We took the All New Mazda3 GT Sport Tech for a weekend road trip to the Lake District. Driving rain, burst riverbanks and mini waterfalls pouring onto the roadside from the surrounding hills wasn’t quite what we were looking for; but it’s what we got.
The team at Mazda Gateshead waved us off and we were pleased as punch to be in the top of the range GT Sport Tech. There was no wasted time working out the onboard system as we connected effortlessly with Mazda Connect. This infotainment system is the sublime Bose sound system* including 12 speakers. Now with included Digital Owner’s Manual which allows you to quickly confirm any desired information on the new Mazda3’s centre display. Just WOW.
As hatchbacks go, it’s a handsome devil. The new chassis, stronger than before, meant the engineers could take bigger strides in terms of cabin quietness, and as we smoothly drove onto the A1 over crumbling roads, it felt precise and agile before we turned on the A69, perfect for building some speed and getting the sound system on.
Whatever music you’re into Bose and Mazda have worked closely together to study how ‘physics and human emotion could powerfully connect to give you a more intense enjoyment of music.’ However, diverse your playlist is the way it sounds on this system will leave you hovering around the volume control to enjoy single track as if it were the first time, you’d ever heard it.
Deeply integrated into the car, the speakers sound system positions optimally and features BassMatch for incredible bass impact. Synths, strings and melodies float and dance all around you thanks to the unique and clever CentrePoint (Bose® sound system) function. Watch the Bose Video on this here
The elegantly slender dashboard is swathed with soft-touch surfaces, all the switchgear has a satisfying look and feel, there’s a new, larger 8.8in screen for the infotainment system and a partially digital instrument display. It was now time to relax and move into Cruise Control and enjoy some dual carriage way driving bliss.
The weather conditions didn’t start to change well into the journey on the other side of the A69 whilst heading South on the M6. By the time we hit the twisting and ever narrowing A591, the roads were more like rivers. With visibility worsening and concentration needing to be more focussed it was time for the on-board safety system to help out and do its thing.
The i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies give you all-round protection. In conjunction with the ‘heads-up’ display keeping you at the right speed and keeping you going in the right direction, the radar - set at just the right distance when in Cruise Control, keeps you safely breaking behind hard to see traffic ahead. When coming through the little villages on route, one of the other new features is Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system which uses sensors to continually monitor the speed between you and obstacles in front and the closing distance.
As we finally rolled up to Rydal Hall, we turned more than a few heads from the usual SUV tribe even as they were unpacking and hurriedly trying to set up their tents in the constant downpour. We cruised by to our pod and parked neatly under the trees by a raging beck. Even in the mud and squelch of the boggy grass we felt as though we’d arrived in style, yet still felt we belonged.
By Saturday morning, the rain had stopped and the Mazda3 looked rugged under the trees with some mud stylishly splashed up the sides and the wheels turned just slightly as if still ready for action. The action on this occasion was to be under our own steam as we headed off for a day of hiking and climbing the peaks in such of those renowned Lake district views.
By the time Sunday arrived, I’d enjoyed several conversations with people about the Mazda3 and its good looks. A fellow camper and Mazda CX-3 driver even gave it a thorough once over and asked to sit inside remarking that he’d purchased just before the release of the new model. After some classic chat about how Mazda never fails to keep impressing its fans and newcomers to the brand it was time for some beauty shots before hitting the (drier) roads.
In summary, where the 3 will really make its mark, we believe with young families is on the test drive. Even if you don’t consider yourself a petrolhead and wouldn’t be caught watching an episode of Top Gear or The Grand Tour, something about the way the 3 drives will feel just right.
When just pottering to the shops or parking in a tight spot, the Mazda3 has a precise and well-engineered way about it. It glides over crumbling roads, proves quiet at motorway speeds and comes alive on a stretch of winding road. In many respects, it is better to drive than the more established pack of posh (German) hatchbacks.
We appreciate not everyone can take an extended test drive (perks of the job) but Hodgson do provide unaccompanied test drives and fully expect you to press all the buttons and test the features to your hearts content.
In a world where virtually everything can be done online and reviews like this may inform and insight further research, there’s only one way to really experience the magic yourself. Get an appointment and get behind the wheel yourself and drive it.
At an award-winning dealership like Hodgson all you’ll find is enthusiastic teams waiting for you to experience what they (we) already know – Mazda have something very special going on.
*Available on GT Sport and GT Sport Tech models