Bright future Mazda’s new CX-3 efficient, fun and sporty
THERE’S a new crop of pint-sized crossovers changing the shape of the new car market. Generally finding roots in subcompact economy cars, these entry-level cute-utes combine the elevated seating position and available allwheel-drive of a crossover with the efficiency and tidy size of a small hatchback. Pricing starts in the $20,000 range and can creep up and past $30K with all the convenience and technology options available today.
There was a time when vehicle classes were well-defined and the odd segment buster arrived on the scene to shake things up a little. The term crossover was coined to address such vehicles that at once possessed traits of sport-utility vehicles, vans, and wagons.
Things have evolved to the point where crossovers are not the exception but the norm. It’s 2016, after all, and trying to pigeonhole vehicles into segments today is about as challenging (and successful) as herding cats.
It seems as if a new entrant in this ever-evolving and expanding vehicle type arrives every few months. Honda and Mazda are competing head-to-head with their new HR-V and CX-3 respectively. I’ve driven both recently and find the CX-3 to be the hands-down winner.
And I’m not alone: the CX-3 took top honours in its class at the Automobile Association of Canada’s annual Car of the Year competition in the SUV/CUV under $35K class — besting the competition from Honda, Fiat and Jeep.
Of course, there are other entries that fit into this size class or serve to blur the line between the subcompact and compact crossover segments. The
All CX-3 models are powered by a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The four-banger employs Mazda’s Skyactiv technology with direct fuel injection and a high compression ratio more commonly associated with diesel engines. But it’s not a diesel, nor is it a hybrid, or even a turbocharged gas mill. Still, without the aid of these propulsion approaches, this powertrain combination nets fuel consumption figures of 8.8 L/100 km in the city and 7.3 on the highway for all-wheel drive models — nearly identical to those of the less-powerful and CVT-equipped Honda HR-V and appreciably more frugal than the brawnier Jeep Renegade.
Pricing begins at $20,695 for the front-drive GX, with a standard kit list that includes push-button start, 16-inch steel wheels with covers, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel mounted cruise and audio controls, six-speaker audio, a seven-inch touch screen (prepped for navigation accessory), rear-view camera, tilt and telescoping wheel,
Mazda’s new CX-3 is a compact crossover that is easy on the eyes and engaging to drive.