Mazda 3 hatchback 1.5 SkyActiv-D manual GT Leather (2016)
Our Rating 4 / 5
A new 1.5-litre diesel engine transforms the Mazda3 into a real contender.
What is it?
This is the most important new version of the Mazda 3 hatchback yet released. No, it doesn3 9;t look any different to the model that has been on sale in Ireland since 2014, but there3 9;s a crucial change found under the bonnet. It3 9;s now available with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, which should help it compete with the best-selling Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf diesels at the top of the sales charts. With emissions of just 99g/km and official fuel consumption of 3 .8 litres/100km, you can be sure that running costs are going to be minimal.
What is it like?
Nothing is new here other than the engine, so as before the Mazda 3 looks smart inside and out (especially in the higher trim levels) and it drives in a manner that should have it competing for class honours. It has a lovely balance between ride comfort and dynamic road holding so all drivers will find something to like. The new engine is super-quiet for a diesel, but its power delivery is so smooth that it sometimes feels slow, even if it technically is not.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The Mazda 3 was a good car when it was launched and now its appeal has been broadened by the addition of the smaller diesel engine. We3 9;d still prefer the 2.2-litre model (and there3 9;s not a huge price differential), but Mazda Ireland will find it easier to convince potential Golf, Focus and Opel Astra buyers to try out the Mazda 3 with a 1.5-litre engine under the bonnet. It deserves to succeed.