It’s a long time since buyers of new cars were urged to treat their engines with restraint during the initial period of ownership. Included in the glovebox was literature underlining the fact that a gentler approach to driving would result in a significant extension of engine service life. Drivers were recommended to follow a ‘running in’ process that called for motors to remain lightly stressed and revs to be kept relatively low during the all-important first 1,000 miles of motoring. And even when that distance had been covered, good practice called for the accelerator to continue to be treated as though there was an egg underneath it and that the temptation to enjoy the delights of the full extent of power should be resisted until another 500 miles of steady progress had passed by.
Thanks to huge improvements in manufacturing processes, new materials and the introduction of superior oil technology, such extreme levels of tender loving care are no longer thought to be necessary, although engines still tend to loosen up with use and diesel motors, in particular, operate with a little more smoothness as the mileage increases.
Despite being notably refined when it arrived and making so little noise overall that you’d be forgiven for thinking it ran on unleaded, the motor under the bonnet of our Mazda3 has undoubtedly been going about its business with still more refinement ever since the mileage recorder clicked past the 10,000 mark. I’m also noticing that strong and unruffled acceleration is now possible from 45mph, rather than 50mph, in top gear, which suggests that components are bedded in, and are delivering optimum performance.
Economy is the other indicator that the car is beyond the running-in stage, and 65mpg, the average figure from the last two fuel top-ups, is showing an improvement of one mpg compared with the figure in my previous report. Despite still being some way off the 74.3mpg official figure, it’s getting closer, and a good result from a wide range of real-world motoring conditions. But who knows, it could improve still further over time. As my friend pointed out, after averaging around 45mpg for the best part of 120,000 miles, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor in his trusty Vauxhall Vectra has been returning on the better side of 50mpg over the last 10,000 miles!
Important as it is these days, fuel frugality is not the only reason why I’m appreciating our attractive Eternal Blue test model, which certainly offers high value transport for family and business use. This car has space and comfort for four ñ or five at a pinch, although the centre spot on the rear seat is more suitable for younger occupants ñ and comes with sufficient room for luggage in a versatile package. The car’s stylish hatchback bodywork is finished to a high standard and its SE-L Nav specification provides plenty of equipment to keep the driver happy ñ in addition to feeling more than a little smug as the average economy read-out figure keeps on rising…
Date arrived 28th November 2016
Fuel economy 48.7mpg (combined) 41.5mpg (on test)
The privacy glass for the side and rear windows looks smart.
There’s no supply of cooled air to the glovebox to chill drinks, for example.