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Mazda3 Skyactiv-G — long-term review

Ergonomic imprefection

Specification:
Skyactiv-G GT Sport
Engine:
1998cc, 4cyl, FWD, 120bhp, 157lb ft
Claimed MPG:
44.8mpg, 119g/km CO2
Performance:
0-62mph in 10.4secs, 122mph
Weight:
1439kg
Price:
£24,595 OTR/£25,385 as tested/£237pcm

Mazda owners are nice people. While I was sat waiting in a busy car park the other day, a man crawled past in his last-gen Mazda3, his eyes glued to the front of ‘my’ car. He parked beside me, then came around to my open window and proceeded to engage me in conversation for a good 15 minutes about how much he loves his car. Not one problem in five years and almost 50,000 miles, he tells me, which is most encouraging. 

Our Mazda has only done 5,000 miles in its entire life. Around 2,000 of them with us. By now the little niggles cars sometimes have when they leave the factory ought to have been ironed out, while the big stuff isn’t due to go bang for thousands of miles yet. And sure enough, so far our Mazda has been totally reliable. Well, save for a couple of (isolated, we hope, but odd) late night alarm-based incidents. However all is not well - because for such a thoughtfully designed car, as indeed all Mazdas are, we have come across a couple of ergonomic issues. 

First is the centre armrest, which you have to slide back all the way before you can open it up. Annoying, unnecessary and over-complicated. Then there’s the key, which has the buttons on the side - the smallest of all its available surfaces. What was wrong with your old key, Mazda? It was smaller, lighter, much better-looking and far easier to use. 

That said - Mazda’s keyless entry system is pretty good, insofar as it actually locks the car when you walk away from it, without you having to push a little button on the door handle or something. It can be a bit keen, though. Open the passenger door to sling a bag in, and more often than not by the time you’ve walked around to the driver’s side, it’ll have locked itself. And then won’t let you in again until you manually unlocked it using the key. This was annoying me, so I’ve turned it off. 
 

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