MAZDA sprang a huge surprise with the Mazda 2, at the motoring world was looking at Mazda 3 as the entry point from the Japanese automaker. From its inception in 2014, Mazda 2 has gone on to rake in global awards, confounding competition from more fancied car models. This success, even though Mazda does not directly say so, has spawned the idea for Mazda CX-3.
Officially the CX-3 was made for the fast growing market of compact crossovers, which are taking the motoring market by storm – from first-time car buyers to experienced old hands. The CX-3 also appears like a taller, chunkier version of the Mazda 2, which boggles the mind what was the inspiration for its creation: the success of Mazda 2 or the growing SUV market, or both!
What is clear however is that the CX-3 has a life of its own, and boast distict, neat exterior styling spearheaded by one of the most attractive grills in cars today.
Solid and well-built, the Mazda CX-3 really stands out from behind the wheel. It comes with two terrific engines, petrol and diesel, as a choice for front wheel drive or all-wheel-drive transmissions. The five-passenger subcompact crossover SUV is available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.
The base Sport starts with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, dual exhaust outlets, a rear roof spoiler, variable intermittent wipers, cloth upholstery, push-button ignition, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, Bluetooth (phone and audio), a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system (with a CD player, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack and Aha/Pandora/Stitcher Internet radio), voice controls and a 7-inch touchscreen interface with a redundant rotary control knob on the center console.
The Touring adds heated mirrors, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, a front-row center armrest, leatherette (premium vinyl) and cloth upholstery, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The Grand Touring adds 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, LED foglights and taillights, a sunroof, upgraded instrumentation, a head-up display, leather and synthetic suede upholstery, a navigation system, automatic climate control, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a rear cargo cover and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio and satellite radio.
Offered solely on the Grand Touring is an i-Activsense package that includes automatic high beam headlight control, automatic wipers, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
Every 2016 Mazda CX-3 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. As noted above, the Touring adds a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, while the Grand Touring can be equipped with an i-Activsense package that includes advanced technologies like a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2016 CX-3’s cabin shows excellent execution overall, with high-quality materials and a sleek dashboard that conveys style and sophistication. The Grand Touring’s large central tachometer and integrated digital speedometer are easy to read and look great; the head-up display looks tacked on, however, and lower trims must make do with a more ordinary gauge cluster. All trims benefit from a 7-inch touchscreen interface.
The CX-3’s front seats deliver outstanding comfort for this segment, with pleasantly firm support for long hauls and ample lateral bolstering for spirited drives. As with most subcompact crossovers, rear passenger comfort depends on who’s sitting in front — if you’re behind a tall person, you’ll likely find legroom to be in short supply.
As for driving pleasure, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a top performer among the subcompact crossover SUVs. For this it gives away a relatively modest 6.2 litres/100km – on average – for fuel consumption.
Though its only drawbacks appears to be limited space in the rear seats and low capacity boot, with keen improvisation the CX-3 goes far for ultimate drving experience – even for a growing family.
Mazda CX-3 2.0L Active R266 990
Mazda CX-3 2.0L Active Auto R283 200
Mazda CX-3 2.0L Dynamic R291 200
Mazda CX-3 2.0L Dynamic Auto R302 200
Mazda CX-3 2.0L Individual Auto R341 400
*Warranty offers differ per model; verify with the dealer.