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Driving The Mazda 3 Fastback

Driving The Mazda 3 Fastback

This year Mazda have been keen to push the merits of their 2014 range and, it has to be said, with ample reason. They have matured into very good cars indeed. In particular, their tried and tested SkyActiv technology – which Mazda say redefines everything, every major part of their cars, from the engine to chassis and from the body to transmissions – has spread more or less throughout the range.

Under the bonnet, engine output is increased and emission levels are reduced. These technologies include high compression ratio petrol engines that, unlike the competition, do without turbochargers for a more immediate response and, conversely, diesels with reduced compression coupled with a new 2-stage turbo design. The company matches these engines with highly efficient automatic transmissions, lighter weight manual transmissions, lightweight body designs and electric power steering.

The Mazda 3 is now in its third generation and is available in a total of no less than 36 variants, spread across five trim levels and priced, depending, between £16,695 to £23,345. The list of options is vast as usual and far too much to list here but contains all you’d expect, plus some new safety features like Smart City Brake Support and secondary Collision Reduction.

There are so many diesels these days that Motor Blogger opted to drive a petrol engine for a change and tried the Fastback version. A  Sport-Nav version, the Fastback was powered by a 2.0L 120PS engine with Stop/Start and achieving the 62mph target in under nine seconds.

FB1 Driving The Mazda 3 FastbackArguably the stylish Fastback is better looking than the regular hatch with a roofline that sweeps elegantly down to the boot-lid spoiler. We are all used to the convenience of hatchbacks and it is fair to say that a regular boot is less useful, but the rear seats of the Fastback still fold so it is fine for most applications.

Upon starting the car a small, unobtrusive ‘head’s up’ opaque panel rises on top of the instrument binnacle and shows the car’s speed. This means that it is the rev counter that takes pride of place amongst the driver instruments with just a supplementary display of the mph. With navigation in use, the ‘heads-up’ also shows a direction finder. This works very well and, importantly, is not affected by direct in-coming sunlight.

Inside the quality leather interior even the most misshapen of motorists will have no trouble getting comfortable. Mazda have an option of two-tone leather seats which, IMHO, are a must-have. There’s a usefully wide range of adjustment to the driver’s seat and steering wheel, and there’s plenty of leg, head and shoulder space for all. The dashboard layout is tidy and logical, with clearly labelled buttons and dials for the air-conditioning and easy-to-read instrument dials. Various functions can be accessed using the 7” colour touchscreen that sits in pride of place on top of the dashboard.

No longer the poor relation, Mazda have put their new cars properly into the limelight. They have clearly worked hard on the interiors which are smart, comfortable and well equipped and the instant response from the SkyActiv tech makes for enjoyable driving.

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- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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