Mazda3 hatchback - Interior & comfort
Build quality and simplicity make the Mazda3's interior a great place to sit
Mazda has improved the quality of materials used in the Mazda3, giving its interior an upmarket look and feel without resorting to gimmicks. The design is simplicity at its best, with horizontal lines and quick-to-operate rotary dials for the climate control. There's a new Volkswagen Golf on the way, but for the time being, we think it pips the VW for quality - no mean feat.
It's quiet too, largely thanks to the fact the Mazda3 sits on all new underpinnings, which benefit from the latest noise suppressing know-how. Noise levels are better than before, and the lack of tyre drone and wind roar makes the hatch feel more luxurious.
If you hate cars with endless settings and buttons that you have to press to set up the infotainment system, or even adjust how the car feels on the road, then the Mazda3 should be rather pleasing. Mazda's philosophy is that everything feels right all the time, so there are no endless modes to adjust the weight of the steering or how the engine feels. Instead, you just get in and go.
Once you're moving, you can only control the infotainment system via a rotary controller by the gear lever to avoid trying to prod at the 8.8-inch screen while driving and having to take your eyes off the road.
Mazda has skipped the expected SE entry trim, so the range kicks off with SE-L, and that means all Mazda3 models are very well equipped. SE-L cars feature a 7-inch touchscreen with DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus rear parking sensors, alloy wheels and automatic wipers and headlights.
SE-L Lux, available for only a small extra outlay, includes many features that other brands would charge extra for. On top of the SE-L equipment, it adds a reversing camera, front parking sensors, two-zone automatic air-con and heated front seats. As the name suggests, Sport Lux adds to the car's svelte appearance with larger wheels, LED headlights and tinted rear glass. GT Sport also offers an electrically adjustable driver's seat, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and an upgraded Bose sound system, with top-spec GT Sport Tech adding in a 360-degree camera to make parking in tight spaces a breeze.
Mazda doesn't offer any optional extras - all the available equipment is combined within the five trim levels. Once you've chosen your engine and trim level, your only other choice is the paint colour. Most metallic paint choices will set you back £550, but Machine Grey and Soul Red Crystal cost £670 and £790 respectively. However, you can choose accessories like Mazda child seats from your dealer.