Mazda CX-3

3 years ago

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Mazda CX-3Car Specification

Engine

1998cc four-cylinder petrol

Torque

118bhp at 6,000rpm/ 295 lbs ft from 2,800rpm

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Fuel

47.9mpg

Acceleration

9.0 seconds

Emissions

137g/km

Price

£20,495

Tax

Band E: £130 per year

One of the latest is Mazda£€™s CX-3 which is based on the Mazda 2 supermini.

Despite the Tonka Toy styling it£€™s not big, so it is easy to park, and it is also lower than most rivals.

The Sport Nav model is the first car in its class to come with LED headlights.

It is further dressed with LED rear lights, 18in gunmetal machined alloy wheels and chrome-accent door sills.

The SkyActiv badge means it has gone through Mazda£€™s weight reduction and efficiency programmes, though regarding kerb weights from 1230 to 1370kg it£€™s not lighter than the rival Nissan Juke which starts at 1163kg.

The CX-3 is stylish looking though and more elegant and less bulbous than the Juke.

Prices start at £17,595. There£€™s a choice of a petrol engine producing 118 or 148bhp or a 103bhp 1.5 litre diesel.

You can choose manual or automatic gearboxes.

As you would expect of the company that builds the MX-5 sports car the CX-3 is a fun and nimble drive.

There£€™s a sweet, precise action to the six-speed manual gearbox that combined with a free revving engine makes the CX-3 feel unusually willing for a crossover.

It also feels much better balanced if you corner enthusiastically but considering it has disc brakes front and rear, I was surprised the brake pedal went £€˜soft£€™ after some brisk driving.

Acceleration to 62mph takes nine seconds for the 118bhp version we tried. Top speed is 119mph.

The test car was front-wheel drive, not four-wheel, and there were times when a spirited getaway caused wheelspin.

Officially the CX-3 is capable of 47.9mpg but we averaged 36.3mpg to 42.7mpg depending on traffic, appointment urgency and weather conditions.

The figure for the diesel is70.6mpg in two-wheel drive form, but expect nearer 55mpg.

The cheapest diesel is £1,400 more than the petrol which buys a lot of petrol.

If you spend most of your time in town the petrol£€™s the better option because it will warm up quicker.

The downside is £130 road tax rather than £20.

Mazda cabins are usually quite tasty and the CX-3£€™s has a seven inch colour touch screen, DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a multifunction steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons as standard.

The driver and front seat passenger can work the information screen and satellite navigation using the touch screen or with a rotate and click knob between the seats.

We found the sat nav fiddly and the handbook for it not very helpful.

Sport Nav models have a Bose sounds system, three years free European map updates, keyless entry and a head-up display that also shows navigation directions. Very neat.

The electronic power assisted steering gives pretty good feel for the road but a slippery stretch of the M1 at night with snow falling was nerve-wracking.

Rear seat space proved tight on a visit to the London Boat Show and the boot was smaller than we expected or the styling suggests.

Total boot volume was 297 litres £€“ or 1,197 litres with the seats folded £€“ because of the big bass speaker under the boot floor.

If you have a family and need more space the bigger Mazda CX-5 costs from £23,195.

We thought the Mazda quiet enough at motorway speeds though the tyres kicked up a din on rougher surfaces.

It certainly feels a quality product.

Even so your car could be less than half what you paid for it after three years or 60,000 miles. And that is better than most of its rivals.

Verdict Fun to drive sporty crossover