Mazda CX-3 AWD Sport Nav Diesel Review 2015
For – looks good, oozes quality, drives well.
Against – is that enough to differentiate it?
NEWCASTLE – Mazda is joining the small SUV stampede and its CX-3 will be a formidable candidate in this popular sector.
It’s main selling points are its sexy looks, outstanding build quality and high level of equipment. It drives very nicely, and the manual gearbox is top class.
It’s priced to go too, starting at £17,595.
Small SUVs (see list in the table below) have become hugely successful, providing a slightly higher ride and plenty of space to move stuff. Most of the candidates, if you quiz the owners harshly, will turn out to be front-wheel drive only, the CX-3 is no exception. Of the 18 options in the range, only three are four-wheel drive. Only the diesel 4×4 comes with an automatic option.
You can choose from two petrol engines of 118 hp or 148 hp, or a 104 hp diesel. You can have a 6-speed manual gearbox, or an automatic one, although the more powerful petrol engine doesn’t offer this option. There’s a head-up display option too. A seven inch touch-screen is standard. The range starts with SE, progressing to SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav.
The all-new CX-3 comes with generous standard equipment and safety systems. Base SE models have things like heated and power folding mirrors, while SE-Ls add rear privacy glass and front LED fog lights. At the top of the range, the Sport Nav is the first car in the class to come with LED headlights. DAB radio, Bluetooth are standard, while Sport Nav models include 3-years free European map updates, Bose surround sound, smart keyless entry and, in another first for the sector, Mazda’s head-up display system.
Lots of gear
Other standard equipment includes Hill Hold Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and Dynamic Stability Control, while SE-L and Sport Nav models feature a Lane Departure Warning System and Smart City Brake. All models get cruise control, while rear parking sensors are standard from SE-L onwards.
At first glance, the CX-3 looks like another bland little SUV, but take a closer look and you will see flowing lines and a comprehensive styling effort.
If I was going to buy a vehicle in this sector (and I’m on the verge of so doing), I would make sure it had four-wheel drive, and after all, if you want an SUV, isn’t that a basic requirement?
Mazda says this about its 4×4 version.
“By offering four-wheel drive versions of the all-new Mazda CX-3, customers looking for surefooted handling and traction in slippery and wintry conditions will find the CX-3 just the ticket. Thanks to its intuitive front-wheel slip warning detection, Mazda’s latest-generation AWD system provides power where it is needed. It uses 27 sensor signals to monitor road conditions as well as driver intentions, instantly determining how much power to send to each wheel, even when conditions are constantly changing.
“In good conditions when front-wheel drive operation provides enough traction the system prevents unnecessary rear-drive operation thereby reducing fuel-consumption. Low-viscosity synthetic transmission oil also helps efficiency by reducing resistance and with a smaller rear differential the CX-3’s AWD drive-train is 20 per cent lighter than those used on larger AWD Mazda models,” Mazda said.
So my search continues. The favourite at the moment is the Jeep Renegade. (If the lottery win happens it will be a Porsche Macan). I’m looking forward to driving Honda’s contender, the HR-V, in a few weeks time. The other candidates don’t have much appeal for me, although I did like the Fiat 500X when I drove it recently.
(Mazda provided hotel, flights)
|Engine:||1.5 litre, four-cylinder diesel|
|Power:||104 hp @ 4,000 rpm|
|Torque:||270 Nm @ 1,600-2,500|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h – 10.5 seconds|
|Top Speed:||107 mph-172 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 60.1 mpg-4.7 l/km|
|Emissions class:||Euro 6|
|Boot capacity:||350/1,260 litres|
|Competition:||Mini Cooper Countryman, Vauxhall-Opel Mokka, Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Fiat 500X, Peugeot 2008, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade|
|Would I buy one?||Maybe|
|For:||looks good, oozes quality, drives well|
|Against:||is that enough to differentiate it?|