Driven: Mazda3 2.0 165ps Sport Nav Review
Introducing the latest mid-sized hatchback from Mazda, the all new 6th Generation SKYACTIV Mazda3.
What is it about?
Mazda have taken the bold approach of optimising the efficiencies and performance from their current engine range, rather than downsizing or turbo-charging them, like many others have done.
Mazda have completely redesigned the Mazda3 from the ground up, it’s clearly a completely new design from its predecessor. Everything about the exterior styling looks exhilarating and sporty, yet professional and discreet at the same time. Mazda have brilliantly regenerated the look of the car for the modern consumer.
The updates don’t stop at the exterior either, under the bonnet, and inside have had a complete make-over too.
The model on test drive was the Mazda3 2.0 litre Sport Nav. The 2.0 litre engine puts out 165bhp, 210Nm of torque, and still only weighs 1,368kg. So this Mazda is set up to be a great performing car.
How does it drive?
Setting off in the 165bhp petrol Mazda, I was hoping for an engaging and thrilling drive, and that is exactly what the Mazda delivers. With 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds, and a top speed of 130mph this car doesn’t hang around. Besides all the power, the six speed gearbox feels strong and very flush when firing through the gears, and the brakes are well balanced and highly effective.
One of the real highlights of the driving experience is the steering feedback. As soon as I pulled off in the car I felt connected with the road, and fully engaged in driving the car. The feel through the steering wheel is as if you are driving a light and agile car. The more you explore the cornering ability of the Mazda3, the more you feel encouraged to push the car a little faster, and corner a little harder. The car has an endearing sensation which means you just want to keep driving and driving, knowing you won’t ever get bored.
I was not expecting the driving experience to be anywhere near as engaging as the Mazda was. It is very impressive how a car with so much usable and practical space can provide such an agile and playful driving experience. Mazda have done a fine job tuning the Mazda3 to its optimal performing state.
What’s it like inside?
Inside is where the Mazda3 has had one of its best improvements. Sitting inside the Sport Nav edition, “luxury” is the word; if the Mazda badge wasn’t visible I would be convinced I was sitting in a Mercedes-Benz. The build quality and use of materials is excellent.
There is a long list of luxuries available on the inside of the Sport Nav, but for me the features that stood out were the Bose sound system; which can only be described as perfect, the beautiful leather wrapped and red stitched steering wheel with aluminium and carbon fibre effect inserts around the controls, and lastly the light stone leather heated seats which were amazingly supportive and very comfortable.
The technology available on the Mazda3 now includes the latest innovations including things like a lane departure warning system, high beam control, rear vehicle monitoring, a head up display, and adaptive front lighting. And don’t forget the great value added kit like touch screen SatNav, electric driver’s seat, and keyless entry.
The overall experience of owning a Mazda3 Sport Nav is surreal. You get a great looking modern hatchback that is jam-packed with technology both for safety, comfort, and engine performance, 5 door practicalities, a brilliantly layed out interior, and most importantly you get a driving experience that would thrill anyone with a pulse.
It’s not often you come across a car that is very practical, very exciting, and very affordable, but the latest 6th generation SKYACTIV Mazda3 Sport Nav has put the Mazda3 right at the top of its game in this category.
Mazda3 2.0 165ps Sport Nav
- Price: £21,620
- Engine: 2.0-Litre naturally aspired
- Power: 165bhp
- Torque: 210Nm
- Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
- 0-62mph: 8.2 Seconds
- Top speed: 130mph
- Weight: 1,368kg
- Economy combined: 48.71mpg
- CO2: 135g/km
Author: Paul Hadley