The 2019 Mazda3 hatchback will arrive in Ireland in April priced from €26,295

2019 Mazda3 Pricing For Ireland

The 2019 Mazda3 hatchback will arrive in Ireland in April priced from €26,295
The 2019 Mazda3 hatchback will arrive in Ireland in April priced from €26,295

Mazda Ireland has announced pricing and specifications for the new Mazda3 hatchback and saloon. The 2019 Mazda3 is the first of Mazda's next-generation vehicles and reflects the very latest in Mazda’s engineering, design and manufacturing. It's available to order now, with the first cars arriving in showrooms in late April.

The new Mazda3 will go on sale in Ireland priced from €26,295. At launch the Mazda3 hatchback will be available with a choice of 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G (122hp) petrol engine or 1.8 litre SkyActiv-D (116hp) diesel engine. A Mazda3 saloon will join the range in June and will be sold solely as a diesel (from €28,715).

Mazda’s innovative SkyActiv-X, Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine will arrive later in the year.

For Ireland there will be a choice of four trim levels: GS, GS-L, GT and GT Sport for the hatchback, while the saloon will be available as GS, GS-L, Platinum and Platinum Sport.

Standard equipment will include air con, an 8.8-inch colour entertainment screen, 7-inch digital dashboard, window projected colour Active Driving Display, LED headlights with High Beam Control, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with rear traffic alert, E-Call and Lane Keep Assist. Every model in the line-up also features navigation, Apple CarPlay™/Android Auto™ and an eight speaker audio system.

The interior of the new Mazda3
The interior of the new Mazda3

GS-L includes a reversing camera, smart keyless entry and heated front seats, while the GT model is equipped with 18” alloy wheels and a black leather interior. At the top of the range the GT Sport/Platinum Sport sees an enhanced cabin with additional chrome detailing, a frameless rear view mirror, rear privacy glass and Bose® twelve speaker audio system.

GS and GS-L cars feature 16-inch silver alloy wheels, while from GT/Platinum upwards, 18-inch Grey/Silver Metallic wheels feature. Rear privacy glass and piano black window garnish distinguish the top of the range GT Sport/Platinum Sport model.

Mazda’s newest paint colour Polymetal Grey makes its debut on the new Mazda3 (hatchback only).

All trims are offered with both diesel and petrol engines, with a choice between manual and automatic gearboxes.

The 2019 Mazda3 has been built upon Mazda’s next generation of Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. The Skyactiv-G petrol engine now features cylinder deactivation and Mazda’s M Hybrid 24V mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy.

The new Mazda3 will be available with a petrol and diesel engine from launch
The new Mazda3 will be available with a petrol and diesel engine from launch

The Mazda CX-5 range has had a few updates for 2019

2019 Mazda CX-5 Goes On Sale

The Mazda CX-5 range has had a few updates for 2019
The Mazda CX-5 range has had a few updates for 2019

Mazda Ireland has announced a number of changes for 2019 to the popular Mazda CX-5 SUV. The 2019 Mazda CX-5 goes on sale from €29,495.

The CX-5 is now available in Platinum Plus specification, previously reserved for their flagship Mazda6 model. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are also now standard from Executive SE trim.

The Platinum Plus trim adds Nappa leather seats, decorative wooden panels, interior LED lighting, rear heated seats, front ventilated seats and and a 7” digital meter set.

The latest additions to the i-Activesense range of safety technologies include Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, projected Active Driving Display and Driver Attention Alert.

Mazda Ireland M.D. John Perry, said: “Since the launch of CX-5 it has continuously witnessed year on year sales growth in a very competitive segment. This is reflective of the continuously received praise in its segment, aesthetically and as a driving experience. The 2019 Mazda CX-5 with its stunning exterior Kodo design complimented with Mazda human-centric interior design and new Platinum Plus model raises its profile as a segment leader and a true alternative to premium rivals.”

The 2019 Mazda6

2019 Mazda6 2.2 Diesel Review

The 2019 Mazda6
The 2019 Mazda6

Caroline drives the 2019 Mazda6!

