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Mazda3 Fastback saloon - Engines, drive & performance

The Mazda3 Fastback is fun to drive and its engine is strong

Carbuyer Rating

3.9 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

The Mazda3 is good to drive whether you choose the hatchback or saloon, and offers a good balance between sensible running costs and driving fun, putting it near the top of its class. While there's no diesel or hybrid option, the petrol engine can return respectable fuel economy when driven gently, and its responsive nature suits the Mazda's precise, agile feel. If you're after a small family car and value driving experience, the Mazda3 should be on your list.

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Steering is accurate and body lean in corners is well controlled. Despite the car’s sporting demeanour, the ride is pretty comfortable and there’s little intrusion of road or wind noise into the car. That being said, some rivals are quieter, and the larger wheels of higher trims kick up a bit more tyre noise than those of the Sport model.

Mazda3 Fastback petrol engine

There’s just the one petrol engine to choose from – a 183bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder – and it’s pretty nippy. You’ll find that there’s plenty of oomph for everyday driving. The standard six-speed manual gearbox is slick and easy to use and the gears themselves are well matched to the engine. Unlike equivalent turbocharged models, however, you do need to work the engine fairly hard and keep the revs up, which will dent your fuel economy.

It’ll do the 0-62mph sprint in a highly respectable 8.1 seconds, or 8.5 seconds if you go for the six-speed automatic gearbox. That power is produced evenly throughout the rev range, which gives it a very natural, relaxed feel.

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