‘WE’LL have some of that’ could have been the thinking at Mazda Towers when everyone started to switch their attention to buying compact crossovers.
There are plenty to choose from, it has to be said, and with the opposition soaking up sales, the decision to model their CX-3 on its bigger CX-5 stablemate was seemingly a wise one.
In essence it’s a taller and chunkier version of the Mazda2 with which it shares the same basic mechanical package.
And it’s turned out to be one of the best of the bunch when it comes down to what it delivers to the driver.
On the down side, scaling things down has compromised the space available to the average family, meaning it’s limited for those in the rear and the available boot space falls below the market sector standard.
But the boot does have an adjustable floor that allows you to load shallow items under a moving board, and this also provides a flat load floor when the seats are folded.
I really liked the relative simplicity and neatness of the main instrument binnacle ahead of the driver, with a top that tapers away to a point, almost directing your eye to the road ahead.
There’s a big central speedo, flanked on the left by a discrete rev counter and trip meter, and on the right by the fuel readout, miles to refill via the trip computer and an outside temperature reading.The central screen atop the dash gives you the rest of your information, controlled by a simple to use set up close to your left hand. Or the front seat passenger’s right hand, if you’re busy yourself.
It’s interior is devoid of frills and unnecessary pieces of trim. There are subtle carbon effect pieces that are unobtrusive among the dominant black interior, the only concession to colour being the red rings set inside the three main dashboard air vents.
Push button starters are becoming de rigeur these days and Mazda has joined the ranks of manufacturers offering them.
CX-3 is all rather smart without being in your face, and therefore it’s a pleasant environment in which to go about your business. A distinct solid, well made feel.
All versions of the CX-3 are generously equipped as standard, with even the basic model getting Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB digital radio, with steering wheel controls.
It has an excellent, commanding driving position even though it’s not a car noted for its hugeness. The seats offer decent support and are set quite low, but with a rake and reach adjustable wheel, everyone can adopt a comfortable driving position. It’s very easy to drive around town, with the compact dimensions making for simple manoeuvring and parking.
The 2.0 SkyActiv petrol unit under the bonnet here is something Mazda are rightly proud of. It’s a very responsive unit, smooth and eager to please, with more than enough get up and go to cope with everyday traffic, and when necessary, be a relaxed motorway cruiser.
The SkyActiv badge shows the car has been put through Mazda’s weight loss regime, and the result is a trim 1,275kg kerbweight, which helps with the fuel consumption – a claimed 47mpg by Mazda. You could opt for the 1.5 SkyActiv-D diesel and there’s the option of two of four wheel drive.
It doesn’t necessarily have stand out looks to distinguish it from the other SUV crossovers out there, but it is a very efficient vehicle without doubt.
It handles well, changes direction well, and has a lot going for it.
FASTFACTS: Mazda CX-3 2.0 120ps 2WD SE-L Nav; £19,595; 1998cc DOHC SkyActiv-G petrol, 120ps, 204Nm; six speed manual gearbox; top speed 11mph, 0-62mph 9secs; fuel – combined 47.9mpg; CO2 137g/km; will it fit the garage? 4275/1765/1535 (l/w/h); 3 year/60,000 mile warranty.
© Wheelwrite 2016