Mazda to shake up crossover sales
WITH more people opting for smaller cars, many SUV buyers are also looking at crossovers instead, and there is no shortage of models that provide both eye-candy and gravel road ability.
The Nissan Juke is still a head turner, the Fiat500X does cute. with aggro and Ford’s Ecosport is rewriting all the rules with sustained demand.
But no crossover has drawn so much attention from those in the know as the Mazda CX3.
Wheels can reveal this compact, but beautifully proportioned mix between sport car and ute will soon be launched in SA — and this will just add to the woes of the factory that already cannot meet demand.
Car Bay in Malaysia reports the CX3 has become so popular in both Australia and the East that Mazda ran out of capacity at the Hiroshima plant and the little ute with the big presence is now also built at the AutoAlliance plant in Rayong, Thailand. It is not yet clear from which plant the South African models will be shipped, but as Mazda states on its website, “there’s never been an SUV that can move you like this.”
In Australia, where the CX3 is already sold, the writers at Car
and Driver said, “The CX-3 steers with precision, corners with aplomb, and scoots down the road with a verve that is almost universally absent among crossovers.
“Toggle the Sport mode and the quick-shifting automatic transmission takes on Porscheesque logic, downshifting as you brake for an upcoming corner.
“Without question, Mazda has built the driver’s car — er, crossover — in this burgeoning segment.”
Mazda states this “natural agility” comes from its Skyactiv technology, which are Mazda’s range of naturally aspirated engines that perform as if they have variable vane turbos.
A unique piston design improves combustion to boost power and lower emissions. Reduced friction liberates extra power, while a 4-2-1 exhaust layout lifts efficiency.
The 4-cylinder engine delivers a sporty 115 kW of power and 204 Nm of torque; using as little as 6.5 litres of fuel every 100 km*.
With no turbo to burn extra fuel faster comes outstanding fuel economy in petrol.
Inside the cabin, Mazda’s call Bluetooth MZD Connect links the car to the Internet.
It is not only a looker either. Under those pumped flanks, an extremely strong body structure integrates SRS airbags ensuring superb protection.
Mazda states the confident grasp on the road that so impressed the scribes Down Under is aided by Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System (TCS).
Innovative Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) brakes feature Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) which matches braking to vehicle load, while Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) boosts stopping power when emergency braking is sensed.
At Barloworld Mazda in Pietermaritzburg, the word is the CX3 is only expected at month end, but customers can already register their interest to be first in line for when this much anticipated crossover arrives.
How the new Mazda will affect the rampant sales of the Ford Ecosport remained to be seen, but in a market where sales are generally expected to be at least eight percent down, buyers with good-condition trade-ins are king and they can expect red carpet treatment at both the Ford and Mazda dealerships.
The Mazda CX3 is will give contenders in the crossover niche a shakeup with excellent handing and those drop-dead gorgeous lines.