The Mazda CX-3 has entered the packed crossover fray long after some now established rivals. This might be by accident or, for all I know, by design. Certainly it has allowed for some time to see where others have tripped up in this relatively new sector. The result is that the Japanese company have got it right first time.
Sticking with their ‘Kodo’ (soul of motion) design philosophy, the CX-3 wears the familiar familial face and, although it more or less adheres to the expected crossover silhouette, has sharp, sleek lines which I much prefer to the rounded shapes of some rivals. As ever, the Mazda CX-3 sticks with the company technology and renounces the turbocharger in favour of the in-house Skyactiv engineering which, as Colin Chapman suggested decades ago, adds lightness to deliver performance.
As ever, it is preferable to live with a car for a few days to get a true understanding of the quirks and foibles and I only had an hour with this Mazda to get the feel of it. It felt good. The first thing to say about is that it is a bit of a bargain. As you can see from the specification below it’s the range-topping petrol-engined version and, even with special paint and a leather mix interior trim, still comes in at under £24k.
This is especially good because Mazda are at pains to point out – as they would – that this car comes with all mod cons, some of which are optional extras on their competitors offerings. With a 0-62mph time of just under nine seconds it is quicker than most too with its 148bhp 2.0L engine feeling lively and responsive.
If you prefer to travel more sedately then there are lesser powered petrol and diesel versions – but take note; all-wheel drive, should you think it necessary, is only available on the top models. Either way, you won’t be disappointed with the ride thanks to the well-weighted and accurate steering.
Inside the passenger compartment is well considered and has class. It has been properly thought through. The front seats are comfortable and supportive with both height and rake/reach steering adjustment, I was sitting pretty straight away. Rear legroom was about par for the course so only the lankiest of individuals will feel a bit cramped. The well-shaped boot offers 287L of capacity with the rear seats in place. Fine for holidays and the like. Top speed, if you care about such things, is a sprightly 124mph but the emissions are a tad disappointing at 150g/km for this engine.
As mentioned above, the Mazda CX-3 is very well specified with all the high-tech kit we have come to expect for comfort, connectivity and safety. An intuitive multimedia system can be operated via the seven-inch screen touchscreen or via a rotary dial that falls nicely to hand when on the move.
Overall I reckon Mazda have cracked it with this car. As stated I don’t know how it would fare on a day to day basis and, over time, owners may report this or that issue but I suspect not. This brand is known to be reliable and well made. My conclusion is that the Mazda CX-3 seems to be a well considered car that pretty much gets everything right for this sector. Straight onto the shortlist then. Geoff Maxted