Mazda 3 Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

The Mazda 3 launched in 2004 and its fourth-generation was released in 2019. It’s a small hatchback (or less-popular as a saloon) that’s competing against alternatives like the Ford Focus and Peugeot 308, and competing well – it was awarded Small Hatchback of 2020 in the UK Car of the Year awards. It will appeal to families mostly; there’s not a hot-hatch version for the thrill-seekers. Originally available with a diesel option, the Mazda 3 now comes with two flavours of a 2.0-litre petrol engine.

Visit the Mazda 3 model page to explore available cars and learn more about the model

What we think about the Mazda 3

Many would not consider the Mazda 3 when looking for a family car, but that could be a mistake – it’s well worth a look.



High safety ratings


Stylish design


High levels of equipment as standard


No exhilarating engine choices

No electric/hybrid option

Visibility could be better

The 2019 Mazda 3 is available in five trim levels: SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech. Even the base model gets some impressive equipment including a head-up display projected onto the windscreen so the driver can focus on the road.

Driving performance of the Mazda 3

Our Driving Rating8 / 10

The ride is comfortable (though it can be a little firm at times) and the driving position is just right. The Mazda 3 handles well, taking corners with ease and steering is responsive without being over-tight. The base-level Skyactiv-G petrol engine will be nippy enough for most and the diesel is well worth a look too if buying used. Manual and automatic transmission options are available and both do a smooth job of shifting gears.

Safety and reliability of the Mazda 3

Our Safety Rating9 / 10

In 2019, 2013 and 2009, the Mazda 3 was awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, which should give you some peace of mind whether buying new or used. The fourth-generation (2019 onwards) Mazda 3 has a host of safety features as standard, including Driver Attention Assist that recognises signs of driver fatigue and Smart City Brake Support that warns you if you get too close to the car in front (and even primes the brakes). Reliability-wise, the Mazda 3 is well-built and has a good reputation.

Under the bonnet of the Mazda 3

Our Engine Rating7 / 10

New cars have a choice of two petrol engines. The base Skyactiv-G is a 120 bhp unit and has a not-astounding 0-62 mph time of 10.4 seconds (10.8 with the auto box). The Skyactiv-X is supercharged to 178 bhp and can achieve the dash to 62 mph in 8.2 seconds. You can choose either engine regardless of trim level, giving you more flexibility. If you want diesel it will need to be a used buy, but these were available until late 2019. The 1.8 diesel had similar acceleration to the base petrol, but increased torque gave it more grunt at low revs.

What you'll find in the Mazda 3

Our Design Rating9 / 10

The latest Mazda 3 is refreshingly attractive from whichever angle you look at it. It has more aggressive touches, like the front-end’s gaping grille and elongated headlights, but the overwhelming sense is of a smooth, sweeping flow. We’re not alone in our opinion – it was World Car Design of the Year winner in 2020. The older generation (2014 to 2019) model is similarly stylish too, especially after the 2016 facelift, and could make for a good used buy.

Comfort and interiors in the Mazda 3

Our Comfort Rating7 / 10

The interior of the Mazda 3 feels modern and high-quality. Seats are comfortable, but there isn’t a great deal of room in the back for adults. At least putting a car seat in is made easier by the five-door set up. Rear visibility could be better, but upgrading to SE-L Lux gets you a reversing camera to help with that. The boot is a handy 358 litres and the rear seats drop to give you extra space if needed.

Mazda 3 interior dashboard

What features you'll find in the Mazda 3

Our Features Rating8 / 10

The good news is that there’s a lot on offer as standard. Highlights include rear parking sensors, automatic wipers/headlights, a digital display for the driver and a central infotainment screen that includes Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. There’s also a driver display that projects onto the windscreen and a system that recognises speed signs and automatically slows down – now that’s high-tech. The top of the range GT Sport Tech trim gets a rather natty 360° camera system as its distinguishing feature.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Mazda 3

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

The 120 bhp Skyactiv-G achieves around 44 mpg, depending on transmission (though there’s not much of a difference between manual and auto). The more-powerful 178 bhp Skyactiv-X actually has better fuel economy at around 50 mpg, thanks to some clever Mazda technology that makes it work more like a diesel. If you’re going for the 1.8 diesel that was discontinued late 2019, figures are marginally higher at 56.5 (with manual gearbox) but it’s the new petrol Skyactiv-X that has the lowest emissions at 100 g/km.

Running costs of the Mazda 3

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

The Mazda 3 should not prove particularly expensive to run – fuel efficiency is reasonable and Mazda’s servicing and parts are not especially costly. Service intervals are a not-unusual 12,500 miles/12 months, too. Mazda’s reputation for reliability should keep repair costs down on out-of-warranty used cars. Insurance groups range from 15 for the SE-L or SE-L Lux to 23 for the GT Sport.

Our verdict of the Mazda 3

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

If you're looking for a stylish family car with lots of equipment, the Mazda 3 is a worthy alternative to more mainstream choices.