hatchback depends on how you intend to use it. The conclusion we drew – from testing it against the Honda Civic saloon, a similar rival – is that there’s more space overall, but it’s less flexible.

This means the 3 saloon has slightly more space in the rear seat for passengers than the hatchback, and a larger overall boot volume. On the flip side, however, the load area is much less useful for loads of different sizes – with a narrow opening and limited potential for accommodating larger objects.

Essentially, if you’re headed to the supermarket, the saloon is the best, but if you’re headed to the furniture outlet, you’ll want the hatchback.

High-quality and very intuitive interior

The 3’s interior is a real highlight – something you could never have said about Mazdas of old. Quite frankly, this car has a stunning interior for what’s supposed to be a regular, workaday family saloon. The dashboard is sleek and stylish and covered in plush, high-quality materials, and the infotainment screen is pin-sharp and ideally sited.

2019 Mazda 3 Saloon interior

The driving position is near-perfect and you get the sense that Mazda’s really thought about how drivers will use the dashboard and centre console. Small touches, like siting the cupholders ahead of the gearlever so you don’t knock your drink over with your elbow, or the thin-rimmed, grippy steering wheel are reassuring signs that Mazda thinks about drivers when it’s putting its interiors together.

Only one engine makes choice easy

Specifying a Mazda 3 could hardly be a simpler process – there’s only one engine, leaving you to choose just your specification and whether you want an automatic or manual gearbox.

The firm’s 2.0-litre SkyActiv-X petrol engine makes an appearance here, producing 180hp and providing more than enough performance for most. It’s an engine with an odd character, though, thanks to a fiendishly complex system called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition. Essentially, it mixes elements of a petrol engine and a diesel engine to (in theory) give lower running costs.

A diesel engine initially appeared on price lists, but was swiftly canned when it turned out to be a very slow seller.

Read on for our full Mazda 3 Saloon review.

Mazda 3 Saloon rivals

Other Mazda 3 models: