Mazda CX-3 (2015) Review

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Mazda CX-3 (2015) At A Glance

4/5

+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. 

Looking for a second opinon? Why not read heycar's Mazda CX-3 review?

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)

RealMPG

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

247

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.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

I want to treat myself to a flashy, economical car for 10k. What do you suggest?
"I’m turning 50 this year and I figured I finally deserve a treat. I’ve decided to trade in (or scrap) my beloved, well-aged and slightly banged up 1.0-litre Nissan note. Please don’t judge me but now I just want a flashy car to cause some car envy. But it’s got to be gentle on the pocket. I don’t know much about cars other than driving it. I didn’t drive for many years (save the planet and cycle, that was me) but work needs must. I do enjoy driving and I’ve never had an accident, but I have a lack of confidence when it comes to parking, nighttime driving or in bad weather. I use the car for city commuting and some long-distance travel. I have in mind a budget of £10,000 for a used car. I’m hoping to get some suggestions on a car that might suit me. Preferably with low mileage and not over 10 years old."
No judgement here! The challenge will be finding a flashy car that won't cost a lot to run. An Audi A3 could be a good choice. It shares its mechanicals with a Volkswagen Golf, so shouldn't cost the earth, and it looks very classy. As a left-field alternative, consider a Mazda CX-3. It's a stylish crossover SUV that'll be easy to drive in the city. Stick a private plate on it and it's sure to impress the neighbours, too. As an aside, consider some driver training to boost your confidence. The Institute of Advanced Motorists provides courses that aren't expensive and very worthwhile.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Could you recommend a petrol SUV with a low boot lip?
"Unfortunately, our 1998 Toyota RAV4 has a slipping clutch and signs of rust. We're looking for a high-seated petrol SUV, preferably with a low boot lip so a dog can jump in. We like the looks of the Ford Ecosport (which I know you don't rate) and the Mazda CX-3. What would you recommend in this crowded market? It will be used mostly on local runs with the occasional longer trip. We have about £14,500 to spend. Thanks."
The Ford EcoSport has been heavily updated a few times. It might not be the best crossover in its class but examples from 2018 onwards are much better than earlier models. One of these will be in budget and will likely meet all your requirements. The CX-3 would be a good alternative, while we'd also recommend a Suzuki Vitara or a Honda HR-V.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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 does a Mazda CX-3 (2015) cost?