Mazda CX-3

Stylish CX-3 shows the way

Automobile design and manufacture has never been as prone to such a varied selection of model variants, which in many cases allows for a great mixes in methodology. A fine example being the Mazda CX-3 that is basically an SUV, but looks more like an everyday family hatchback. 

The CX-3 is good looking with its low-riding height, sleek shape, smart new grille that harks back to Mazda’s rotary-inspired 5-corner classics with fewer, better looking slats, black front fog light bezels and LED rear lamps. Step inside and sit in the plush seats and the smart cabin instils a sense of class, although a somewhat limited cabin seems more like another everyday hatchback. 

Rear legroom and luggage space is limited for what is supposedly a Sports Utility Vehicle – is the ‘U’ in SUV not supposed to denote ‘usefulness’?  The same applies if you call it an MPV too, by the way. That’s something the CX-3 and most of its ‘mini SUV’ rivals lack in some respects, while another contradiction to its SUV classification is its low ride height that will not suit much off-road driving, even if those the 18” wheels suggest otherwise.        

Road-holding is however excellent on the beaten track, with positive handling and steering-feel adding to a comfortable and pleasing ride. We however detest this plague of lane-departure warning systems – especially in a car that handles as well as the CX-3. I suffered a heart-stopping moment while cornering at high speed with the tail-end on the limit and the system took control! It’s horrendous. Mazda’s i-Stop and Driver Attention Alert are however definite musts. 

CX-3 also suffers from altitude sickness on the Reef (where most of SA lives, but very few others do so around the world). Its normally aspirated engine loses 18% of its power that its turbo rivals will not at those altitudes and as our tests on both sides below, that has an effect on Jozi performance.

But the Mazda CX-3 certainly is a stylish, fun and capable mega-hatchback that will suit a young family to the tee. Well-equipped too, it delivers on all fronts and grew on me through our week with it. – Mario Lupini

Images – Mario Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mazda CX-3 2.0 Individual auto
Engine: 115kW 206Nm 1998cc petrol I4
Drive: 6-speed auto FWD
TESTED: 150m ASL (1500m ASL)
0-60km/h 3.75 sec (4.72 sec(
0-100km/h: 8.44 sec (10.21 sec)
0-120km/h: 11.52 sec (14.08 sec)
0-400m:         16.0s @ 140km/h (17.1 @ 128)
80-120km/h: 5.71 sec (7.53 sec)
VMax: 197km/h
Fuel: 6.7 l/100km
CO2: 155g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y unl/3y unl
Price: R405K
RATED:         6