We might as well just come out and say it: this car is practically perfect.Yep, the so-called second generation of Mazda’s most popular model is Almost impossible to fault. We say ” so called ” because it is , essentially, Just an update of this Aussie favorite. But that’s okay; reinvention was not required. Instead, the 3 has been honed, planed, re skinned and refined. The design is striking.
And within a cabin that uses as a benchmark the likes of Audi’s A3, the Mazda’s major bugbear- intrusive road noise- has been pretty much suppressed. That’s despite the mid- range model carrying over the 108w/182 Nw 2.0 liter four-cylinder petrol Engine. In real-world conditions you could hardly complain about response though the five-speed automatic with its manual mode that actually holds a gear on reline. Despite being a front-wheel-drive family hatch ( or sedan) the 3 remains an easy car to drive well. This is thanks to people who gave the world the razor- sharp handling of the MX-5 roadster. More than anything else in its crowded class, the 3 manages to be gratifying when you’re having a go, but well behaved in the urban grind.
Even without ticking the option boxes, the Maxx sport is a satisfying package. With six airbags and standard stability control, it should emulate its big brother Mazda6 by achieving the top crash-safety score.
Look, you could say the Mazda lacks the more efficient, cutting-edge direct-injection engines and twin-clutch transmission of its obvious rival, Volkswagen’s Golf. And you’d be right. But the Mazda will suvive and thrive on basic unleaded petrol ( as opposed to exxy 98ron), has a record of bulletproof built quality and reliability that VW can only dream of, and is marginally the sharp drive. As we said, practically perfect.