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Arval’s pick of the range: Mazda CX-3 1.8 Skyactiv-D 2WD manual SEL Nav+
The Mazda CX-3 is a small SUV that rivals cars such as the Nissan Juke and the Toyota C-HR. Launched in 2015, the CX-3 has recently been facelifted with an updated front grille and a new interior layout. The range has also been simplified.
The CX-3 is based on the accomplished Mazda 2 supermini. Mazda’s engineers have set up the CX-3 to be a fun driving experience, just like the car on which it is based. The steering feels direct and precise and there’s little in the way of body roll in the corners which makes it feel stable and surefooted. The lower powered 121hp petrol and the 115hp diesel are both front-wheel drive cars, while the higher power 150hp petrol engine is available with all-wheel drive providing even more grip and control.
The engines have been revised to improve economy and CO2 emissions. For a car in this class the 2.0-litre petrol and the 1.8-litre diesel options are at the larger end of the spectrum. The advantage to this is that the CX-3 doesn’t feel like a small car on longer journeys and at motorway speeds.
What engines and gearboxes are available?
The Mazda CX-3 specifications run from SE Nav+, through SEL Nav+, to Sport Nav+.
SEL Nav+ (in addition to SE Nav+)
Sport Nav+ (in addition to SEL Nav+)
The new 1.8-litre 115hp diesel engine in the CX-3 is the clear winner in the company car market thanks to a low CO2 figure resulting in a low company car tax rating. It’s only available with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, which incidentally is our preferred specification for the Mazda CX-3. All trim levels in the revised CX-3 are well equipped with 16” alloys, cruise control, Bluetooth, a 7” touch-screen with satnav and aircon. However, we’d move up one rung on the equipment ladder to SEL Nav+ that adds front fog lights, auto wipers and lights, heated front seats and rear parking sensors. We would also tick the option box for Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The Mazda CX-3 has an uncomplicated interior layout. All models come with a 7” colour screen, operated using a control dial that removes the need for an overload of buttons. The most recent update has seen the manual handbrake replaced by an electronic one. This has given room for a new padded armrest between the front seats. In the rear seats there’s plenty of room for kids although the swooping roof line means taller adults may be a snug fit. With the rear seats in place, the boot will hold 350 litres of luggage which rises to 1260 litres with the seats folded.
Rivals include the Vauxhall Mokka X, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR, Fiat 500X, Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Jeep Renegade, Volkswagen T-Roc and the Vauxhall Crossland X.
One of the best looking small SUVs available and a great car to drive.