New Mazda has CX appeal
Mazda CX-3 and CX-5
There is no doubt about it – the Mazda CX range is on fire. The CX-5, which first hit our shores in 2013, stole the show with its fresh new looks in the compact SUV market.
It was the first of the Mazda range to feature the company’s new KODO – Soul of Motion Design and shared its platform with Mazda3 and Mazda6.
It was also the first vehicle to feature the company’s bizarrely-named ‘Skyactiv Technology’ suite, featuring a rigid, lightweight platform, combined with a new series of efficient engines, which reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
We are both agreed that the CX-5 was one of the best-looking compact SUVs around and still remains so to this day.
The CX-5 was then followed by its smaller CX-3 sibling – entering one of the toughest markets in the industry in the crossover segment.
It arrived earlier this year a bit late to the party, with the likes of Nissan’s Juke, Peugeot’s 2008, Opel’s Mokka and Renault’s Captur to name but a few, already firmly established in the market.
The new CX-3 though is seriously good looking. Based on the new ‘2’ supermini, it is head and shoulders above the rest of its rivals with its sculptured body and muscular stance.
On the inside, the new CX-3 is heavily influenced by the new ‘2’ supermini. In all fairness to Mazda, the company has tried to give the interior look a premium feel, and it has nearly got there.
The dashboard layout is a lot neater than many of its rivals, and the switchgear is very simple to use. We weren’t overly impressed that the single centre dial in front of the steering wheel is actually for the rev counter instead of the speedometer, which is tucked away in the bottom right of the counter.
Elsewhere, Mazda has placed a high emphasis on an array of intelligent in-car technologies, some of which come as standard and some of which come as added extras.
There’s a neat head-up display and some of the safety features available are up there with the likes of Volvo.
One area where the Mazda CX-3 is slightly let down is space in the rear. We found the legroom a little tight for a six-foot plus adult when the fronts seats are pushed back for a long-legged driver.
This, along with the 350-litre boot when the seats are in the upright position, put some of its rivals ahead in terms of space.
The really good news though, is that the new CX-3 comes with a smaller, more economical 1.5-litre diesel engine.
Sadly, the CX-5 continues to use the rather thirsty 2.2-litre diesel, even though Mazda is working on a 1.6-litre diesel to replace it. This puts Mazda way behind the rest in terms of engine choice, and until the new smaller diesel arrives, we’d find it hard to recommend the big 2.2-litre diesel.
I have to admit, the new 1.5-litre diesel engine in the CX-5 is one of the quietest on the market, but the claimed fuel figures of 4l/100km seemed to be a bit off the mark.
We both felt on our daily commutes that we were getting nowhere near these figures.
The new Mazda CX-3 comes in four grades: SE, Executive, Executive-SE and GT. And, while most buyers will opt for the two-wheel drive model, there is a four-wheel drive version.
Prices for the CX-3 start at €20,695, which is more or less similar to its main rivals. The Renault Captur starts from €20,130, Opel Mokka from €19,995 and the Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke from €19,295.
Overall, we are still not sure about Mazda’s ‘Skyactiv’ technology in its engine line-up as there are more economical engines out there, but there is no taking away from the CX-3’s seriously-good looks.
Elsewhere, Mazda has freshened up the larger CX-5 for 2015.
Unfortunately for the time being though, it is still only available with the 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel engine, so it’s worth waiting on a new smaller diesel to match its stunning looks.
Model: Mazda CX-3 CX-3 1.5 SkyActiv-D Executive SE
Price: From €20,695 (€26,195 test model)
Tax Band: A3 €190 per year.
0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds
Top speed: 177km/h
Boot space: 350 litres
Robbie Farrell and Paul Keown