Priced from $25,490 drive-away (or $27,490 as an auto) the i30 undercuts its main rivals. At the top of the model range, the acclaimed i30 N is an outstanding drive, but if the budget doesn’t stretch to $50,000, the punchy N-line model is a great pick, loaded with excellent safety and tech features, a turbo engine and snappy dualclutch automatic at a price that won’t break the budget.
Stylish inside and out, the Mazda3 offers more choice than the majority of cars in this class. You can have it as a sedan or hatchback, with an automatic or manual transmission, and a broad choice of engines including 2.0-litre and 2.5litre petrol models, a new mild hybrid and a clever high-compression Skyactiv-x version at the top of the range.
Priced from about $30,000 to $47,000 driveaway, every model is loaded with an impressive array of safety features and all are sweet to steer. Impressively composed on the road and impeccably finished in the cabin, the Mazda3 hatch is let down by noisy engines and compromised visibility from the rear seats.
Otherwise it is gorgeous to look at and very easy to recommend.