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Mazda CX-3 (2015–)

Last updated 17 October 2018

Enjoyable and good to drive. Good quality interior finish. 2.0-litre petrol is smooth and economical.
Cramped in the back and small boot. Ridiculous ongoing problem with a/c condensers and evaporators.
Updated 9 October 2018

Control logic may fail to divert electrical power away from capacitor, which may cause DCDC converter to overheat and catch fire. Dealers will reprogram the PCM with the correct control logic. If error...

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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, which means there are just air conditioning controls, with no mess of buttons to clutter up the centre stack.

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.

Three engines are available - a 105PS 1.5-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre petrol with either 120PS or 150PS. The diesel is frugal, with 105g/km emissions and official economy of up to 70.6mpg, while the petrols deliver just shy of 50mpg according to the NEDC figures. 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.

On the downside, the CX-3 is quite expensive and an entry-level SsangYong Tivoli will cost around £5000 less, while a similar Renault Captur undercuts the Mazda by more than £3000. If you don’t mind the price tag then there is no doubt this CX-3 is one of the best small crossovers on sale. 

Mazda CX-3 2.0 150HP AWD 2017 Road Test

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

Mazda CX-3 1.0 SEL-Nav Long Term Road Test

Owners' reviews

Very good with some limitations
Very Reliable car,
Drives well but unresolved problem!
Great to drive
A comfortable, agile, economical and well equipped crossover SUV
An SUV which drives like a hot hatchback.

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