Mazda3 1,6

Car (South Africa) - - BUY -

0 to 100 km/h: 12,20 sec Top speed: 188 km/h Power: 77 kw Torque: 145 N.m CO : 164 g/km CAR fuel in­dex: 8,30 L/100 km

2 Mazda’s re­nais­sance be­gan in the mid-2000s with fresh, im­pres­sive de­signs. Some­what over­shad­owed by sib­lings 2 and 5, the pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion 3 found it­self com­pet­ing with the likes of the for­mi­da­ble Volk­swa­gen Golf. The Sport moniker was later in­tro­duced and this sim­ply meant it was the five-door hatch­back as op­posed to the Sedan.

The 1,6-litre en­gine (mated with a five-speed gear­box) is not as ad­vanced as the one in the Toy­ota and so has less power but, then again, less com­pli­cated en­gine in­ter­nals help in con­tain­ing long-term main­te­nance costs.

Model vari­ants are Orig­i­nal, Ac­tive and Dy­namic, with quite a dif­fer­ence in spec be­tween them. The wheel sizes, for ex­am­ple, in­crease from 15 to 16 to 17 inches; cloth turns to leather; man­ual win­dow winders to elec­tric.

Both sus­pen­sion and steer­ing com­fort/feel are not quite up to Auris stan­dards, but both are class com­pet­i­tive.

Boot space is iden­ti­cal to that of the Auris (the Mazda3 sedan of­fers much more; then again, so does a Corolla) and there is suf­fi­cient in­te­rior space for five adults.

Mileages are some­times lower than ex­pected for a car that is usu­ally used on a daily ba­sis, so you may score a bonus here and find one with few kilo­me­tres un­der the belt.

Should you want a new­er­gen­er­a­tion Mazda3, shop round; val­ues have dipped be­low R200 000.

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