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Mazda CX-3 2019 Road Test

The Mazda CX-3 for 2019 has been attractively refreshed and is now on sale in the UK at prices from £18,995 to £24,995. All meet the new EU6d Temp / WLTP emissions standards and the already low NOx 2.0 litre Skyactiv G petrol engines manage this without the addition of a Petrol Particulate Filter.

The very pretty CX-3 is actually Mazda’s 2nd best-selling car in Europe with 58,627 sold last year. Improvements are focused on safety, ride comfort, agility and quality of the trim.

All get a 7-inch ‘floating’ central touch-screen with integrated satnav and three years European road map updates; heated power folding mirrors are standard and, important to quite a lot of people, the infotainment system still includes a CD player as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Mazda CX-3 2019 New Front

Outside there’s an attractive new grille and rear lights. Inside, some nice, premium feel fabrics and plastics and now an electromechanical parking brake with separate ‘autohold’ function so the car stays stopped when you come to a standstill until you want to accelerate away again.

New safety features include a front park distance indicator and smart city braking that stops the car day or night from up to 50mph if the driver does not respond fast enough. There is also radar cruise control to keep the car a safe distance from vehicles in front with ‘traffic jam assist’ to autonomously stop the car, switch off the engine then, on automatics, to automatically re-start again when the vehicle in front moves off.

Mazda CX-3 2019 Front Passenger Seat

More interior improvements include a redesigned centre console to use the space previously occupied by the brake lever, cupholders in the rear armrest and the option of exclusive ‘stone white’ leather upholstery.

Mazda CX-3 2019 Rear Cupholder

Even the gorgeous optional Soul Red paint is improved with new ‘Soul Red Crystal’ metallic, though that comes at a price: £790.

We’d driven most versions of the CX-3 before in 2017 here. And long-term tested a 2.0 SE-L Nav here. This time we concentrated on the new WLTP 115PS 1.8 litre Skyactiv diesel engine and the 6-speed 120PS petrol automatic.

Interestingly, instead of ‘Selective Catalytic Reduction’ using Adblue (like the 2019 Mazda 6) the new 1.8 diesel uses ‘Rapid Multi Stage Combustion’ and a NOx Storage Catalyst system to collect NOX then periodic post-injected diesel to convert it back to harmless Nitrogen.  

Despite a creditable 64.1mpg in the WLTP test, the new diesel is a bit noisy and our route in Southern Spain was very hilly so it had to work quite hard delivering its 270Nm from 1,600 – 2,600rpm. But ride quality is definitely improved even on 215/50 R18 tyres and handling still reflects Mazda’s ‘Jinba Ittai’ philosophy of car and driver in perfect harmony. MPH was about 32 per 1,000RPM.

Mazda CX-3 2019 Cornering

Next day, we took out the low power 2.0 Skyactiv G petrol on similar roads. Driven moderately, it’s very refined and cruises quietly at about 30mph per 1,000rpm. But prod the accelerator on a hill, even in ‘Normal’ rather than ‘Sport’ setting and it drops a few gears giving an almost CVT-like impression of the engine overtaking the car. A little practice, though, and it’s smooth and pleasant enough.

Mazda CX-3 2019 Load With Bags

We drove this part of the test three-up with bags, so that might have been part of the reason for the excitable automatic. This also had the benefit of us each getting to ride in the driver’s, front passenger’s and the rear seat for a third of the journey, and there’s a surprising amount of legroom in the back, even behind a tall driver.

Though the CX-3 looks neat, tidy and compact it’s pleasantly roomy inside, the luggage space is adequate and the rear seatbacks fold down almost flat.

Mazda CX-3 2019 Rear Seats Folded

It’s probably a car bought on emotion rather than anything else because it’s so pretty. Yet those looks combine with a good driving experience, plenty of comfort, space and quality and now some good WLTP emissions figures.

T-Roc, Ateca, A2, Qashqai, Kadjar, Kuga, Juke, 2008, or a Mazda CX-3?

We’d put it very high on that list.

More at Mazda

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