2018 Mazda CX-3 review
Our Rating

4/5

2018 Mazda CX-3 review

We get behind the wheel of the facelifted mid-size SUV, which comes with improved levels of tech and a new diesel engine

Introduction

Most updates to Mazda models are quite minimal and happen more regularly than with other manufacturers, and this is what has happened with the newly updated CX-3.

The differences between its predecessor and the new version are few and far between, but Mazda likes to tinker with its models more regularly so that they remain up to scratch.

As with the old CX-3, the new one is handsome, well thought out and, according to Mazda, has improved driving dynamics, so should be as great to drive as before.

But how does it stack up against similar crossover rivals? We take a look…

2018 Mazda CX-3

Performance

Even though many manufacturers are removing diesel engines from their line-ups, Mazda has added one to CX-3 – in the guise of a 1.8-litre four-cylinder. It has been added to the 2.0-litre petrol engine, which comes in two states of tune – 119bhp and 148bhp. We drove the least powerful of the two, and it was a pleasant unit to say the least.

The naturally-aspirated engine, when paired to a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive, is good fun to use but can take time to get up to speed in the lower power. The sprint from standstill to 60mph takes 8.8 seconds and the CX-3 can reach a top speed of 119mph with this unit. Automatic and four-wheel drive layouts are also available to choose from.

See Available Mazda CX-3 Deals
2018 Mazda CX-3

Ride & Handling

As with most other Mazda models, the CX-3 has a well-balanced chassis that complements the sharp steering that allows for great placement, while the level of front grip is among the best in the crossover segment.

Add to the that the improved suspension setup that Mazda has added, and you have a comfortable crossover that is better riding than many of its rivals and is much more mature in feel. Cruising is taken in its stride, but it can feel a bit floaty over large crests in the road surface.

2018 Mazda CX-3

Interior & Equipment

With the update comes a refreshed interior layout, as Mazda has removed the manual handbrake for an electronic one, and moved the media system controls further forward in the central console. The materials used are mixed in quality, with suede panels, metal detailing and soft-touch plastics used throughout – with black cloth upholstery the standard. Higher spec models come with leather additions.

From the base SE Nav+ spec, models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel and gearknob, manual air conditioning, electric windows, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, daytime running lights and cruise control with speed limiter. That’s a good level of kit from the starter option.

In higher spec models, such as the Sport Nav+ model we drove, the CX-3 comes with larger alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, reversing camera, Bose speaker system, parking sensors and a heads-up display.

Space-wise, the CX-3 has a 350-litre boot that can be extended to 1,260 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down. Passenger space is slightly more cramped in the rear for taller occupants than rivals, but it works well enough for those wanting it as a family car.

2018 Mazda CX-3

Cost

Prices for the CX-3 start from £18,995, which is at a higher price point than some of its closest rivals – but considering the levels of spec available, it isn’t that much of a step to make. With extras added, the CX-3 Sport Nav+ we tested cost £21,695.

As the engine isn’t turbocharged, you’re more likely to get close to the claimed mpg of 45.5, while the emissions of 141g/km CO2 for a petrol crossover are quite reasonable.

2018 Mazda CX-3

Verdict

As premium yet affordable crossovers go, the Mazda CX-3 is one that you should definitely consider. Even though other models on the market come in at a lower price point, the CX-3 has good equipment on offer from the base spec, and it is arguably the best driving option in the compact crossover segment. Although the naturally-aspirated may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s worth a go to see if it suits you.

Enquire Now on a new Mazda CX-3

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