I have had my Mazda 3 going on six months now and while I do absolutely love the car (especially the engine) I have to say I’m a little unimpressed with the build of the car.
I have always loved diesel passenger cars ever since my brother got a 2012 Mazda 6 diesel. I went on to upgrade my 1998 Mazda 626 to a 2007 Mazda 3 diesel, and then to a 2016 petrol CX-3. I missed the diesel so much I returned to a 2015 Mazda 3 XD Astina auto with 43000km that fit my budget.
Ever since, I have had a lot of small things go wrong in the six months I have owned it. I had issues with the front Bose speakers - which were replaced under warranty - and both tweeters have blown. If the window is only a little open it will rattle, there are squeaks in the dash and the alcantara on the driver's seat is very worn after only 60000km. A few of these things could be due to what I can only describe as the absolute torture this car must’ve gone through with the previous owner, as I could see by the condition of the paint before I detailed it.
However the engine is an absolute cracker a 2.2-litre diesel unit, which is a little gruff but just how I like it. With all that torque in a car this small you feel confident pulling out into smaller gaps when you need to, and it always puts a smile on my face when you put your foot down (although it's a shame I got an auto). You will not find anything below a hot hatch in this class in which you could have any more fun.
The safety features of a small car of 2015 are extremely helpful and impressive. The adaptive cruise is spot on! There is a 2020 Mazda 3 in the garage that will constantly and noticeably brake if it goes more than 2km/h over the speed limit or if someone pulls in front of you, whereas mine is more gradual. I also like the security of having AEB although I don’t ever expect to use it (who does?). Although the headlight adjustment from factory seems a little sub par, they do a good job when adjusted properly. The automatic high beams are generally quite intelligent, as well as the cornering function. Lane departure warning has an “adaptive” setting which also does a good job at alerting you rather than annoying you *cough* 2020 Mazda 3 *cough*
I think it also looks quite impressive for a 2015 car although I must say I loved the shape of the CX-3 so much more. It still looks quite modern and despite the mistreatment by the previous owner the paint has fared very well after a detail. The screen is a little low res but still looks nice. The materials are surprisingly quite plush inside, but that said I have only ever had Mazda’s. When the Bose sound system works it is quite impressive to my ears with lots of bass. It’s better finished than the CX-3.
Space is not a strong point of the Mazda 3 and at 6-foot-2 with the sunroof my hair brushed the headliner in my comfortable seating position. I have sat in the back and find it a little uncomfortable and with very few amenities. Boot space is also a little below average for the class. However I don’t really need the space.
Fuel economy has been amazing at 5 litres per 100 kilometres, even with all that power. This may or may not be improved by the I-ELOOP system offered exclusively on this spec in the Mazda 3 range. It’s cool watching the I-ELOOP capacitor charge and discharge on the infotainment screen as you're braking.
I love this car despite the niggles I have had with it and considering the diesel passenger cars seem to be going the way of the dinosaur with only the CX-5 and CX-8 in the Mazda range now being offered with a diesel chug, I think I will keep this car for a long time.
Shout out to the Santa Fe diesel and Mondeo diesel which also have an extremely pleasant diesel chug.