Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback (2009 - 2013) review

Read the Mazda3 hatchback (2009 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.

Last updated: 21st November 2014
The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.6
Any family hatchback has it tough matching the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but the Mazda3 isn’t a bad effort. It’s stylish, drives well and quality is excellent.


  • Cabin feels solid throughout
  • Diesel engines are punchy and refined
  • Solid handling makes it fun to drive


  • Dashboard design is fussy
  • Not as comfortable as some rivals
  • Rear space is lacking
Best on a budget
1.6 TS Diesel
The 1.6-litre diesel engine is economical and flexible.
Best seller
1.6 TS2 Diesel
TS2 specification brings desirable equipment.
Blow the budget
2.3 Turbo MPS
Huge turbo power, but the chassis struggles to cope.

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Performance 3/5

There’s a definite division between the petrol and diesel versions of the 3 – the latter are the ones to go for. The 1.6- and 2.2-litre diesel engines that bookend the range have a wide power gap between them (from 113bhp to 182bhp), but all feel flexible at low revs. The petrol versions lack pulling power.

Running costs 3/5

The diesels are also the pick for lower running costs. Contrast the 41.5mpg of the 2-litre petrol Sport 3 with the 62.8mpg of the 1.6-litre diesel variant. The 117g/km of the 1.6 diesel puts it in Band C for VED too. Good reliability and quality also ensure that the 3’s residuals are strong, so at re-sale you’ll make more money back than you would with, say, a Vauxhall Astra.

Reliability 4/5

The Mazda3 is built to last. The previous generation model was a frequent high scorer in various reliability surveys and this car is built on the same underpinnings – based on the Ford Focus. It’s unlikely to give owners many problems in terms of its electrics or mechanicals.

Safety 5/5

Loaded with safety kit, the Mazda carries a five-star EuroNCAP rating, including an excellent score for child protection. Its EuroNCAP report particularly praises its performance in the 18-month-old and three-year-old infant protection tests. Front and side airbags are standard, as are active head restraints to protect against whiplash, traction control and anti-lock brakes.

Equipment 4/5

Most Mazda3s are packed with standard equipment. The entry-level S version doesn’t get alloy wheels or electric rear windows. However, TS models and above have climate control, alloys and electric windows all round. Sport cars feature a Bose stereo, heated seats, parking sensors and cruise control.

Why buy? 3/5

The Mazda3 is a solid package without ever really excelling in any one area. As long as you choose a diesel you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Visit the Mazda website now for more information on the Mazda3.

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