The Mazda6 just keeps on evolving and towards the end of 2018 it was time for another update. Arguably the Mazda6 has always been a great example of a large saloon, but to a refined nose the gentle tweaks do keep the car current and fresh.

In 2012, the Mazda6 ushered in a new era with its striking KODO ‘Soul of Motion’ design philosophy. Over the years, Mazda have made some minor refinements but you would have to be eagle-eyed to spot any major styling changes in the Mazda6’s sensuous silhouette.

But we are reliably informed that there is a new ‘3D’ grille with mesh positioned deeper within the surround. The LED headlamps integrate new signature ‘wing tips’ from the grille surround. The lower bumper has also been redesigned for a sleeker profile and an aerodynamically efficient air intake.

At the rear, the 2019 Mazda6 Saloon has a remodelled boot lid, while both the Saloon and Tourer have cleaner rear bumper styling with more body coloured areas. Soul Red Crystal is available for the first time, a deeper and enhanced version of the signature Soul Red the car was launched with.

The interior of the 2019 Mazda6
The interior of the 2019 Mazda6

Inside the 2019 Mazda6

The cabin of the 2019 Mazda6 has also been reworked a little to include upgraded seats, instrument panel, door trim and materials. Can we pause for just a second to appreciate the refined sophistication of the cabin of the Mazda6? It just keeps getting better and better inside the Mazda6 - even more premium. This current iteration is a fine mix of upmarket materials and stylish, refined design. There is an 8” centre screen for infotainment and it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There is space for five inside though the rear legroom does not appear as generous as in some rivals. At 480 litres, the boot comes in a little behind rivals also but by most standards that’s still a lot of space.

In Ireland the updated Mazda6 goes on sale from €31,945 with three equipment levels: Executive SE, Platinum and Platinum+. New features for the 2019 Mazda6 range include ventilated seats, projection active driving display and 360° parking display. The range of i-ACTIVSENSE safety systems now include Radar Cruise Control.

What are my engine options?

Engine options for Ireland include the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D diesel with 150hp or 184hp and the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol engine with 165hp. Both petrol and diesel engines are available with either a manual or automatic transmission. The 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G has been enhanced with new intake ports, new pistons and revised fuel injection and cooling. In its highest output, the popular 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D diesel now produces 184hp (up from 175hp).

The new Mazda6 has some changes to the styling, interior, equipment, engines, suspension and sound proofing
The new Mazda6 has some changes to the styling, interior, equipment, engines, suspension and sound insulation

My test car was a 2.2 diesel manual with 184hp in Platinum+ trim, retailing from €42,865. Active Driving Display with integrated Satellite Navigation, Adaptive LED Headlights and Blind Spot Monitoring come as standard. All models now feature Blind Spot Monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Advanced Smart City Brake Support.

Other features on my test car included leather interior, dual zone climate control, 19” alloys, keyless entry and Bose sound system.

What else is new in the 2019 Mazda6?

Under the skin, Mazda has made some adjustments including suspension fine tuning and component upgrades, designed to improve ride comfort while maintaining the Mazda6’s famed driver engagement. Bump stop characteristics have been revised, the front dampers have increased in diameter and rebound springs have been added, while a new urethane rear damper top mount has been fitted for smoother vehicle behaviour and improved ride quality. The steering knuckles have been lowered for more neutral steering characteristics and rigid mounts now attach the steering gear to the suspension cross-member for a more precise response to subtle steering wheel actions.

Mazda has also made some refinements to improve cabin insulation with thicker body panels, natural sound smoother technology and noise absorbing materials. New vibration absorbing material has also been added to the centre tunnel and the roof lining. A flatter underbody, plus new bumper and engine undercovers claim to streamline airflow under the car, while ducts introduced in place of the fog lights in the front bumper create a flow of air to the front wheels, improving aerodynamic performance. SKYACTIV-G models are also fitted with an active air shutter that closes when the engine does not need cooling to improve real-world efficiency.

