The Mazda CX-3 has been around for a couple of years now and it’s proving to be a much liked machine. KODO design gives it a look that gives it a slight advantage over its competition – this small SUV looks great! However, the new Mazda CX-5 has received some slight design changes and if the CX-3 were to receive same, then this car might look even nicer.
The compact SUV segment of the motor world is beginning to get a little wild. If you’re a manufacturer and if you’re not in this space… well, then you need to get your finger out. Personally, I’m not entirely sure as to why the world is shifting its focus to Crossovers and SUVs, perhaps it’s the ride height, or perhaps it’s just a phase. Whatever it is, it’s certainly working. Sales in traditional saloons are falling, and globally it seems that people are opting for compact SUVs in their masses.
The Mazda CX-3 is up against some serious competition, and unfortunately for Mazda Ireland, there are some very tough cars to beat. Many are opting for the Toyota C-HR, the Nissan Qashqai or even the Hyundai Tucson. The CX-3 is a bit of a strange fish though. It falls into a weird space within its segment because of its size. You see, this car is also up against the likes of the Peugeot 2008, the Nissan Juke, the new KIA Stonic, or even the Volkswagen T-Roc. There’s no doubting that this market is bursting.
Anyway, the CX-3 is an excellently presented car. It’s good for smaller families, but I will warn that they could and should offer a little bit more legroom in the rear for adults. Kids won’t have a problem back there (space for two child seats). The front cabin is laid out like most new Mazda vehicles. The MZD connect infotainment system is extremely easy to use, and the switch buttons are laid out much in the way of what BMW offers. Everything is controlled by switch gear beside the handbrake area and the buttons are designed in such a way that your fingers know exactly what they’re doing when you’re navigating through the infotainment system. This means you can spend more time keeping your eyes on the road. The biggest downside to Mazda’s infotainment set up is that we couldn’t find any CarPlay or Android Auto capabilities. For the moment, I feel that Mazda are slightly behind some of the higher end competition in the capabilities of their infotainment systems. Yes, MZD Connect is very easy to use, and cuts out some of the bullshit that you find in other systems – but it could offer a little more.
Unsurprisingly, we were given a top of the range model to test drive, which comes with an excellent spec-list. There’s a lot with the GT Lux version. There was plenty of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) systems like Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Front Lighting System and Advanced Smart City Brake support – items like these are what future motoring will be about. On a side note, and this is not just about the CX-3, it’s about all cars. Manufacturers should start offering all ADAS systems as standard across every car they produce. It would make driving safer for everyone. The Irish Government also needs to realise that safety features like these are not luxury items – and therefore they should halt all extra taxes on these.
Other extras on this particular trim included; 18” alloys, Nappa Leather seats and heated steering wheel (nice – considering how cold it is in Ireland at the moment!).
Our test model was powered by a 2.0 petrol engine which produces 120hp. For the size of the engine, it would be nice to get a few more horses out of it, but I reckon Mazda is playing it safe and delivering what its audience needs – which isn’t necessarily masses of power. The car is economical enough too. The only downside is that the fuel tank is small – at 48 litres. The boot isn’t terrible at 350 litres, but once again a little more might make this vehicle more practical.
On the road the Mazda CX-3 excels. The steering is very precise – like pretty much the rest of the Mazda range. Because the body isn’t massive, body roll is not a major issue either. The car can be a bit bumpy on older Irish roads, but for the most part – it’s all good. This is a nice car to cruise in too. Because the engine is large enough, you don’t hear the moans of smaller engines. As well as that there is some road noise, but I would not say that it is bad.
I’ve never denied being a Mazda fan. My family has had a good history with the brand. The CX-3 is a great car. However, watch out for legroom issues if you’re carrying taller people around regularly. Our test model comes in at €28,595. An entry level Mazda CX-3 comes in at €20,995 and to be fair to Mazda, it comes well specced.