The Three Amigos

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LOOKING around us on today’s roads, the vast majority of vehicles seem to be the mid-sized family hatch. The reason for this is obviously that the niche suits most people’s needs the best.
Because the likes of the VW Golf, Mazda 3, or Ford Focus can be utilised – in their many guises – by boy racers, mums and dads, Auntie Ethel or Stig Blomqvist alike, we take a look at how they compare.
The Mazda3 is a better looking car than the Focus or Golf. Economy-wise it’s reasonably cheap to run as well, in no small part due to its efficient SKYACTIV engine.
Pros and cons are: it’s cheap to run, looks great, and fun to drive. But the entry- level engine lacks power, it’s quite expensive to buy, and the boot space is smaller than some rivals.
The Volkswagen Golf has always been the benchmark of this group. Available as the bigger Golf Plus and the practical Golf Estate, we looked at the more familiar shape.
The car that has had more regenerations than Dr Who, scored highly for build quality, performance and refinement; however, it goes to the back of the class for pricing and ‘fun factor’.
The pros and cons are: high-quality interior and efficient engine, which will hold its value. But it has unexciting looks and is expensive to buy.
The Ford Focus is typically the default family hatchback. It’s the best car to drive in its group. The Focus is well equipped, and offers a wide range of fuel-efficient engines.
In summing up then, the Mazda3 is a stylish and entertaining family hatchback that’s cheap to run, while the Ford Focus offers a superior engine range and safety level.
But the lacklustre Golf is better by way of build quality, reliability, and performance. The choice is yours!
Large distribution networks and numbers of local garages mean cheap spare parts and having it serviced is very easy. This could be handy, and the reason some choose against the Focus.
The previous generations of the model haven’t been quite so reliable or well made. But the current one looks to be a big improvement.
The Euro NCAP has awarded the car its maximum five-star rating for crash protection, and the safety equipment includes front, side and curtain airbags, lane-departure warning and a driver tiredness monitor, amongst other features. Which brings the Focus up to the levels of the others in its class.

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