The Mazda6 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €31,945
The Mazda6 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €31,945

So what does all this translate to on the road?

Well, it’s all good for the Mazda6. The diesel model tested is super smooth to drive, with a lovely spread of power and works effortlessly with the manual gearbox. The engine is not too noisy and the Mazda6 makes a refined and comfortable long-distance cruiser, with just a whisper of road noise. It’s economical too and over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 5.5/100km.

But the real marvel of the Mazda is just how much fun it is to drive for a large saloon – at times I was having so much fun I thought I might be driving an MX-5! The handling is superb with pleasant agility and steering that’s sharp and communicative.

Refinements to the new Mazda6 raise its profile even more as a segment leader in terms of driving dynamics and cabin ambience. This car is also a true alternative to premium rivals like a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Jaguar XE in my opinion.

The Mazda6 is the large executive car for all seasons: the one you will enjoy driving day in, day out.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Platinum
€42,865 (Range from €31,945)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
184 hp
Torque: 445 Nm
8.5 seconds
Top speed: 227 km/h
CO2 emissions:
124 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

The Mazda6 is the one for posh cabin ambience and driving fun
The Mazda6 is the one for posh cabin ambience and driving fun

Mazda CX-5

Mazda: "European Drivers Still Want The Internal Combustion Engine"

New research by Mazda has revealed that almost 60 per cent of European drivers, see a positive future for petrol and diesel engines.

The Mazda Driver Project research – commissioned together with Ipsos MORI – polled 11,008 people across key European markets and an average of 58 per cent believe there is “a lot of innovation and improvement still to come with petrol and diesel engines”.

The findings arrive as Mazda ramps up its ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ vision to combine the best of internal combustion engines with effective electrification technologies. Central to this ambition is SKYACTIV-X, the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition.

According to Mazda, this new engine "combines the advantages of petrol and diesel engines to achieve outstanding environmental performance, power and acceleration performance".

Mazda Motor Europe’s President and CEO Jeff Guyton said, “The research findings are fascinating. The whole basis of our long-running Drive Together campaign is to celebrate the sheer joy of driving, and it appears that European drivers see a long road ahead for the internal combustion engine – we are working hard to make that road an even better experience for drivers everywhere.

“We recently launched ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’, our long-term vision for technology development.  In it, we set out how we plan to use driving pleasure to help solve issues facing people, the earth and society. In the case of greenhouse gas emissions, we believe it’s necessary to have the right solution at the right time.

For us this means taking a well-to-wheel view, and therefore today’s most rational offering is a combination of internal combustion engines and electric devices which consider each market’s energy situation and power generation methods. In this context, we are determined to perfect the internal combustion engine."

Technical note: Data from the consumer research conducted by Ipsos MORI is based on a survey conducted among 11,008 adults across 11 European markets, with at least 1,000 interviews in each market. All interviews were conducted between 7th – 22nd September 2017. The consumer survey data is weighted to the known population proportions of each country‘s adults by age, gender, and home region.

Mazda MX-5 RF review ireland

Mazda MX-5 RF Review

The Mazda MX-5 needs little introduction being one of the most iconic and influential sports cars of the last 30 years.

There are few cars that are as fun and extrovert as the Mazda MX-5 roadster. With pricing starting from €27,995, the Mazda MX-5 remains utterly desirable for men and women of all ages.

Recently, I test drove the Mazda MX-5 RF. This model ditches the canvas roof for a more sophisticated folding metal roof. In the brochure the RF may just seem like a more expensive MX-5 – it’s priced from €31,495 – but as I found out during my time with this car, it offers much more for the sports car connoisseur.

My test car was finished in exclusive Machine Grey, which shows off the slick fastback styling to great effect. The RF model is altogether more masculine looking. My GT model was powered by a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol unit with 160hp (from €36,695). The Mazda MX-5 RF is also available with the 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with 131hp.

Inside, the metal roof adds more comfort and insulation to the cabin of the Mazda MX-5 RF. The cabin is small and entry and exit can be challenging (!), but once seated there is no doubt you are at the helm of an exciting sports car!

