Mileage – 2866
Mazda 3 2.2d Sport Nav long-term test review – second report
This month, web producer Rachael Hogg discusses how the Mazda 3 drives, and a few niggles she's found...
Mileage – 2866
Above all, I’m glad I went for the 2.2-litre diesel engine. It’s smooth, and pleasingly quiet at low and high speeds, at least in part thanks to a sound-deadening device in the engine that also reduces vibrations. However, despite all that effort to keep the engine hushed, there is some wind- and road noise at higher speeds.
The engine responds well, too, so even when you need to overtake that person firmly plonked in the middle lane doing 60mph on the motorway, there’s no need to drop a gear. And it’s pretty fast, too, developing 148bhp and with a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds.
Speaking of corners, one interesting piece of tech on my car is Mazda's Skyactiv G-Vectoring control. This measures various things, including the steering angle, throttle position, and how quickly you’re moving the steering wheel; and, when the system decides it's necessary (when turning into a corner, for example), it very slightly reduces the torque the engine is producing. This transfers weight to the front wheels, giving them more grip and improving cornering response and stability.
Mazda says the effects of the technology are most pronounced in snow or on other low-grip surfaces, keeping the car going in the intended direction without needing loads of tiny steering wheel inputs. All this is in the pursuit of what Mazda calls ‘Jinba-Ittai’ – a feeling of unity between driver and vehicle (or, literally translated, 'horse and rider as one'). It's a very clever and effective system, and the only irony is that you can't actually tell from the driver's seat that it's working.
Once you’re on the way, you may also get a little annoyed that, when the sat-nav is issuing instructions, the voice cuts out the driver's side speaker, and so much so that I thought it was broken for a while. That’s especially fun when you’re on a 'smart' motorway, and it’s warning you of ‘speed camera ahead', ‘speed camera', ‘speed camera ahead’ every ten seconds, when all you want to do is to belt out your favourite tune while being sufficiently drowned out.
Finally, although the Mazda hasn't got the biggest boot in its class (364 litres or 1263 litres with the seats folded down), I didn’t have any problems with all my Christmas luggage, presents and all. I also successfully transported four adults – including two around the six-foot mark in the back – without too many complaints, although if this had been a long journey, I think I may have heard a bit more grumbling.
- Model: Mazda3 2.2d Sport Nav
- List price: £22,995
- Price as tested: £24,665
- Engine/gearbox: 2.2-litre, four-cylinder SkyActiv diesel
- Power: 148bhp
- Torque: 280 lb/ft
- Top speed: 130mph
- 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
- Economy: 68.9mpg
- CO2/BIK tax liability: 107g/km / 21%
- Boot space: 364 litres
Machine Grey metallic paint: £670
Black leather interior: £1,000