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Mazda 3 vs Audi A3 & BMW 1 Series group test

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We pit three stylish family hatchbacks against each other – the Mazda 3, Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Let’s say you’ve got a maximum budget of 22,000 pounds i want a stylish diesel hatchback well you could get yourself an audi a3 sportback a bmw 1 series or and last a3 this is the skyactiv-d sel version of the mazda 3 and it costs from 21,000 145 pounds on the road alternatively for twenty one thousand three hundred and sixty pounds you could have a bmw one one

Six d se or for twenty one thousand four hundred forty five pounds an audi a3 sportback 1.6 tdi se so these three cars are pretty evenly matched on prize but what about performance well i think a little drag race will help answer that question don’t you and just so you know i’m god all – he’s got great start there i know just disappeared into this is a little

Bit embarrassing really this car is just so much faster those day that result was pretty conclusive wasn’t it and there’s actually a very good reason for it you see the master has a 2.2 litre diesel engine with 150 horsepower the bmw has a 2 liter diesel engine only it has 116 horsepower the audi while it only has a 1.6 liter diesel with even less power than the

Bmw now i know what you’re thinking the more powerful mazda must use a lot more fuel than the other team well now actually the bmw returns acclaimed 68.9 miles per gallon and emits 109 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide despite being significantly faster the master also returns 68.9 miles per gallon it is cleaner with emissions of 107 grams per kilometer of

Carbon dioxide the audi however is the most efficient here it returns seventy four point three miles per gallon and emit 99 g/km of carbon dioxide but is this slight improvement over the mazda worth enduring it’s sluggish performance no now it’s time to put the boot in well check out the cars boots as we compare them for practicality and see what they like for

Carrying stuff the audi leads are filled here but once again only by the narrowest of margins it has the largest boot capacity with the seats up and a moveable floor to minimize the load lip and give you a flat low bay with the seats folded the mazda also has a flat floor with the seats folded and the total load volume is the largest of the three cars here but

With the seats up it marginally trails the audi’s boot for space and lacks its useful adjustable floor too you don’t get one with a bmw either plus it has the least volume of the three cars whether the seats are or folded down making the one series the worst having luggage now it’s time to see how rear passengers are catered for and we’ll start with the bmw and

Check it out right okay so actually in here head rooms all right but knee room it’s really limited nothing people over six foot i’m going to find it but it was squeezed back here now as a point of reference i’m 5 foot 11 and we’re going to check out the audi now and see how i fare in the back of this one yep instantly it feels more roomy head rooms good again

Knee rooms much better than in the bmw and i think adults we find the back of this car now in each of these cars i’ve actually put the driver seat in my usual driving position just so we get a fair comparative test now finally the master i should point out that in this guy does have ever so slightly less headroom than the other two because that’s sloping roofline

But it’s not bad i’ve still got plenty of space but knee room is a lot better and overall i have to say this car does feel the slightly more spacious of the 3 the master also feels the most roomy in the front what’s more the cabin looks and feels sporty to sit in while the infotainment display is clear and can be operated by a dial or by touching the screen it’s

Just a shame that the plastic idhaya surrounds look a little bit cheap the bmw also has a very sporty feel though it’s been on sale the longest and the interior design is now starting to look it’s aged still it does feel very well built and the infotainment system is easy to use and the screen nice and clear the audi has a cool pop-up screen unfortunately on this

Se model the low definition display looks old-fashioned other than that though the a threes minimalist interior feels the poshest because all the things you touch just lose quality or should that be perceived quality because actually either three cars here the audi ranked the lowest for reliability in the 2014 or to express driver power owner satisfaction survey

It came 30th whereas the bmw was 12 and the mazda better still in 11th place however in terms of the overall ranking in the survey it was the bmw which fared best followed by the audi and then the master was still came a very respectable twenty fourth in the survey which looks at a wide range of factors including the driving experience so how do these three cars

Drive while this out it’s it’s an impressive all-round package in this particular trim it’s very very comfortable you don’t notice any bumps in the road at all though be warned if you go for the more expensive models the highest spec versions that’s stiffer suspension and bigger wheels and then then you do start to notice the bumps however those who put us over

