Mazda makes life eas­ier

Carmarthen Journal - - Motoring - IAN DON­ALD­SON

MAZDA has made life easy for any­one want­ing a diesel en­gine in the new lightly made over CX-3 SUV range; there’s just one ver­sion to choose from.

In which case, you’ll be pleased that it comes in full bells and whis­tles trim and with a slightly larger en­gine in pur­suit of mak­ing the car bet­ter to drive and more eco­nom­i­cal at the same time.

At which point the plot thick­ens, for com­par­i­son be­tween old (1.5-litre) and the new 1.8litre diesel model is made pretty near im­pos­si­ble be­cause the way car mak­ers must mea­sure things has just got tougher.

So, on pa­per, the new en­gine is ac­tu­ally less eco­nom­i­cal (64.2mpg v 70.7mpg) and puts out more CO2 (114g/km v 105g/ km) from its tailpipe than be­fore.

That fog of fig­ures prob­a­bly means you’ll see about the same real world econ­omy, with some­thing the right side of 50mpg com­fort­ably pos­si­ble.

And there’s no de­bate about the ex­tra per­for­mance gained with a horse­power hike from the new diesel en­gine, now pro­duc­ing 115hp in­stead of 105hp, up­ping top speed from 110mph to 114mph and tak­ing a frac­tion off the 0-62mph time, now 9.9 sec­onds, down from 10.1 sec­onds.

But enough of fig­ures; the re­vised CX-3 range - which will mostly see petrol pow­ered cars emerge from the show­room - has been given a mod­est re­fresh on the out­side (new grille, dark­ened side pil­lars) and a more thor­ough go­ing over in­side.

The old con­ven­tional hand­brake is re­placed by an elec­tronic ver­sion, al­low­ing the ro­tary con­trol for func­tions like sat nav to be made more eas­ily reached. Some driv­ers will mourn the loss of the DIY park­ing brake, even if no­body uses ei­ther ver­sion th­ese days.

Ex­tra sound­proof­ing and sub­tle changes to the sus­pen­sion have the twin aims of hush­ing progress in­side and mak­ing the car feel a bit more re­ac­tive to a driver’s com­mands - not some­thing the old CX-3 was no­tably lack­ing in any­way.

All this is hap­pen­ing as Mazda cuts the CX-3 range to just eight mod­els, start­ing at £18,995 for a 2.0-litre 121 horse­power SE Nav+ with two-wheel drive and top­ping out at £24,995 with an all-wheel drive Sport Nav+ 2.0litre 150 horse­power with petrol en­gine.

There is room for but a soli­tary diesel, in the shape of the £22,895 2WD Sport Nav+, wav- ing good­bye to the old op­tion of auto gears and all-wheel drive.

That top trim level brings a well equipped car, with an eas­ily pro­grammed and clearly pre­sented sat nav sys­tem, equally clear re­vers­ing cam­era, head up dis­play with speed and sat nav di­rec­tions in the driver’s line of sight, heated steer­ing wheel and front seats, Bose au­dio and 18-inch al­loys.

Out on the road the car is cer­tainly never loud enough to no­tice after the re­cent at­ten­tion to its sound­proof­ing, even when stirred along en­thu­si­as­ti­cally with the best man­ual gearchange in the busi­ness.

Of course, an ad­van­tage of a punchy diesel is the way it lets you change to higher gears and still re­tain enough push for main road ac­tion or prompt over­tak­ing, and the new and big­ger power unit is prop­erly up to snuff on both scores.

The changed sus­pen­sion means the CX-3 stays as good to drive as any small­ish but tallish SUV is likely to get but you’ll still feel the rougher of roads as the wheels work hard to smooth the way ahead.

So, here is an at­trac­tive look­ing SUV with high econ­omy po­ten­tial that’s just been made a bit bet­ter all round. If diesel makes sense for your life­style, go for it.

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