The 36-strong model line-up is extremely competitively priced, offering excellent practicality, strong efficiency, easy performance and attractive styling at an affordable price.
Both variants get a choice of Mazda’s powerful and fuel efficient Skyactiv-G petrol engines and Skyactiv-D turbodiesel units, ranging from the firm’s 1.5-litre 100hp petrol to a 2.0 petrol putting out either 120hp or 165hp in its higher state of tune.
Just one turbodiesel engine option will be available from launch – the 150hp 2.2-litre unit – with all 2.0- and 2.2-litre engines getting a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The 1.5 petrol is mated to a manual transmission only.
All the engines on offer impress when it comes to efficiency, with the 120hp petrol manual returning 55.4mpg with 119g/km CO2 and the 150hp turbodiesel manual recording a simply staggering 72.4mpg combined with just 104g/km CO2 emissions on the combined cycle.
Compared to its rivals, such as the Volkswagen Golf, the Mazda is more efficient. A similarly powerful petrol VW Golf returns 53.3mpg with 123g/km CO2 compared to the Mazda’s 55.4mpg and 119g/km CO2 offering.
It’s the same story with the diesel. With the exact same 150hp output, the Golf only returns a claimed 68.9mpg with 106g/km CO2 compared to the Mazda’s amazing 72.4mpg with 104g/km CO2.
That’s helped by its light 1,347kg kerb weight. The bodyshell is constructed from lightweight but high strength steel to ensure efficiency and safety are both kept high.
The Mazda 3 recently received a full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, thanks to a useful eight saving and a 31% and 28% increase in torsional rigidity for the hatchback and Fastback respectively.
This extra stiffness also does wonders for the handling. The Mazda 3 feels sporty, agile and engaging to drive, but not at the expense of comfort.
With loads of room in the back, and a cavernous 420-litre boot in the Fastback, practicality is assured, too.
Mazda will offer the new Mazda 3 in five different equipment grades, including SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and top of the range Sport Nav guise.
Every new Mazda 3 will be fitted with the Japanese firm’s Smart City Brake Support – an automatic braking feature that avoids or mitigates the impact of low-speed city-centre collisions with cars or pedestrians – as well as Mazda’s i-stop stop-start system and Hill Hold Assist.
Together with the standard-fit 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power-folding heated mirrors, leather steering wheel, seven-inch colour touchscreen, and USB, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, the Mazda 3 is well-equipped, too.
Prices start at £16,695 for the entry-level Mazda 3 SE hatchback with the 100hp 1.5-litre petrol engine. It’ll cost another £600 to get satellite navigation in SE Nav guise.
Prices for the 2.0-litre petrol start at £16,995 while the Mazda 3 turbodiesel comes in at an incredible £19,245. If you want the extra practicality of the Mazda 3 Fastback, that car starts at £16,995 and is only available with the 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, the latter costing £19,245.
No matter what guise the 2014 Mazda 3 comes in, it represents great values for families looking for an efficient, safe, practical, stylish and strong performing vehicle. It really is the consummate all-rounder.
We’ll keep you posted as to when the new cars are arriving, but in the meantime contact our sales team on 0844 539 6753 for more information and let us know your thoughts on Twitter @twwhiteandsons and on our Facebook page.