The Mazda range, in case you hadn’t noticed, is undergoing a transformation thanks to advanced lightweight technology.
The new CX-5 was introduced in 2012, with the latest Mazda6 arriving on our shores in January 2013. The Mazda3 was next in line and the car arrived at the start of the year.
Mazda’s Skyactiv technology meant a clean sheet of paper, with a new lightweight construction for the body, engine and gearbox.
Our 2.2D Sport Nav variant has a 150hp version of the Skyactiv diesel engine, which perhaps is a little over-endowed for most fleets seeking a lower-medium car, but Mazda announced this month that a smaller 1.5-litre diesel engine is on the way.
Even with the 2.2-litre, CO2 emissions of 107g/km are among the best in the sector.
A 150hp Volkswagen Golf GT TDI has CO2 emissions of 106g/km.
But it also shows that in the two years that Mazda has pinned its colours to the Skyactiv mast, developing unique technology, other manufacturers have caught up quickly.
Our Mazda3 has the optional safety pack fitted (£700), as well as metallic paint (£530) and black leather interior (£1,000), bringing the P11D value of the car as tested to £24,200. Perhaps a little steep for a lower-medium hatchback.
However, if you take a Golf GT TDI 150 five-door and add equipment to take it to the level of the Mazda as tested you wouldn’t get much change from £30,000.
What’s more, the safety pack has some pretty useful features for £700, including lane departure warning, automatic high-beam assistance and rear-vehicle monitoring which warns of cars approaching when the driver wants to change lanes.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, Bose audio upgrade and head-up display. Serious omissions?
No DAB, not even as an option.