You stare down the barrel of a trio of instrument cowls: a clear, classic speedometer flanked by digital screens showing engine speed and a fuel gauge. It can be no coincidence that both the digital screens are harder to read than the speedo, though, with the rev counter seeming particularly small.
The cabin is spacious, with plenty of legroom and quite a long boot. The fly in the ointment for those looking for class-leading practicality is a result of the lowered roofline.
It doesn’t impact on headroom in either row, but the Mazda 3’s boot is a bit shallower than the class average from floor to roof, by about 50mm. At least it’s the dimension you’re least likely to fill on a regular basis.
Much as we found of both the CX-5 and the 6, the 3’s cabin quality is good for the most part. The roll-top dash and upper parts of the doors are slush-moulded, but the plastics get hard and scratchy below the gloss black trim that bisects the fascia laterally.