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Mazda 3 G20 Evolve hatch 2019 review


Somehow the Mazda3 is a car that caters to families. New ones anyway. True story: Right before I had my first baby, we bought a Mazda3.

Weirdly enough, I know a bunch of other couples who also did this. So what is it about this car that makes it work for singles, couples, and new families? 

This new generation Mazda3 looks rather swish and comes in two engine sizes, I was in the smaller, cheaper version - the G20 Evolve model. It’s second from the bottom of the range and costs $27,690 before on-road costs and any extras which puts it in competition with cars like the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30. Here’s how it did over a week with my family of four. 

What does it look like?

The Mazda 3 has had a proper makeover and I didn’t recognise it at all. With an elongated nose and an elegant, bubble shaped rear, it looks sophisticated, modern and very expensive.

Mazda has a knack for churning out great designs that look more premium than the price would let on. You definitely feel good driving this car. 

  • Mazda has a knack for churning out great designs. Mazda has a knack for churning out great designs.
  • The Mazda 3 it looks sophisticated, modern and very expensive. The Mazda 3 it looks sophisticated, modern and very expensive.

Because the exterior is so swish, the interior of the Evolve G20 model is not as impressive as the outside, probably because of the fabric seats.

They are smooth and soft though, not scratchy which is important on a comfort level. There is a leather steering wheel which feels great under the hands, and a leather gear shifter. The dash is made from smooth, soft, faux leather and adds a stylish touch

The centre console is nicely designed in a high-gloss finish, everything has been pared back and is simple to use, with Mazda’s circular knob behind the gear stick to control the multimedia screen. 

How does it drive?

I’m in the Mazda 3 G20 Evolve, which is the smaller of the two engines on offer at 2.0 litres (there’s also the G25 at 2.5 litres). For me, driving around suburbia, picking up the kids and going to work, this was enough.

It has that signature Mazda zip so takes off quickly from a starting position and got up hills perfectly fine. It’s also very smooth, I barely felt a bump on the road.

Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making 114kW/200Nm. Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making 114kW/200Nm.

I haven’t driven the G25 so can’t compare the two, but was quite happy cruising along in this car all week. 

It has a very clear, high definition reverse parking camera with parking guidelines which help you easily park the car, and because of the size, the turning circle is quite small so it was good to do more U-turns than when I’m driving an SUV

How spacious is it?

Look, it’s not enormous, you are in a small car that hasn’t been designed with families in mind, but it is adequate enough for a family - a small one.

In the front there was enough leg and head space for me and my taller husband, but there wasn’t room to spare. 

The back was big enough for me at 161cm, I could sit perfectly fine behind my driving position, but if there was a tall person driving plus a tall person sitting behind them I can see where things would start to get squishy. My two children aged five and seven had enough room. 

  • In the front there was enough leg and head space for me and my taller husband. In the front there was enough leg and head space for me and my taller husband.
  • The back was big enough for my two children aged five and seven. The back was big enough for my two children aged five and seven.

If you are fitting a baby capsule in, there is enough space, but the front seat will have to go forward, leaving the person in the passenger seat with not much legroom. You can fit though - it is doable, it’s just a positioning of the legs thing. 

The boot has shrunk with this new design, down to 295L (from 308L), however it still fits the CarsGuide pram which is particularly bulky and doesn’t actually fit in Mazda’s small SUV offering, the CX-3.

  • The boot now has 295 litres of space compared to 308L of the previous model. The boot now has 295 litres of space compared to 308L of the previous model.
  • Despite the smaller size, it still fits a pram. Despite the smaller size, it still fits a pram.

We would always recommend you testing the pram you’re about to buy in the boot of your car to make sure it fits, however. This car fits the pram with room to spare for groceries or school bags on top. 

How easy is it to use every day?

While it’s not kitted out with functional extras, there are still the handy basics: two cupholders in the front, a spot to stash keys and a phone and a large centre storage bin for this size car.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest, pockets on the back of the front seats and there are bottle holders in each door.

There are also air vents in the back which is handy in Australia’s hot climate.

The boot is a good height to lift groceries into and the doors open a decent amount so you can get big boxes in if you need to.

Speaking from past experience, it does get annoying to constantly bend down and put the baby capsule in such a low car rather than an SUV, and this was eventually the reason we upsized to an SUV.

My taller husband just found it more convenient, but I do know families who pushed through this stage and now are fine because they don't need to do kids' seat belts up anymore. 

How safe is it?

This generation Mazda3 hasn't been ANCAP tested yet, but it has all your safety bases covered. For advanced safety you have auto emergency braking which works forward and backward, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert as standard across the whole range, which is excellent. 

There are also two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit kids car seats in safely.

What’s the tech like?

Mazda has introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which means you can plug your phone into the USB point in the centre storage bin and be instantly connected to the main apps on your phone.

The centre console is nicely designed in a high-gloss finish, everything has been pared back and is simple to use. The centre console is nicely designed in a high-gloss finish, everything has been pared back and is simple to use.

Use maps to navigate or Spotify to listen to music/podcasts. There’s also voice control which allows you to make calls and send texts without touching your phone.

Note, the multimedia screen is not a touchscreen but easily controlled with the large knob behind the gearshift. Still I do prefer a touchscreen. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Mazda3 G20 Evolve hatch starts at $27,690. The premium paint job pictured here in 'Polymetal Grey' costs an extra $495 with floor mats at $195, totaling $28,380.

Fuel consumption is a fairly average 6.2L/100km

It’s covered by Mazda’s five year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is recommended every 12 months/10,000km.


The Wrap

While it’s not a traditional family car, the Mazda3 G20 Evolve has good appeal for younger families or those about to be a family. And while it doesn’t have an enormous amount of space if you’re growing very tall children, the space is just adequate for young families. 

This new generation Mazda3 looks fantastic from the outside, has all the safety you’d want as standard and good tech, plus it’s a lovely car to drive. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10, and the kids did too - there weren’t any complaints from my mini-me car critics this week!

Likes

Exterior design
Smooth drive
Advanced safety

Dislikes

Not huge for growing family

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$27,690

Based on new car retail price

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