What should I be paying?
Prices start from £23,265 and the standard kit list for the 3 is impressive. SE-L is the entry-level model, and it gets a head-up display, radar cruise control, LED headlights, sat nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. And most of us would quite happily get by on that, frankly.
Upgrade one step to SE-L Lux and for another £1,100 you add a reversing camera, keyless system and heated seats. And the quality of all these features is exemplary. It’s not necessarily uncommon to find them on the feature list of cars in this class, but all too often the graphics are poor or the functionality limited. Not here. There’s a sense that Mazda’s engineers and design teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that everything works to the best of its ability.
Next up is Sport Lux trim, which upgrades the standard 16in alloys to 18s (don't worry, they don't ruin the ride) and adds a premium cloth trim, adaptive headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and rear privacy glass. All for £25,465 at the time of writing.
Climb up to GT Sport (£27,365) and you'll introduce a black leather trim, that 12-speaker Bose sound system, eight-way powered driver's seat adjustment, a heated steering wheel and door mirrors that tilt down when reversing to help with parking.
Last up is GT Sport Tech, which costs from £28,265. This introduces a bunch of additional safety systems, plus a 360-degree parking aid.
Overall pricing is competitive. The SE-L Mazda 3 is as well equipped as a Ford Focus costing £1,500 more, and lease costs are likely to be competitive based on the reliability and quality of existing Mazdas. An SE-L Lux with the bigger engine and manual gearbox will set you back about £310 per month over a four-year PCP deal, provided you can stump up £3k for the deposit.
The engines should be just as efficient as the smaller turbocharged Ecoboost motor Ford uses, too. Expect around 40 and 50mpg in daily driving - maybe more still from the Skyactiv X engine if you're regularly on motorways and in no hurry to overtake.
The question is, who will buy it? Younger buyers will probably want something with more spring in its step, more spark and edge. Families are going to want more space. Which leaves the 3 to exploit an older demographic who want a simpler, more easily understood car.