Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003 Mazda celebrated twenty years of success across four generations with their ‘3’ model which has achieved over six million global sales.

The fourth and current generation Mazda 3 saw the debut of Mazda’s groundbreaking Skyactiv-X Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) petrol engine technology, now updated to e-Skyactiv X it sits alongside the e-Skyactiv G engine in the line-up, both of which feature Mazda M Hybrid 24V mild-hybrid systems.

Since the launch of the current generation of Mazda3, 17,847 have been sold in the UK, bringing the cumulative UK sales total for Mazda3 to 171,335 cars.

Commenting on the Mazda3’s 20th anniversary, Mazda Motors UK, Managing Director, Jeremy Thomson, said: “the Mazda3 has been a mainstay of our sales success and customer retention for nearly all of my time at Mazda UK, it’s combination of quality, style and driver engagement has always made it stand out in a very competitive sector.

“While the growing popularity of SUVs has changed our sales mix over the years, the popularity of the Mazda3 with our customers and dealers remains strong, highlighting what an important car it is in our line-up”.

Adding, “the SPCCI technology found in the e-Skyactiv X engine is part of our multi-solution approach to powertrains and sustainability. With its connectivity and interior screen upgrades, the 2024 Mazda3 continues to be one of the best looking, highest quality and most generously equipped hatchbacks in the market, while the stylish Mazda3 Saloon is a competitor in the compact executive saloon market. With five new model grades, there remains a lot choice across the range for customers to get the Mazda3 they want.”

To celebrate, I spent a week with the updated 2024 Mazda3 in ‘Exclusive-Line’ trim with an on-the-road price (including £810 paint upgrade) of £26,745.

Equipped with the 2.0 e-Skyactiv G Petrol featuring Mazda M Hybrid, this Mazda3 produces 122ps with 213Nm of torque allowing a 0-62mph sprint in 10.4 seconds. With a top speed of 122 mph, a combined return of 50.4 mpg is claimed. And depending on use, should be achievable.

Available as a Hatchback or Saloon, Mazda3’s pricing starts from £23,945 and £29,245 respectively. As the most popular model on our roads, and that tested, I’ll focus on the Hatchback model.

The entry level ‘Prime-Line’ sets the bar high with many attractive features that come standard in every Mazda3, such as our Mazda M Hybrid system and colour Windscreen-Projected heads-up display, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto.

The ‘Centre-Line’ priced from 25,045 adds additional comfort with heated front seats and dual zone climate control air-conditioning. QI Wireless smartphone charging dock also features.

Priced from £25,545 the ‘Homura’ ignites your passion with exciting details that enhance the sophisticated design, such as black door mirrors, privacy glass, 18-inch alloy wheels in black, along with a sporty black interior featuring red stitching.

The ‘Exclusive-Line’ which is priced from £26,745 offers an extra touch of elegance with 18-inch alloy wheels, Adaptive front LED headlights, and a premium 12-speaker Bose sound system.

A range-topping ‘Takumi’ sits atop the 2024 Mazda3 range and starts from £29,145, adding luxurious Black or Burgundy leather seats, heated steering wheel, front wiper de-icer and a birds-eye view 360-degree view monitor.

Mazda3’s unmistakable design is sleek and stylish, and I actually think it looks best in Saloon guise. Inside, Mazda Connect allows seamless phone connectivity, and the 10.25-inch screen is perfectly placed at eye level. Infotainment is controlled via the multimedia commander in front of the gear stick which, after adapting to its place and use, is simple.

As a family car, the Mazda3 boot is suitable for the needs of most. But don’t expect to fit a large buggy within. 60:40 split bench rear seats allow for the odd bulk run to the recycling centre. Rear seating can feel cramped, so long drives with four adults could become uncomfortable.

The lower powered engine, as tested, doesn’t excite in any way. But what it lacks in guts, the Mazda3 makes up for with a chassis that offers an engaging drive. Pair this  great handling with the higher powered engine and you have a great package.

Should you need an automatic gearbox, it’s available on most trims and you can expect to pay around £1,500 extra. A more powerful e-Skyactiv X engine produces 186ps with 240Nm which will see you from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds with a combined return of 52.3 mpg. Expect to pay around £1,000 more for the higher-powered engine.

Mazda offer a 3-year / 60,000-mile warranty. With servicing at 12,500 miles or 12 months (whichever comes sooner).


Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.