MAZDA3 enjoyed a refresh in July 2016 with a couple of game-changing upgrades, especially in safety systems, which have more than compensated for its slight price rise. Significant features such as an autonomous braking system and, in the Maxx’s case, blind spot monitoring are included too. One of the other changes was applying Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control philosophy which utilises engine torque control to improve vehicle behaviour during cornering, which really pays off in the handling capabilities of the Mazda3, and also ride quality. And it’s on the road where Mazda’s Kodo (‘Soul of Motion’) design starts to make sense because it all starts to work together, making the drive for this class of car one of real enjoyment. The Maxx also receives a reversing camera, rear cross-traffic alert, satellite navigation, digital radio, electric-folding mirrors, LED fog lights and Mazda’s MZD Connect central multi-function control system/screen. From the moment you take the driver’s seat, there’s a strong impression of build quality, attention to detail and finish. And if it weren’t for a low warranty and dealer access score, Mazda3 would have had a shot at winning this price-sensitive class.