Mazda MX-5 RF review ireland
The interior of the Mazda MX-5 RF

There is the option of tan leather, which adds even more sophistication. There’s no glovebox or door pockets and storage is slim. There is a token 127 litre boot for the shopping or two small suitcases, but this is not a car you buy for space! You buy it for fun!

The dash has a nice layout and the quality is good in the cabin. Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, LED headlights, MZD Connect, cruise control and auto aircon. The 2.0-litre GT is differentiated by 17-inch bright alloys wheels and body coloured wing mirrors. GT models also feature rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, smart keyless entry, 9 Premium Bose® Surround-Sound and heated leather seats.

The 2.0-litre engine roars into life when you press the start stop button and the novelty never wears off thereafter. The 2.0 sounds meaty in the diminutive sports car and it’s pure joy extracting every last rev through the short throw of the excellent 6-speed manual gearbox.

The 2.0 GT adds a limited slip differential as well as Bilstein dampers and strut brace. The car moves beautifully laterally through corners with perfect balance and quick responses. The feedback from the steering is nothing special yet it’s impossible not to feel fully engaged with the car. Sitting low means that you feel like you’re flying all the time and there is a wonderful purity and abandon to driving the MX-5 that can brighten up the dullest of commutes.

Mazda MX-5 RF review ireland
The Mazda MX-5 RF is one of the best sports cars you can buy

The hard top gives the feeling of more security in our harsh Irish winters and adds refinement while not diluting any of the fun. The roof folds back electrically when stationary or at speeds below 10kmh.

The addition of a hard top to the Mazda MX-5 RF is no gimmick and adds a more refined and sophisticated character to the Mazda MX-5. The power and execution of this car makes it an absolute must for anyone looking for a genuine sports car.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda MX-5 RF GT 2.0 SKYACTIV-G
€37,745 as tested (RF range from €31,495)
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Torque: 200Nm
7.4 seconds
Top speed: 215km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax: 
€570 per year

2017 Mazda6 review ireland

Mazda6 Review

2017 Mazda6 review ireland
The 2017 Mazda6

After dropping back the Mazda CX-5, I next picked up a Mazda6 for review. It was interesting to take these two cars back to back because you could consider the Mazda6 saloon now an old-fashioned format. SUVs are very much of the moment, and the CX-5 was certainly very impressive, so how would the Mazda6 follow?

The Mazda6 is one of the best-looking cars in its segment, in particular in the Soul Red signature colour, which shows off the cars flowing lines and elegance to great effect. The Mazda6 has the grandness of a large saloon, and the space to match, with generous accommodation in the front and back. The cabin is robustly made with plenty of soft touch materials that give the Mazda6 an unmistakably premium feel.

For 2017, Mazda has refined the Mazda6 slightly. There is not much to shout about in terms of updates to the design inside and out, but under the skin, Mazda has added something called G-Vectoring Control, more sound insulation and worked on the diesel engine to make it more refined.

In Ireland, the Mazda6 is offered with a 2.0-litre petrol with 145hp and a 2.2-litre diesel (150hp or 175hp). Manual and automatic gearboxes are available.

My test car had the 2.2-litre diesel with 175hp matched to an automatic transmission and it’s close to perfection in terms of power, refinement and the slickness of the automatic gearbox. Though in this combination, the Mazda6 is not cheap – my Platinum trim car has a list price of €38,695 - it’s truly premium levels of refinement in the cabin of the Mazda6.

2017 Mazda6 review ireland
The interior of the 2017 Mazda6

Sitting lower than in an SUV, a saloon like the Mazda6 immediately engages the driver. The Mazda6 is certainly one of the most accomplished large saloons in the handling department. Small movements on the steering wheel control the Mazda6 with ease and the responses are lightning quick. G-Vectoring Control monitors steering and throttle position when you enter a corner under power and for a moment reduces the amount of torque delivered to the front wheels, thereby transferring a fraction more weight onto the front axle which allows the front wheels to turn more precisely. The car grips willingly in corners and body roll is well contained making it a fantastic sporty drive.

