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Sweet-driving, good-looking alternative to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus

Good stuff

Lots of kit, different and fun to drive

Bad stuff

Space isn't so clever in the back, down-sized rivals better its emissions


What is it?

Mazda’s Golf, which means that, for recognition in Europe, the 3 has got to try hard. Throw the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Astra and a host of trickle-down premium upstarts in the small family hatchback category and its job is harder still.

So the Japanese firm has gone bold, the 3’s styling being in the standout sphere, even if the long bonnet and bulbous rear do look a touch clown shoe from some angles. Mazda has thrown everything at it too, bucking the current convention for down-sized powerplants with an engine range that it says is ‘right-sized’, while the standard equipment list on even entry-level cars is extensive.

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Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

Buy without regret: the 3 drives as well as it looks. Very nicely balanced indeed.

The Rivals

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