Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Should you buy a Mazda 3 Saloon?

Taken in isolation, there’s a lot to recommend about the Mazda 3 Saloon. It’s good to drive, fantastic to look at and has a desirable and equipment-packed interior. But in reality, it's no better than the hatchback on which it's based - and as it's more expensive and has less choice, we can't really see why you'd bother spending the extra unless you really like the way it looks.

The 3's boot is its bugbear - larger but less flexible than its sibling. The engine range isn’t quite as extensive as the hatch either, although that’s not saying that much as there’s only one more available for the five-door.

All models come packed with equipment – of particular note is the huge number of standard-fit safety systems – that really boost the 3’s appeal.

It’s also excellent to drive – the Skyactiv-X engine is responsive enough for most, making the most of the 3’s fabulous chassis and enjoyable drive. What’s of more importance to most will be that it should be cheap to run with realistic fuel economy claims that should be easily achievable.

We’d go for the manual as it’s a really slick transmission, and opt for a mid-range model – SE-L Lux, Sport or Sport Lux. You don’t really need the top-spec models as the whole range is well-equipped. Also, those high-spec models start treading on the toes of cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Volvo S60.

The Mazda is certainly worth going for over a Honda Civic Saloon or Hyundai i30 Fastback, though – it feels far more upmarket and plush. Ultimately though, there’s greater appeal in the 3 hatchback for us as it just looks so good and has a wider variety of engine options.