On the motorway, the power and flexibility of the 2.2 diesel Mazda6 and the noise isolation in the cabin make it a serene and relaxing experience. The suspension is supple and works well over changeable Irish road conditions.

In terms of pricing, the Mazda 6 range kicks off at €29,295 for a 2.0 petrol and €29,995 for a 2.0 diesel in Executive trim. Standard equipment includes leather steering wheel, cruise control, air con, 7” inch colour screen and front fog lamps.

Executive SE models start from €31,295 and include parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, rear privacy glass, climate control and Smart City Brake Support.

2017 Mazda6 review ireland
The Mazda6 is a super refined and engaging large saloon

Platinum models start from €35,695 and include heated, electrically adjustable, front seats, heated steering wheel, LED headlights and rear lights, Bose stereo, reversing camera and keyless entry.

As a refined long distance cruiser the Mazda6 is faultless, but off the big roads the Mazda6 will engage the driver and flits around corners with style. The improvements in refinement bring the Mazda6 to truly premium levels of ease and comfort, and with the 2.2 diesel under the bonnet, there is power in spades without the diesel clatter. Saloons like the Mazda6 might be an endangered species but the Mazda6 is a joy to drive.

Model tested: Mazda6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Platinum Auto
Price: €38,695 (Range starts at €29,295)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
Torque: 420Nm
8.4 seconds
Top speed: 216km/h
Claimed Economy: 
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€270 per year

Caroline Kidd

2017 Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 First Drive Review

The Mazda CX-5 SUV first appeared in 2012 and quickly established itself as one of the core models of Mazda’s range, accounting for 25% of the company’s global annual sales. Now in 2017, Mazda is launching a new generation of CX-5 that sees significant changes under the skin and in styling, interior design and technology. I travelled to Barcelona, Spain to drive the new CX-5.


The new Mazda CX-5 has been significantly redesigned for a sharper and sleeker appearance. The front-end now has a more confident stance borne from a large grille and slim headlamps. The roof line has been lowered and the C-pillar tapers beautifully to the rear, which has also been redesigned for a more modern and dynamic appearance.  The new Mazda CX-5 comes with 17” or 19” alloys depending on specification and there is a choice of nine body colours including Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey Metallic, both new for 2017.


The interior of the new Mazda CX-5 is comfortable, spacious and very stylish. The horizontal design is elegant and the materials used are of excellent quality. The two tone interiors look very premium. There are plenty of soft touch materials and newly developed decorative panels in the dashboard. Infotainment is provided via a new 7” centre display on the top of the dash that is controlled via a rotary controller on the centre console. This screen is designed to suppress reflections and present a clearer image. The front and rear seats have also been revised to provide better comfort. New equipment includes a power tailgate, heated steering wheel and a head-up display.

2017 Mazda CX-5
The interior of the new Mazda CX-5


The Mazda CX-5 will seat five in comfort. The new car is 10mm longer than the car it replaces and 35mm lower. The wheelbase remains the same and the interior still feels spacious for this class of vehicle. Boot space has been boosted to 506 litres.


In Ireland, the new CX-5 will be available with the 2.0-litre petrol with 165hp and the 2.2-litre diesel with 150 or 175hp. The petrol model is front wheel drive only and comes with a six speed manual gearbox. The 2.2-litre diesel is available in front and all wheel drive form, and with a manual or automatic gearbox. The 2.2-litre 150hp diesel FWD model is the best for economy returning up to 56mpg with a manual gearbox. Motor tax for this model is €280 per year. At the launch, I drove the 2.0-litre petrol and the 2.2-litre 175hp diesel. The petrol engine is smooth and quiet, though its 210Nm of torque is no match for the torquier diesels. The 2.2-litre 175hp diesel is a strong and flexible operator, and very refined.

