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2022 Mazda 3 Astina Review

With many manufacturers either moving to compact SUVs and ditching the sedan or hatchback segment, it's nice to see manufacturers like Mazda still sticking it out and offering customers hatchbacks which are premium and good-looking. We spent time sampling the handsome, athletic, and nicely equipped Mazda 3 hatchback in its Astina trim and we are happy to report that it gives drivers a lot of car for the money.

The range kicks off at R409,600 with the range-topping the Astina model we had on test coming in at R538,200. On the exterior, it looks incredible well-optioned and the black exterior elements including the grille surround, wheels, side skirts and door mirror caps give it an incredible kerb appeal. The distinctive hatch shape does however impact visibility and this is due to its curvaceous design.

Inside, it is well appointed and extremely exemplary. Quality materials throughout the cabin, attention to detail with seats that are not only comfortable but support both the driver and the passenger. We also like the driving position; everything is within view and the ergonomics are on par. Despite our praise for the front seat, the back seat is cramped. It has just enough headroom but is a bit cramped regarding legroom and shoulder room. The 8.8-inch infotainment is not touchscreen and this is for safety reasons. We have become accustomed to this system as Mazda offers it in most of the products we have tested. It might be infuriating at first, however, it does get better with time. It is also Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible. 

The driver's display is somewhat a letdown, still offers the analogy display and we felt that should it have been digital, it would look much sleeker. This is not to take away from the level of information that the driver has access to. The Mazda 3 Astina comes equipped with a 12-speaker BOSE sound system which we have always advocated for in all Mazda products we have sampled. It is simply amazing. The boot then comes in at 358 litres, less than the model it replaces.

While the interior is amazing, the issue we had was the rear visibility, as we previously mentioned. It has a small rear window and large blind spots caused by the side pillars at the back. Despite proper mirror placement, backing out of a parking spot always requires more concentration and awareness than it should.

The Mazda 3 is powered by a Skyactiv-G 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine that delivers 121kW/213nm of torque via its 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine does tend to drone a bit and we felt that a turbocharged engine could have done the trick. The ride also transmits most bumps and vibrations into the cabin. However, when driving the Mazda 3, you need to control your right foot. When driving enthusiastically, the engine's shortcomings are exposed and fuel consumption rises. Despite Mazda's claim of 6,3 litres per 100 kilometres, we managed 7,4 litres per 100 kilometres during our tenure with the model.

Overall - the Mazda 3 is a looker, offers a great value for money and we think it should be on your list should you be looking for a hatch. The only worry is the naturally aspirated engine which we think needs to be replaced with the turbocharged one, we think that will make the Mazda 3 an amazing hatch.


Mazda3 1.5L Active 6MT 5-Dr R409,600
Mazda3 1.5L Dynamic 6MT 5-Dr R425,700
Mazda3 1.5L Dynamic 6AT 5-Dr R440,000
Mazda3 1.5L Individual 6MT 5-Dr R479,500
Mazda3 1.5L Individual 6AT 5-Dr R493,900
Mazda3 2.0L Astina 6AT 5-Dr R538,200

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