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
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