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Mazda is on a roll with each new model as they increasingly lead the other Japanese manufacturers in the styling and technology stakes. As the SUV craze continues Mazda has given their baby SUV the CX-3 its first update and facelift since arriving here 2 years ago. It has also had a range of ride, handling and sound deadening improvements. The CX-3 has Mazda’s version of Autonomous Emergency Braking called Smart City Brake Support which works both going forward and in reverse. It is standard across the entire range which is a first for this category with few other manufacturers offering front and rear systems as standard.
The CX-3 has a choice of either a 2.0 litre SKYACTIV-G petrol or a 1.5 litre SKYACTIV-D diesel engine mated to a 6-speed SKYACTIV manual transmission or 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission. Available in both Front-Wheel Drive and i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive options.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Pricing is at the upper end for the category and Mazda must figure with attractive styling and good safety credentials they can get away with a premium. The range starts with the Neo petrol with manual transmission 2WD at $20,490 and stops at the Akari auto AWD with the 1.5L Diesel at $37,890. The most popular sellers are likely to be mid-range Maxx, which we tested, or the sTouring. The Maxx has blind spot monitoring and rear cross safety alert while the dearer Touring and Akari variants also get driver attention alert and traffic sign recognition.
DESIGN AND FUNCTION
The exterior styling is distinctive and easily recognised as part of the Mazda family. The attraction of an SUV is the higher seat height making hopping in and out of the car much easier. The CX-3 provides the best of both worlds having the seat height of a SUV but the footprint and parking ability of a small car. Lift the tailgate and you are reminded that it is a small car as the boot space is marginal and the rear seats are comfortable but not roomy.
ON THE ROAD
It doesn’t take long on the road to notice how well the sound deadening treatment that Mazda have given the CX-3 has worked. Mazda have used different bushings in the suspension to minimise noise transfer and to firm up the suspension movement. So the road noise is managed but the noise from the 2 litre SkyActive engine does invade the cabin when it gets into the higher rev range. The 2 litre engine is a balanced recipe that delivers an ample amount of power while still delivering reasonable fuel economy.
The CX-3’s handling is very car like and in the city it is as easy to park and use as a Mazda3.
The CX-3 is a functional and easy to live with small SUV wrapped in a good safety package.
Multi-point fuel injection
6.7 L / 100kms
109kW @ 6,000 rpm
192Nm @ 2,800 rpm
6 speed automatic (or 6 speed manual)
All Wheel Drive
Electric power assisted
1,200 kg (braked)
3 years with unlimited kilometres
Report provided by Mark Borlace
Test vehicle supplied by Mazda Australia P/L