On the road

Key to Mazda’s engineering philosophy is ‘Jinba-Ittai’, which is a Japanese word describing the synergy between horse and rider. The body rigidity has been stiffened by 15%  and the steering, suspension and brakes have been revised.  Mazda has also introduced G-Vectoring Control to the CX-5 for the first time, as seen on the Mazda 3 and 6, which adds more stability in cornering. The new Mazda CX-5 is an agile and engaging drive, with plenty of grip and well-weighted steering. Refinement has been notably improved and the cabin is now a very serene place to travel in.


There are three trim levels for new Mazda CX-5 in Ireland – Executive, Executive SE and Platinum. The Executive model comes with LED headlamps, 7” colour screen display, Smart City Brake Support, 17” alloys, keyless entry, cruise control, electric windows, air con and electronic parking brake. The Executive SE model adds dual zone climate control, lumbar support, digital radio, parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, LED rear lights and front fog lights. Top of the range Platinum models add rear view camera, heated steering wheel and front seats, leather upholstery, Bose stereo, heads-up display, 19” alloys and an electric tailgate.

2017 Mazda CX-5
The new Mazda CX-5 sees improvements in refinement, styling and tech


The new Mazda CX-5 range starts at €28,995 including delivery charges for the 2.0-litre 150hp 2WD model. Executive SE models start from €30,495 and Platinum models from €34,295. Diesels start from €31,495. All wheel drive models start from €35,995.


Competition for the new Mazda CX-5 includes the Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008, Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.


Mazda has treated this new generation of the CX-5 as more of a refining exercise than one of dramatic change or new direction. But it’s worked and they’ve taken a good SUV and made it more desirable. Though the compact SUV segment is huge, the Mazda CX-5 stands out for its engaging driving dynamics, premium-feeling interior and stand-out exterior styling.

The new Mazda CX-5 SUV will arrive in Ireland in early June 2017.

Caroline Kidd

Mazda museum Augsberg, Germany

Mazda Museum Opens In Germany

The first Mazda museum in Europe – and the only one outside Japan – opens this weekend in Augsburg, Germany.

Frey’s Mazda Classic Car Museum, a project from local Mazda dealer Auto Frey with the support of Mazda Germany, charts the carmaker's almost 100 year history.

The new Mazda museum will house 45 vehicles – vintage Mazdas officially sold in Europe, as well as models only available elsewhere, including a number of rarities from the Frey family’s extensive private collection.

The facility, located in a refurbished Augsburg tram depot dating from 1897, is also equipped with an expansive event area, restaurant facilities and a gift shop.

“Uniquely impressive, the first Mazda museum outside Japan represents a dream come true for the Frey family to share with the public its one-of-a-kind collection of vintage Mazdas from around the world,” commented Mazda Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Akira Marumoto.

Mazda museum Augsberg, Germany
The museum houses 45 classic Mazda cars

Some of the models on display include a 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, 1969 Mazda Luce RX87 and 1992 Mazda RX-7, the top-selling rotary powered model in history.

Other highlights include a 1960 Mazda R360, the company’s first mass-produced passenger car, a 1962 Mazda K360 three-wheeled light truck, a 1966 Mazda Familia 1000 coupé, a 1976 Mazda 616, the first model officially offered in Germany starting in 1973, and the Mazda AZ-1, a mid-engined lightweight sports car from 1992.

The selection will change continually, too, with additional gems from the Frey’s collection of 120-plus vehicles destined for rotation into the exhibit.

Operators also hope the venue will become a hub for vintage Mazda club meetings and classic car events in general.

For more information, see:

mazda3 review ireland

Mazda3 GT 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-D Review

mazda3 review ireland
The Mazda3

The current Mazda3 has been on sale in Ireland since 2014 but has new pep in its step with the addition of a 1.5-litre diesel to the range.

Mazda3 was first launched with a 1.5-litre (100PS) petrol engine and a 2.2-litre (150PS) diesel engine, but the new engine (already seen in CX-3 and Mazda2) is now the most efficient in the range. It will also likely be more pleasing to Irish buyers who tend to feel more comfortable with a smaller capacity engine.

