MAZDA

MAZDA MAZDA3 HATCHBACK 2.0 Skyactiv-X MHEV GT Sport Tech 5dr Auto

Fuel

FuelPetrol

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph8.6s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2142 g/km

Mazda's unconventional approach to automotive design has born real fruit when it comes to the engineering of this Mazda3 Skyactiv-X model. What we're served up here is a family hatch-style model that offers fairly potent 180PS power, yet can deliver the kinds of efficiency returns you'd expect from a diesel in this class. As a bonus, you also get the nicest handling and arguably the best cabin in the segment. What's not to like?

X MARKS THE SPOT

The Mazda3 makes most sense in Skyactiv-X petrol form. Jonathan Crouch explains why.

Ten Second Review

Mazda's unconventional approach to automotive design has born real fruit when it comes to the engineering of this Mazda3 Skyactiv-X model. What we're served up here is a family hatch-style model that offers fairly potent 180PS power, yet can deliver the kinds of efficiency returns you'd expect from a diesel in this class. As a bonus, you also get the nicest handling and arguably the best cabin in the segment. What's not to like?

Background

The MK4 Mazda3 claims to be a family hatch that's as good to drive as a Ford Focus, as good inside as a Volkswagen Golf and as good to look at as an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The fact that its usual 2.0-litre 'Skyactive-G' petrol engine ignores turbocharging is another break with current convention, though Mazda has followed the current trend towards part-electrified mild hybrid technology for it. And created a more powerful supercharged 'Skyactive-X' version of this unit that uses 'Spark Controlled Compression Ignition' to deliver petrol response allied to diesel economy. That's what we're going to look at here. All of this engineering's bolted to a brand new very stiff platform. And, the trend with previous Mazdas for slinky styling to clothe rather dull cabin design has been broken here with what might just be the nicest interior in the segment. Add in standard equipment features you'd have to pay extra for on rivals and plenty of camera-driven safety kit and you've a promising-sounding package offered either in this hatch form or as a smartly styled saloon. Time to check it out.

Driving Experience

When we first tried this fourth generation Mazda3, we loved the way it handled and its lovely steering and gear change. But to be frank, we thought the standard Skyactiv-G petrol and Skyactiv-D diesel engines were a bit of a weak link in the car's armoury. But don't despair if you love everything else about this car because the third of the three engine options - the Skyactiv-X - makes up for everything. It's a development of the Skyactiv-G 2.0-litre petrol unit but is very different, developing 180PS and using what the brand calls 'Spark Controlled Compressed Ignition' or 'SPCCI', a patented lean burn process that delivers exceptional efficiency. Interestingly, it incorporates a supercharger, not for extra performance (though torque is increased by up to 30% over the Skyactiv-G unit) but instead to ensure that there's enough air in the engine for the compression ignition to work properly. Rest to 62mph takes 8.2s en route to 134mph. Another reason for choosing the Skyactiv-X powerplant is that it's the only engine offered in this car that can be mated with the brand's i-Activ AWD all-wheel-drive system, an option with the hatch body style.

Design and Build

The fourth generation Mazda3 borrows its sensual shaping from the evolved version of the brand's 'KODO' design language first showcased on the company's recent 'RX Vision' and 'Vision Coupe' motor show concept cars. And at a stroke, makes almost everything else in the segment look either uninspired, stodgy or over-styled, thanks to clean surfacing and coupe-like lines that are almost startlingly effective in the way that light and shade plays upon the sculpted panels. Choose between hatch or Saloon body styles. At the wheel, it's certainly different, thanks to a minimalistic design that has seen almost every unnecessary ancillary control removed. Only the essentials are left, all of which have a satisfying look and feel and are designed within an elegantly slender dashboard swathed in lovely soft-touch surfaces. Also breaking with convention is Mazda's decision not to use touchscreen functionality for the 8.8-inch centre-dash touchscreen; we agree with them that using the provided 'Comand Control' rotary dial is less distracting for the driver. Less impressive is rear seat accommodation, which can feel a bit claustrophobic thanks to the swept-back styling. And the boot size ids only average by class standards, offering 351-litres of capacity in the hatch; there's 450-litres in the Saloon.

