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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

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

At a glance

New price £23,425 - £28,955
Lease from new From £229 per month
Road tax cost £145
Insurance group 22 - 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

Long live the saloon, at least in Mazda’s world. Of course, there are SUV models present in the Japanese firm’s range – the CX-3, CX-30 and CX-5 – but there’s still value in producing traditional saloons according to the company. So much so there’s now a choice of two – the Mazda 6 and the smaller, and newer, Mazda 3 Saloon.

Using the latest 3 hatchback as a base, the saloon may look very similar, but it only shares two exterior panels with its five-door sibling – the bonnet and the roof.

Is it more practical?

Unsurprisingly the 3 Saloon is a little longer than the hatchback, which contributes to more generous levels of interior room. This makes it – in some ways – more practical than the five-door 3, but it’s not quite as simple as that.

In the front it’s all very similar space-wise, but the rear seats offer a bit more room to stretch out in. Oddly for a saloon, the rear doors are better shaped for greater ease of access, and the boot is a useful amount larger when the rear seats are in place, but access is more limited and the outright space less easy to use. That's a similar criticism levelled at the Honda Civic Saloon, but not at the Hyundai i30 Fastback which has a hatchback. 

But at this level, the 3 Saloon is also competing with lower ends of premium rivals' ranges, such as the Volvo S60, while the Peugeot 508 competes to a degree, both of which have their plus points. 

What’s it like inside?

2019 Mazda 3 Saloon interior

Everywhere else inside the 3, it’s business as usual. That means it has a stunning interior for what’s supposed to be a regular family saloon, with a sleek and stylish dashboard, excellent build quality and impressive comfort levels. There’s a good amount of tech on offer on most models, and a selection of pleasant trim and colour schemes available higher up the range.

Some may feel a little hemmed in compared with larger saloons, but it’s a very pleasant place to sit behind the wheel, with very little fuss going on. Mazda’s exercise in restrained class and simple controls really works. You also get this arrangement in the CX-30 crossover.

The good news is that you get a lovely interior on every 3 Saloon model, from entry-level SE-L all the way up to GT Sport Tech models. We'd land somewhere in the middle to get the best blend of kit for the money, so look at an SE-L Lux, Sport or Sport Lux. 

Easy to drive, but just one engine option

The 3 is also a very easy car to drive with slick controls, an excellent manual gearbox (an auto is available) and the kind of fine, agile handling we’ve come to expect from all Mazda models. Driving along a country road and the steering is beautifully weighted, the controls are precise and the body doesn’t roll about much at all. Like the hatch, it’s an agile and responsive car, but also feels grown up on the motorway. The only thing is that the ride can feel a little firm on higher-spec cars with larger alloy wheels fitted – a criticism we make about many cars.

It’ll be easy to pick the engine to power your 3 Saloon as well, as you can only have it with the firm’s 2.0-litre Skyactiv-X petrol engine producing 180hp. But you can choose manual or automatic transmissions.

As the 3 Saloon is likely to sell in lower volumes than the 3 hatchback (around 30% of total sales), it doesn’t have the five-door’s full engine range. But even that has been slimmed down to just one other petrol engine other than the Skyactiv-X.

The 3 Saloon is likely to be more appealing to fleet drivers, and so the blend of performance and efficiency offered by the Skyactiv-X makes most sense. A 1.8-litre Skyactiv-D diesel briefly appeared on price lists, but has since been canned as an option in the 3. It was also available for a few months under the bonnet of the hatchback, but it too is no longer available as it’s a slow-seller for the model. That’s a bit of a pity as it actually worked well, feeling perky and refined, but also economical.

Read on for the full Mazda 3 Saloon review.

Mazda 3 Saloon rivals

Other Mazda 3 models: