I have always been a fan of Mazda, especially over the past 10 years. They make good looking, great value cars that have reasonable servicing costs with excellent fuel economy.
This along with great resale value, makes them a popular choice.
So when we decided to purchase a small SUV, the recently released CX3 was at the top of our test-drive list.
On arrival at our local dealer, we decided to test drive both the petrol and the diesel. We visit family regularly in the country, so chose to look at both options. Having had a diesel in the past, they are economical but not for everyone. Far more suited to country trips than just around the city.
After driving both the petrol and diesel back-to-back, the diesel was the car of choice. It costs an extra $2400 over the petrol, so this is something to consider if you don't do a lot of kilometres or city driving only.
Now that we decided on the diesel, the next choice was which model. I personally have always tried to purchase the top model wherever possible, as like to get all the bells and whistles.
If on a budget, I would say the Maxx would be the one to go for. The Maxx still gives you a lot of tech including the 7 inch touchscreen, sat nav, reversing camera plus the great commander control in between the front seats, which is similar to BMW's i-drive.
Also, the Maxx is the cheapest way to the diesel if that's what you are looking for.
Anyhow, after looking closely as each grade, decided to spend the extra dollars and get the Akari Diesel AWD.
Final decision was colour and decided on Soul Red. Have always liked this colour especially on the Mazda 6, and it looks equally as good on this car.
The car has attracted looks just about everywhere we went, especially in the first couple of weeks. And so it should, it's a great looking car. From the classy looking alloys to the LED day-time running lights, this car stands out from the crowd.
If you compare this to some of the other small SUV's on the market, it makes the others look old and dated.
This car has a presence on the road. It's both classy and modern, and is a clear winner looks wise.
The interior is also a stand-out. The leather seats are comfortable, the dash looks modern, and every thing is easy to use. Especially Mazda's MZD connect system. Having had various audio and Sat-Nav systems in previous cars, I find the MZD very easy to use.
The Sat-Nav is a breeze. You can use the touch screen if you want, but the central commander feels just right in your left hand, just like a mouse is to a computer. It's very intuitive and you don't need an instruction manual to use.
In addition to the MZD system, this particular CX3 is also packed with technology, such as blind spot monitoring, active driving display, lane departure warning and high beam control.
A couple of these features I initially thought were just a gimmick. But after using have found useful. The active driving display is very handy and keeps your eyes firmly on the road, and the high beam control is great for the long country trips.
The bluetooth synced very easily to my phone, unlike other car systems which can be painful.
The boot space isn't as big as other cars, but on our recent trip away we comfortably fitted a couple of medium sized suitcases and some backpacks. It also has an adjustable floor panel which can be used to increase boot space, or simply to hide things away.
Have had 2 adults in the back for both short and long trips and they mentioned they were comfortable, and didn't feel cramped. In saying that, I think this car would suit singles and couples. Families would be better off with the CX5 with it's bigger interior and extra boot space.
Have found the car to be very zippy around town, although there is a small amount of turbo lag off the line. Mazda wasn't out to design a hot hatch. Once you get out onto the freeway, there's enough power to overtake when required.
With more torque, the diesel feels and sounds great at 100km/h, and the tacho hovers around 1800-1900rpm.
A small touch of your foot and overtaking is a breeze.
So you aren't going to win any drag race, but the trade off for less power is that it's very economical.
Fuel economy has been great, averaging between 5.5 - 6.0l per 100 around town, and 5.0 - 5.5 out in the country.
On our interstate trip, we got almost 800kms out of the tank, and am sure this will improve over time.
It also handles great. It has a sporty feel and the turn in is sharp. Doesn't feel like an SUV at all, and much more like a small hatchback. Mazda's often handle well, just look at the MX-5 or the Mazda 3.
The servicing costs is also something to consider when buying a new car, and Mazda has a great capped-price plan.
All Mazda's require servicing every 10,000kms or every 12 months whichever comes first. The cost varies between models. An example would be the first 10,000 service for the diesel CX3 is $319 and the 20,000 is $387. The petrol is cheaper again.
Have had the car for just over 2 months, with 7000 kms on the clock. A lot of kilometres in a short space of time I know, but coincidentally prior to purchasing this car we had organised an interstate trip.
There are a few small gripes, but no car is perfect. A centre armrest would be handy, although I wouldn't spend the $410 that mazda charge for their after-sales option. To me, it looks flimsy and doesn't offer a lot of storage.
I also miss having electric and heated seats. For the top spec Akari, this should be standard. Both the higher spec models of the CX5 and 6 have this, so why not the CX3.
These things are only minor flaws and something hopefully Mazda may change on it's upgraded model at a later time.
The Mazda CX3. Good looking, a great drive, economical and full of great tech and features.
If you are looking for a small SUV, I would definitely recommend including the CX3 on your list of cars to drive.