CROSS­OVER HEAVEN: MAZDA CX-3 BLENDS SMALL CAR EF­FI­CIENCY WITH SUV STYLE

While other crossovers pro­claim their strengths from the rooftops, Mazda’s ex­cel­lent CX-3 has been qui­etly gath­er­ing plau­dits ... and market share

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY PAUL CON­NOLLY

KEY DE­TAILS Some might find it hard to be­lieve, but there are 18 mod­els in the line-up for the Mazda CX-3 series.

Rang­ing from a well-equipped en­try level car to a highly-specced and tech-laden Sport Nav ver­sion, the lat­est small cross­over from the in­no­va­tive Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer has a very wide range of choice in­deed.

Based on the same plat­form as the very com­pe­tent Mazda2, the CX-3 has only been with us since 2014 and so is a very mod­ern ve­hi­cle in terms of spec and road man­ners.

It has per­formed well of late, in­clud­ing bag­ging a not in­con­sid­er­able num­ber of awards. LOOKS The CX-3 is a fully paid-up mem­ber of Mazda’s Kodo: Soul of Mo­tion de­sign signature – which means it gets the signature ‘wing’ front grille, sharp de­sign lines and ‘preda­tory’ head­lamp styling.

The CX-3’S sweep­ing a-pil­lars and coupe-like pro­file give it a sporty stance on the road, yet with a 50mm higher ride height than the Mazda2 – al­low­ing that more com­mand­ing view of the road favoured by SUV cus­tomers.

EN­GINES & TRANS­MIS­SION As well as fea­tur­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, all mod­els in the CX-3 range fea­ture Mazda’s Sky­ac­tiv en­gine tech­nol­ogy.

Sky­ac­tiv is the com­pany’s brand name for new en­gine tech­nolo­gies first seen on fore­courts from 2011-12.

They pro­duce im­proved en­gine out­put while also in­creas­ing fuel ef­fi­ciency com­pared to Mazda’s pre­vi­ous suite of pow­er­plants.

The Sky­ac­tiv suite in­cludes new en­gines, trans­mis­sions, body, and a new light­weight chas­sis as well.

As is usual, you get petrol and diesel en­gine choices. The Sky­act- G 2.0-litre petrol unit comes in ei­ther 120ps or 150ps ver­sions.

It’s avail­able in all trims, with both Sky­ac­tiv-mt man­ual and Sky­ac­tiv -Drive au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, the 120ps en­gine with front-wheel drive

makes up the bulk of the line-up.

Head on up to the top of the range, the 150ps en­gine is matched ex­clu­sively to all-wheel drive (AWD), and a six-speed man­ual gear­box in Sport Nav trim.

The 1.5-litre diesel en­gine out­puts 105 ps, claims an of­fi­cial fuel econ­omy of 70.5 mpg and is of­fered with both man­ual and au­to­matic gear­boxes.

MODEL RANGE There is a five-level trim struc­ture to the CX-3 that will be fa­mil­iar to many Mazda own­ers – SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav.

En­try level SE ve­hi­cles are well specced, with a 7-inch colour touch­screen, DAB ra­dio, Blue­tooth and a mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel.

At the top of the range, the Sport Nav model comes with an abun­dance of good­ies in­clud­ing the best en­gine, all-wheel drive, op­tional Stone leather,

Three years free Euro­pean map up­dates, Bose sur­round sound and Mazda’s Ac­tive Driv­ing Dis­play head-up dis­play sys­tem.

SAFETY AND SPACE Mazda has long thought about safety tech­nol­ogy and the CX-3 is well ser­viced in this re­gard.

The Sky­ac­tiv body is light­weight, rigid and crum­ples cor­rectly in an ac­ci­dent.

Pro­tect­ing the cabin and its oc­cu­pants is a full com­ple­ment of stan­dard airbags in­clud­ing cur­tain airbags.

As it’s a com­pletely new car, there is a good range of the kind of driver as­sists and safety fea­tures which all man­u­fac­tur­ers are now rush­ing to in­stall in their ve­hi­cles.

Mazda’s i-ac­tivsense safety sys­tems in­clude Hill Hold As­sist, Tyre Pres­sure Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem and Dy­namic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol as stan­dard across the range.

Step up to SE-L and Sport Nav mod­els and you also get Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing and Smart City Brake Sup­port.

There’s a 350-litre boot – not bad as it’s based on a su­per­mini – but it opens up to pro­vide a

A flex­i­ble cargo board boot floor, which can be lifted to pro­vide a flat load space when the stan­dard 60:40 split fold rear seats are down.

SUM­MARY Add in Mazda’s lat­est cabin with user-friendly de­sign and bet­ter use of qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, and you ar­rive at a very de­cent pack­age in­deed that makes great use of the com­pany’s lat­est tech, en­gines and de­sign at­tributes. The range is priced from £17,595 to £24,695 on-the-road

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