It’s efficient for sure. Mazda say the engine will return up to 74.3mpg with emissions of just 99g CO2, and the car proved frugal during my test drive. But thankfully the Mazda3 is no bore, and the 105PS engine has enough zip to exploit the Mazda’s excellent handling.  This car feels light and agile on the road, aided by a sweet shifting 6 speed manual gearbox and well-judged steering that means that corners can be taken on in one fluid motion that is extremely satisfying to the driver. While there is road noise at high speeds and the whisper of diesel gurgle when hopping on the accelerator, the Mazda3 never feels anything less than a smooth and sophisticated car.

The interior is mature but stylish and easy navigable, and the Mazda ‘MZD Connect’ infotainment system with touchscreen and rotary controller operates like something lifted from a more expensive car.

mazda3 review ireland
The Mazda3 has a stylish interior that is extremely well-finished

The Mazda3 will seat five and rear space is competitive for the class. The boot is 364 litres, which is a little off the very best in the class. And while there is a great bottle shaped space in all four doors, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t conventional door pockets!

Yet door pockets or no door pockets, I couldn’t help but be hooked by the Mazda3. It’s a stylish presence in this segment and without the ubiquity of say the Golf, Megane, Astra, Focus, it feels more exclusive. The entry price into the range is a bit higher than some key rivals with prices for petrol models starting at €22,995, and diesels at €24,695, though standard specification is good including 16” alloy wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors, air con, keyless start, front and rear electric windows, Bluetooth, 7” colour touchscreen and multimedia system and hill hold assist.

Executive SE (from €26,195) adds the likes of front fog lights, auto lights and wipers, bi xenon headlights, LED rear lights, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass, dual zone climate control and cruise control. The GT model on test (from €27,395) had an updated interior with silver dashboard decoration panel, 18” alloys, head-up display, reversing camera, heated front seats and keyless entry.

mazda3 ireland review
The Mazda3 is a car that resonates with head and heart

The addition of the new 1.5-litre diesel to the range means that the Mazda3 can square up nicely to rivals in terms of engine size and despite being a really efficient unit, the Mazda3 is no bore.

However the Mazda3 is a car that really appeals for its grown-up good looks and stylish interior. Hatchback buyers are spoilt for choice but this one really does resonate with the head and the heart.

Model Tested: Mazda3 1.5 SKYACTIV-D GT
€30,290 (Range starts €22,995)
1.5-litre turbo diesel
11 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
€180 per year

Caroline Kidd

mazda 2 irish review

Mazda2 GT 1.5-litre 90PS Petrol Review

mazda 2 irish review
The new Mazda2

Car manufacturers talk a lot about car design as a ‘language’ and they like creating new ones. A new design language is a change in direction in terms of design for a manufacturer’s range of cars and this new look usually gets a premiere with an avant-garde concept that does indeed look gorgeous, sporty and eye-catching.

The promise is always that what you see on a revolving stand in Geneva, Paris, New York, Tokyo or Frankfurt will influence production models.

But by the time the designers get around to restyling the brand’s smallest models, the exciting new design language that took your breath away a few months earlier will be harder to find than an ancient language like Yola.

Somehow the designer’s vision never seems to translate so well when confined within the parameters of what it takes to make a modern, affordable, efficient small car with mass market appeal.

Ah but not so for the new Mazda2. Mazda’s KODO design philosophy has translated really well within the compact frame of the Mazda2  - it’s a bit of a looker, with enough presence on the road to prey on larger cars and eat its peers for breakfast should they find a Mazda2 in their rear view mirror. The inspiration for KODO design is the pent-up energy of an animal about to pounce, so if the Mazda2 looks predatory to you, that’s a success.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: Elegant, compact and sporty...and just a little bit predatory!

My test car (pictured) was finished in Soul Red, which is now a bit of a Mazda signature colour. It carries a small premium over other metallics, but it really shows off the Mazda2’s sculpted curves and creases.

