Mazda3 hatchback - Practicality & boot space
The major drawback of Mazda3 ownership is compromised practicality compared with rivals
If there's one area where the Mazda3 will lose points with families, it's practicality. In looking to set itself apart from rivals in terms of its stylish design and driving experience, Mazda has had to compromise on interior space. There’s no sign of this in the front seats, but the back is rather claustrophobic, while boot space sits below most of its rivals.
Mazda3 interior space & storage
While space in the front seats is as roomy and comfortable as you'd expect, this doesn't make the Mazda3 a class-leading car for roominess in the same mould as a Skoda Octavia. Indeed, anyone around six feet tall or more will find their hair pressed against the headlining if they sit in the back. The Mazda's sloping roofline is to blame for that, and there’s also a rather odd piece of plastic trim rising up to partially cover the rear window.
Rear visibility is also somewhat problematic because thick rear C-pillars make it rather tricky to see over your shoulder or out of the back window. However, blind-spot warnings and rear-view cameras help remedy this issue for the driver, at least partially. There’s more good news when it comes to interior storage, because the Mazda has a sizeable cubby between the front seats, along with a bigger glovebox than a Leon Cupra or BMW 1 Series.
The Mazda3's boot is 334 litres, which is fairly small for the class. Surprisingly, it's down on the old Mazda3's boot, while a Volkswagen Golf offers a 380-litre boot and the Ford Focus has 375 litres. Folding down the rear seats increases cargo capacity to just over 1,022 litres. There’s also quite a large loading lip, which makes it harder to load heavy items, and prone to scratches while lugging them inside.
The Mazda3 isn’t likely to be considered a top choice for towing, but it can haul a braked trailer weighing up to 1,300kg – just enough for a small to medium-sized caravan. Most versions of the Skoda Octavia can tow 1,500kg, extending to 1,600kg for the 2.0-litre diesel engine.