Mazda CX-3 (2015) Review

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Mazda CX-3 (2015) At A Glance

Enjoyable and good to drive. Good quality interior finish. 2.0-litre petrol is smooth and economical.

Cramped in the back and small boot. Ongoing problem with a/c condensers and evaporators.

New prices start from £18,995
Insurance Groups are between 13–19
On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure

Like the march of the seasons, new small crossovers are inevitable and in 2015 Mazda joined the party with the CX-3. However, unlike its rivals, it is pitched as a premium option with an upmarket cabin lots of standard kit and the option of AWD that gives it outstanding handling.

At first sight it looks very much like the larger CX-5, but it is appreciably smaller, with bolder lines, sleeker headlights and a more prominent grille. Inside it is very much like the Mazda2, with a classy, neat dashboard layout and an abundance of quality materials.

There is a standard fit seven-inch touchscreen with a rotary controller for use on the move. It's not as slick as the touchscreen system you'd find in a Volkswagen T-Roc but it works well enough and means  there's no mess of buttons to clutter up the centre console.

The finish is good, with plush leather or suede inlays in the doors and on the dashboard, depending on trim level, while practicality is fine for a family. There is plenty of legroom and enough headroom for all but the tallest passengers. A 350-litre boot is about average for the class, though it has the benefit of a false floor for hiding items out of sight.

Engines include a frugal 1.5-litre diesel (later changed to a 1.8-litre) and a 2.0-litre petrol, the top version with 150PS. All of the engines give the light CX-3 punchy performance, with plenty of pace to overtake slower traffic and gearing that gives a relaxed, quiet motorway cruise, notwithstanding a little wind noise around the large door mirrors.

But it’s a country road where the CX-3 really shines, thanks to ample grip and lively steering. It’s a fun car on a back road, with suspension that blends a comfortable ride with impressive handling and body control. For those who live out in the wilds there is even an all-wheel drive variant on offer for some extra traction in poor conditions.

It's priced competitively with the competition and does come well equipped for the money. Regardless of price, there is no doubt this CX-3 is one of the best small crossovers on sale. 

Mazda CX-3 2.0 150 AWD 2017 Road Test

Mazda CX-3 1.8 Skyactiv D and Automatic 2019 Road Test

Mazda CX-3 2.0 SEL-Nav Long Term Road Test

Looking for a Mazda CX-3 (2015 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Real MPG average for a Mazda CX-3 (2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

87%

Real MPG

33–71 mpg

MPGs submitted

238

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a car that'll fit a baby seat?
"I need to change my Mazda CX-3 for something larger to accommodate an Isofix baby seat in the back, plus have decent legroom for a 6ft passenger in the back. It also needs a roomy boot, big enough to take the baby’s pushchair and accessories. I was thinking of a Mazda CX-5, Peugeot 3008 or BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Would a smaller SUV like a Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 or Citroen C3 be big enough? My budget is approx £17,000. Thanks."
The Mazda CX5 is the best car in your list. It was recently rated as one of the UK's best SUVs in our latest Satisfaction Index: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/honest-john-satisfaction-index-2020/top-10-highest-rated-suvs-and-crossovers
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I prepare my car for two months storage?
"Following surgery next March/April, I will be unable to drive my petrol Mazda CX-3 (mileage 8000) for approximately two months. The car will be garaged during that time. Will there be consequences if it is left unused for this protracted period? Would it be advisable to run the engine, while the car is stationary, for short periods each week? Is there anything else you could advise me to do?"
You shouldn't have much to worry about. One thing we'd recommend is making sure you hook the battery up to a trickle charger to stop it going flat. With so few miles on, the levels (oil, water etc) should be fine - but do check. If things take a little longer than expected, then have a friend take it out for a good run - this will help stop tyres going 'square' and the brakes getting too sticky. If you can, clean, polish and wax the car before you put it away as this will protect the bodywork.
Answered by Keith Moody
What small crossover would you recommend?
"I'm considering buying a small SUV and have narrowed it down to three options, all petrol automatics: Peugeot 2008, Mazda CX3 or Suzuki Vitara. Which would you recommend? Or am I missing an obvious alternative?"
The Peugeot 2008 is about to be replaced so, if you're buying new, it might be worth waiting for the new model. Alternatively, I'd want a good deal on the outgoing car. Out of your shortlist, my money would probably go on the Vitara. It's a reliable little SUV that represents excellent value for money. I'd also consider alternatives from Volkswagen Group such as the Skoda Kamiq and SEAT Arona.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I have a bad back - what car with a higher driving position should I get to replace my Jaguar XKR?
"A dodgy back is forcing the sale of my Jaguar XKR and I need something with a higher driving position. I can do without 500-odd horses and would like something with a more natural driving experience. Any ideas for a budget of up to £20,000? Any age would do as the car will be used solely for pleasure. I quite fancy the original Lexus IS 200 for its six cylinders and overall quality but am not convinced that the driving position is quite high enough."
How about a Mazda CX-3 or CX-5? They're both crossover SUVs with the high seating position you're after. They also have premium interiors and are surprisingly good to drive - with naturally-aspirated petrol engines and slick manual gearboxes.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Mazda CX-3 (2015) cost?