Mazda CX-3 with its crisp design features, shorter overhangs and a crossover character falls rightly in the sub-compact crossover segment. Designed to rivals popular models like Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur, the mini-commuter with its impressive efficiency numbers may stand a tall chance in front of its rivals. Based on the Mazda 2 supermini, the CX-3 combines elegant styling as well as pretty interiors in an affordable pricing. It comes with two and four-wheel drive transmission options, taking forward the promises of efficiency and all-weather security further. With the choice of two engines -petrol and diesel, the takers from both the segments will be covered. In the two-wheel drive guise, the 2.0-litre petrol delivers 118bhp but keeps the emissions as low as 136g/km, making it not only fuel-efficient but also environment friendly. Its other engine is more powerful though gushing 148bhp when coupled to four-wheel drive. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all models, while a six-speed automatic is available as an option on diesel models and higher-powered petrol. Moreover, with all the models getting six airbags, stability control and tyre pressure monitoring, the security aspects appears to be dealt well.
Mazda's CX-3 is expected to be a leader in terms of fuel economy with estimates of around 29 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway when considering the front wheel drive while 27/32 mpg when all-wheel drive is considered. The sub-compact crossover's Skyactiv engineering philosophy efficiently integrates all elements of the vehicle producing maximum efficiency.
Mazda CX-3 sits on top of a Skyactiv-G 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which is mated to a six-speed gear box following automatic transmission mode. This engine although is not so fascinating, spews out a maximum power of 146 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 146 lb-ft of torque at 2800 revolutions. The engine may start to roar if you push it too hard and the coarse voice may even reach inside the cabin without much trouble. But for being the city cruiser, the power it extends is enough to cut through the congested markets with ease.
CX-3 can reach the heights of 60 mph from rest in 8.1-seconds where vehicles in its segment has their figures in the nines and sometimes even in tens. Credit for this goes to its 2932-pound curb weight as well as to the responsive engine.
CX-3 follows the Kodo design language with a muscular finesse and an elegant aura to the crossover. Minimal overhangs are coupled to the bold appeal and noticeable snout gives it a compact look, which increases its being enticing quotient. Different models have different wheel sizes with Base Sport getting 16-inch steel wheels in its basket while the midlevel touring model gets hold of 16-inch aluminium wheels, but its Grand Touring variant get all the light with its 18-inch wheels offering top-notch aesthetics. Skyactiv engineering philosophy is in CX-3’s blood with its body, chassis, transmission, and engine all employing it and working harmoniously to provide maximum efficiency.
The dimensions of 2016 Mazda CX-3 are as follows: 4274 mm X 1767 mm X 1542 mm (L x W x H) respectively. With a ground clearance of 155 mm, it can serve well as the urban market commuter
Exterior, yes, is appealing but CX-3 can be highlighted for its interior, which can be called as upscale even though the vehicle is from the entry-level sector. For its comfortableness- well the front seat occupants will never complain. With styling cues borrowed from Mazda 2, the slim and pleasing aesthetic and the three circular vents with a slat-type hidden vent behind the chrome detailing reminds us strongly of the Mazda 2 character. Its materials are good in quality regardless of the model version. Further, the use of the engaging colours like red and metallic accents with attractive stitching on the dash and seats adds to the character of the car. The combination of the aggressive exteriors and the serene interiors envisions its upscale built and flawless ergonomics.
Comforts of the interiors are enhanced in several ways like the use of rotary HVAC knobs, central controller on the console, high perched 7-inch touch screen display for easy navigation etc. Isn’t technology inside the cabin better utilised when it is positioned with better accessibility? The high perched seven-inch display, central tachometer and digital speedometer put in the same readouts justifies the same for CX-3. The occupant of the supporting driver’s seat feels quite in power with the solid ergonomics while the rear row seats are a little compact fitting smaller folks and children with ease. The seating layout resembles a stadium layout hence affords better visibility from the second row, but leg and shoulder room can be felt as being limiting to an extent. The cargo-room isn’t as impressive though, so if you are planning road trips, pack light.
The cabin storage dynamics aren’t that impressive, so don’t get excited with the provision of a decent sized glovebox, because when you will look around for the door bins, you wouldn’t be so happy. The door bins are small and the centre console can house just a pair of cup holders, a small trinket tray, while the pockets of the back doors are completely missing. The boot-space offered is 350 L which is although 4 L less than its rivals Nissan Juke but owing to its shape and handy false boot floor, more space can be created when split seat is folded. The rear seat comes with a 60:40 folding configuration.
Cx-3 comes with a petrol variant offering a 2.0-litre unit extending 118bhp in standard mode, or 148bhp and 200 Nm torque when coupled with a flagship Sport Nav AWD auto. But irrespective of which model version you will ride in, the Mazda will sometimes give you a sluggish performance at low revs, but accelerates strongly as the revs builds up. But all this will come at a cost, a harsh engine grumbling sound as the revs will build toward the red-mark. But the plus side is that, the six-speed manual gearbox enthusiastically makes positive shifts taking forward the Mazda family farm.
Its touring version features an upgraded audio system with six speakers providing a wholesome experience for the riders. Other accessories (depending upon the version you choose) can include an Advanced Keyless Entry, a premium Bose stereo, satellite radio, a power sunroof, and heated front seats.
Depending upon the version, wheel size differ with Base Sport getting 16-inch steel wheels and improving the low-speed ride while the midlevel Touring model with its 16-inch aluminium wheels adds to the aesthetics of the version. The Grand Touring variant gets 18-inch wheels making the ride more firm, soothing out the bumps and thumps.
On a whole, CX-3 may feel like a normal hatchback car although the improved design and better ergonomics may take it a setup further than the rivals. But being a hatchback may be off-putting for some buyers who may wish to seek a high-riding feel. The ride is pleasing with an impressive feedback from the electric power steering; even the overall comportment is balanced and responsive. Steering with pride and precision, it corners and scoots down the road with a high-class verve. Toggle to the Sport mode and the impressive automatic transmission will look after all your braking concerns for that upcoming corner.
Mazda has built a strong reputation for reliability, which can be tallied in the Driver Power 2014 Satisfaction Survey with Mazda securing the eighth place. Even the brand’s dealers also scored well, securing 14th overall position in the same poll. With its efforts in making CX-3 safe, it has provisioned all its models with six airbags, stability control and tyre pressure monitoring. Also, features like lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking, heads-up display, reversing camera and powerful LED headlamps are included in Sports NAV and SE-L versions. Buyers are also given the option of enriching their CX-3 with additional features like all-weather security of four-wheel drive etc.