A twenty two grand budget so i don’t know why mention that sorry just crucian hope the a3 has nicely weighted controls it goes exactly where you point it and the handling is very secure never call it particularly exciting to drive it just goes about its business in a very precise efficient blue palpable fashion it’s a very quiet car – it’s got great sound insulation

It’s just let down in this particular case by the 1.6 litre diesel engine because it’s noisier and rougher than the other engines in the range and so when you accelerate yeah you definitely know you’re driving a diesel and that that just spoils the ambience and what the bmws quite different to drive from the audi as it injects an element of fun into the proceedings

It also stands out in this class for being the only hatch of this size to be rear-wheel drive this setup is designed to give you a more engaging driving experience because the rear wheels they just concentrate on providing the power the front all they have to think about is the steering and as a result the coffee feels nice and responsive it’s sharp and it is fun

To drive despite its sporty setup the bmw suspension still delivers a smooth comfortable ride even on bumpy roads however there are a few things which slightly spoil the driving experience the 1-series is manual gearbox isn’t quite as slick as you’d expect it to be on a car such as this and another thing i noticed is the the pedals are slightly offset so you you

Feel a bit twisted behind the wheel and that’s with the audi the engine when you rev it it’s quite noisy as well like bmw mazda is well known for building cars which are fun to drive regardless of whether they are hatchbacks suvs or sports cars master seems to sprinkle just a little bit of mx-5 magic into every car it makes and quite nicely because i own an mx-5

And the way the three has a snicket ii lovely gear change the brakes have loads of feel and the steering one steering section is really responsive that all just reminds me of how my mx-5 feels to drive for every little input you make no matter how small it is you get a response from the car and it just it just feels alive and agile and i think that if you’re the

Kind of person that enjoys driving you will enjoy driving a mazda 3 but is it more fun than the rear-wheel drive bmw well it’s a close call but in this particular case the masters more powerful engine just gives it the edge as with the other two cars this mazda 3 isn’t 100% perfect but then you know nothing in life is is it and in terms of the downsides well while

The ride is generally comfortable it deals well with lumps and bumps and you know the seats are really nice you do notice that everyone knows broken service is it it does fidget around a little bit compared to the audi which is a little bit more composed however i take that kind of that feeling of being connected to the car over the numbness of the audi any day

Because this is a rival i think it’s a more pleasurable car to drive one thing that i do notice though is that this master 3 doesn’t seem quite so well insulated from outside noise as the two germans but once again it comes back at the other t with its engine which is so much quieter if at the way this revs how smooth it is i mean listen economy here in kenya it’s

It’s actually like you’ve got a petrol engine or a diesel and it makes the other two sound like they’re running on gravel in terms of safety the three cars are closely matched however with its smart city brake support fitted as standard across the entire range the master is the only car here which can automatically apply its brakes at low speeds to minimize the

Impact if it thinks the collision is imminent you can pay extra for a similar system on the audi but what’s not available on the bmw and that brings us onto equipment which is a bit of an on contest really as the master three wins hands down this sel version of the mazda 3 comes loaded with standard kit for instance it’s got climate control of gods in on headlamps

There’s rear parking sensors there’s folding side mirrors there what i’ve got an auto dimming rear view mirror and handy on a day like today we’ve got heated seats now if you want the bmw with the same amount of kit as this mazda you’re going to have to fit some options in fact you enough to fit around 2,500 pounds worth of options in the case of the audi you’re

Looking at around 3 grams worth of options and don’t forget about the performance test earlier you’ll need to spend even more on the two germans if you want them with the more powerful engines to match the masters and that rather neatly puts things into perspective these three cars are all very good however just over 21,000 pounds this master 3 2.2 litre diesel

Sel is just so much better value than the bmw 1 1 6 d se and the audi a3 sportback 1.6 liter tdi now i should point out that the two germans will hold their value better come resale type done the mazda but then allah put you off because overall what you’re getting for your money in the first place with the mazda 3 is just too hard to ignore

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Mazda 3 vs Audi A3 & BMW 1 Series group test By Auto Express