Market and Model

There's not a huge premium to pay to get the Skyactiv-X engine over the less powerful and less efficient Skyactiv-G petrol unit. Prices for the 'X' start at around £23,500 and the cost is the same, whether you want a hatch or a saloon body style. There are four trim levels - 'Sport', 'Sport Lux', 'GT Sport' and 'GT Sport Tech'. There's a choice of automatic or manual transmission available on all models. And if you go for the top 'GT Sport Tech' version with the hatch body and you can have Mazda's i-Activ all-wheel drive system. Standard kit across the range includes high-end technology such as a windscreen projecting colour head-up display with Traffic Sign Recognition, Mazda Radar Cruise Control and LED headlights across the range. Every model in the line-up also features navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and an advanced eight speaker audio system. Even the 'Sport' trim entry point to the Skyactiv-X range has a cabin enhanced with chrome detailing, a frameless rear view mirror and rear privacy glass, while 'Sport Lux' models feature a reversing camera, smart keyless entry and heated front seats. 'GT Sport' sees the introduction of black leather seats with power adjustment, a heated steering wheel and Bose audio, while the range-topping 'GT Sport Tech' features a suite of additional active safety equipment, including a 360o camera and Driver Monitoring System with interior camera.

Cost of Ownership

If you found yourself slightly disappointed by the efficiency returns of the 122PS Syactiv-G petrol-powered Mazda3 model (up to 45.6mpg on the combined cycle and up to 117g/km of CO2) you should be much happier with the potential of this Skyactiv-X variant. Think up to 52.3mpg and 100g/km. From a more powerful 180PS engine; have cake - eat it. It's as simple as that. This comes courtesy of the ground-breaking 'SPCCI' 'Spark Controlled Compression Ignition' system used by the Skyactiv-X petrol unit. This engine is based on the 2.0-litre normally aspirated mild hybrid Skyactiv-G unit. But it can run far leaner than any ordinary petrol powerplant ever could, improving efficiency by up to 30% over the Skyactiv-G, helped by a supercharger which ensures that there's enough air for the clever 'Spark Controlled Compression Ignition' system to function. The result is a set of fuel and CO2 readings that should better those of the alternative conventional 1.8-litre turbocharged Skyactiv-D diesel in regular use. For reference, a Mazda3 Skyactiv-D model manages up to 56.5mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and up to 107g/km of NEDC-rated CO2. But why would you choose it over the more potent, quieter, cheaper to fuel and comparably-priced Mazda3 Skyactiv-X petrol model? Answers on a postcard please.

Summary

Mazda's Skyactiv engine technology is a bit of a mixed bag. The standard Mazda3 petrol model's Skyactiv-G petrol unit isn't particularly noteworthy in terms of either performance or efficiency. And we can't really see why anyone would choose that base petrol unit when not much more money buys the innovative Skyactiv-X 'Spark Controlled Compressed Ignition' supercharged petrol powerplant we've been looking at here, which delivers better efficiency and offers greater refinement and more acceleration. If you can stretch to Skyactiv-X power, you'll apply the finishing touch to a very complete family hatchback indeed. There are some times when looking beyond convention pays great dividends. And we'd suggest that this might well be one of them.

  • Electric front/rear windows with one touch/auto up/down
  • Rain sensing front wipers
  • Privacy glass with dark tinting on rear side windows and rear window
  • Speed adjustable rear wash wiper with intermittent wipe

  • G-Vectoring control plus
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • EBD - Electronic brakeforce distribution
  • Intelligent Traction Control system
  • Hill launch assist
  • Rear smart city brake support
  • DSC - Dynamic Stability Control
  • Electronic parking brake with auto disengage function and auto hold function
  • Front smart city brake support
  • Rear cross traffic braking
  • Mild Hybrid system with regenerative braking

  • E-call with GPS
  • Audio transfer from bluetooth devices
  • Integrated bluetooth with steering wheel mounted controls
  • Mobile App interface
  • Apple car play/Android Auto

  • Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert
  • Intelligent speed assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Emergency stop signalling system
  • Reversing camera
  • Power assisted steering
  • 360 View Monitor
  • Driver attention alert system with camera
  • Lane keep assist system (LAS) with Lane departure warning system (LDWS)
  • Cruising Traffic Support
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control

  • Start/stop button chrome surround
  • Engine start/stop button

  • Service indicator
  • Driver monitoring system
  • Trip computer
  • Head up Display
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • 7" colour TFT display
  • Colour active driving display inc Windscreen projected,Traffic Sign Recognition, turn-by- turn navigation and Mazda Radar Cruise Control information
  • 8.8" Colour centre touch screen display with Mazda Connect infotainment
  • Mazda Navigation System with european mapping
  • Front Cross Traffic Alert
  • Multimedia Commander