Inside there is a distinctly upmarket, mature and refined flavour to the Mazda2, and it’s not difficult to draw parallels between this and Audi interiors. Granted my test car was in top spec GT trim and the plush quotient was upped a bit by a posh two-tone, cream and black interior . But the combination of the clean, elegant lines of the dash, stylish circular vents,  slick infotainment screen and sophisticated rotary dial commander, gives the Mazda2 serious style. Some European competitors could take some pointers from this.

Mazda2: Cabin is well-finished and very stylish
Mazda2: Cabin is well-finished and very stylish

Though compact on the outside, the Mazda2 is competitive in the small car class in terms of space. It’s comfortable up front, and in the rear, head and leg room is adequate for this class. The boot is 280 litres, which is a bit off say the 330 litres in a Skoda Fabia - but it’s close when compared to the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Opel Corsa. There is a quite a high lip.

There are four trim levels for the Mazda2 in Ireland – SE, Executive, Executive SE and GT - and a choice of a 1.5-litre diesel (105bhp) or a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with two power outputs, 75 or 90bhp. The 90bhp version is exclusively available on GT trim. While many rivals have turned to small turbocharged petrol units in the quest for more power and economy, such an engine is absent from the Mazda2 line-up.

A problem? Well certainly the Mazda2 is small and light so the 90bhp is adequate power and you will hit 100km/h from a standstill in 9.4 seconds. Emissions and economy are on par too - this model has an annual motor tax bill of €190 and will return up to 63mpg.

The power delivery is slightly different however. In the Mazda the power has to build, and the engine can feel a bit flat in higher gears. It’s not that it’s underpowered  - it’s just that you have to search for the power through the gearbox to overtake and you never quite get the same sort of immediacy of throttle response and strong burst of power when you change gear as you would with the help of a turbo.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: Petrol and diesel power options

The Mazda2 balances easy progress, good handling with smooth comfort most of the time, though the manhole covers, potholes and other random bumps and ruts of Irish roads will make themselves known in the cabin.

There is a mature but fun feel to this car – mature in that it feels solid and stable on the road and cruises comfortably without too much intrusion from road and wind noise. It’s fun because of its natural, precise steering and composure through bends. The gearbox has a magnificent sporty action to it through a short throw. Find a series of fast flowing corners and the Mazda2 will change direction and glide around them with confidence and ease - and you will enjoy doing it (if the engine was a bit punchier for exiting those bends we’d be close to small car motoring nirvana!).

An entry level SE model with the 75bhp, 1.5-litre petrol comes in at €15,995 with front electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking, tyre pressure monitor, hill hold assist, steering wheel mounted audio controls and keyless start. Executive trim with the same engine has a list price of €16,995 and adds 15” alloy wheels, electric windows all round, Bluetooth, air con, cruise control and front fog lights.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: Excellent handling and steering for a small car

Executive SE trim comes in at €19,495 for the 90bhp petrol engine and the only automatic option in the line-up. This trim also opens up the option of a 105bhp diesel with a manual gearbox at €22,195. The highlights in terms of equipment are a lane departure warning system, smart city brake and the 7” inch screen for infotainment with a very nifty rotary dial commander and useful shortcut buttons located on the centre console. Top spec GT comes in at €19,495 or €20,595 with the leather and LED pack. This is for the buyer wanting something a little bit more special and the GT certainly delivers with a gorgeous interior that’s well kitted out.

The Mazda2 blends mature elegance with a lighter, fun side. Practicality wouldn’t be a stand-out feature and the engine line-up is not as extensive as some rivals. But the Mazda2 feels like a quality offering in this segment – not only does it have a smart, well-finished interior but it’s also a well-engineered small car that’s good to drive.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: A quality offering in the small car segment

Model tested: Mazda 2 1.5-litre SkyActiv-G 90bhp GT
€21,240 (Range starts at €15,995)
1.5-litre petrol
9.4 seconds
63mpg (4.5l/100km)
CO2 emissions:  
Tax band: 
A3 (€190 per year)

Caroline Kidd