Mazda 3 (2013-2019) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
The Mazda 3 hatchback lags behind rivals on space, but the Fastback saloon offers a bigger boot
The price you pay for the Mazda’s sleek exterior is a cabin that can’t match the space in the Peugeot 308. Rear passengers don’t get quite as much leg or headroom, while the small side windows add to the slightly claustrophobic feel, and the shape of the hatchback’s rear window means visibility isn’t great. Both the hatchback and the Fastback saloon are five-seaters but it’s worth noting that the saloon has a marginally bigger boot.
On the plus side, there’s lots of storage elsewhere in the Mazda, including deep door bins, a lidded cubby between the front seats and a large, air-conditioned glovebox.
The Mazda 3 hatchback is 4,465mm long and 1,795mm wide, while the Fastback saloon is a little longer at 4585mm, but an equal 1,795mm wide. The former is slightly longer than a Ford Focus – though the Ford is not renowned for its generous boot – and also longer than a Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.
The Mazda’s shapely bumpers add a bit of exterior length, but the car as a whole could be more spacious given its longer proportions compared to rivals. At 1,465mm tall, the 3 sits lower than the Focus, the Astra and standard Golfs, which isn’t surprising given its sporty stance. However, it’s still taller than eco-friendly Bluemotion spec Golfs, which have a lower ride height to improve their aerodynamics and subsequently fuel economy.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Though both leg and headroom have been improved over the old Mazda 3 by mounting the seats lower, neither are best in class and it’s quite easy to find rival family hatchbacks with more spacious interiors, such as the Peugeot 308 or the Nissan Pulsar.
The Mazda 3’s 364-litre boot is OK but it’s by no means the best in the class. It’s 106 litres behind the Peugeot 308’s boot and also lags behind the Volkswagen Golf’s 380-litres and the Vauxhall Astra's 370 litres. The Mazda does have more room in its boot than the Ford Focus though, which musters a mere 316 litres. However, the 3 doesn’t have any useful shopping bag hooks or even a 12-volt power supply. There’s a total of 1,263 litres available when the rear seats are folded flat.
The saving grace is the Fastback saloon, which has much more spacious 419-litre boot and there's a wide opening to make loading big items easy.
In this review
- 1Mazda 3 reviewThe Mazda 3 offers sharp handling and lots of kit, making it a serious contender in the hatchback class
- 2Engines, performance and driveThere’s a lot to like about the 2.2-litre diesel, but the 1.5-litre diesel is a bit slow
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Mazda 3 isn’t the most economical car in its class, but given the performance, it does well
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Mazda 3 looks great, has a classy cabin and it’s well kitted out for the money
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingThe Mazda 3 hatchback lags behind rivals on space, but the Fastback saloon offers a bigger boot
- 6Reliability and SafetyMazda has a good reputation for building reliable cars and the 3 scored well in our Driver Power survey