  • Door mirrors with adjustable memory and tilt-down function when reversing
  • Frameless auto dimming interior rear view mirror
  • Electrically adjustable/heated/auto power folding door mirrors with integrated indicators
  • Automatic dimming door mirrors

  • Mazda Multimedia System with AM / FM / DAB radio, single CD / MP3 with 12 Speaker Bose sound system, bose centerpoint, bassmatch+audiopilot technology

  • Gloss black rear roof spoiler
  • Rear gloss black lower moulding
  • Piano black window garnish
  • Front body coloured bumper with black/bright lower bezel
  • Gloss black mesh grille
  • Dark metallic finish signature wing

  • Signature LED lights
  • Dusk sensing headlights
  • LED headlamps with auto levelling
  • Coming/leaving home lighting function
  • Adaptive LED Headlights
  • Signature LED rear combination lights with LED rear turn lights
  • Rear fog lights
  • LED third brake light
  • LED indicator lights
  • High beam assist
  • Daytime running lights

  • Dual zone climate control air conditioning

  • Chrome centre bezel steering wheel
  • Folding rear centre armrest with two cup holders
  • Storage - glovebox, driver and front passenger door pockets and roof mounted sunglasses holder
  • Paddle shift controls
  • Front armrest
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Front centre console with storage box with tray, lid + 2 cupholders
  • Tilt/height adjustable steering wheel
  • Chrome-plated glovebox handle
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Illuminated glovebox
  • Leather wrapped gear shift knob
  • USB charging point
  • Electrical power outlet
  • Front passenger and two rear grab handles with coathooks

  • Luggage compartment light
  • Front and rear courtesy lamps
  • LED interior light

  • Seatbelt reminder for driver/front passenger and rear seats
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
  • Front passenger airbag cut-off switch
  • Front and rear curtain airbags
  • 3 point ELR front seatbelts with pretensioners
  • Dual front airbags
  • Front side airbags
  • 3 rear 3 point seatbelts with ELR
  • Drivers knee airbag

  • Three height adjustable rear head restraints
  • Front head restraints
  • ISOFIX child seat anchorage points attached on outer rear seats
  • 60/40 split fold down rear seats
  • 8 way power adjustable driver with door mirror memory and active driving display
  • Power driver lumbar adjustment
  • Front passengers seat manual slide, recline and height adjustment

  • Smart Keyless entry and start
  • Thatcham accredited alarm and immobiliser
  • Auto door lock when driving
  • Remote central locking + deadlocks

  • Driver/passenger sunvisors + vanity mirrors (drivers side with ticket holder)

  • 18" Black metallic alloy wheels

  • Emergency tyre repair kit

  • CO2 (g/km): 120
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low: 182
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium: 132
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High: 121
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High: 151
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 142

  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 12
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: SUPERCHARGER
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 16.3:1
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 83.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 91.2
  • CC: 1998

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 34.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 48.7
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 52.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 42.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 44.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 8.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 5.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 5.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 6.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 6.3

  • Generation Mark: 3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 23E
  • Service Interval Mileage: 12500
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 98
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 87
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 81
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 73
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • Badge Power: 180
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.0
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Coin Series: GT Sport Tech
  • Coin Description: Skyactiv-X MHEV
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12

  • Engine Power - KW: 132
  • Engine Power - RPM: 6000
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 165
  • Engine Torque - NM: 224
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 3000
  • Engine Power - BHP: 180
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): True
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 8.6
  • Top Speed: 134
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 22.8

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2

  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Tyre Size Rear: 215/45 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 18" ALLOY
  • Tyre Size Front: 215/45 R18

  • Width (including mirrors): 2028
  • Height: 1435
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4460
  • Width: 1795
  • Wheelbase: 2725

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1440
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1952
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 51
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 351
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1300
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 600
  • Max. Loading Weight: 512
  • Max. Roof Load: 75
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 865
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.6

  • Metallic paint: £550
  • Mica paint: £550
  • Pearlescent paint: £550
  • Solid paint: Included
  • Special Metallic paint: £790
  • Premium metallic paint: £670

  • Burgundy leather upholstery: £200
  • Leather/vinyl upholstery + front heated with 3 stage setting: Included

  • Metallic - Polymetal grey: £550
  • Metallic - Sonic silver: £550

  • Mica - Jet black: £550
  • Mica - Deep crystal blue: £550

  • Pearl - Snowflake white: £550

  • Solid - Arctic white: £0

  • Special metallic - Soul red crystal: £790
  • Premium metallic - Machine grey: £670

  • Leather - Burgundy: £200

  • Leather/vinyl - Black + front heated with 3 stage setting: £0

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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