Sam says consistency is key

 

When I first started writing reviews, I always wondered to which car I would buy when the time came.  Initially, it was actually the Mazda CX-3 that caught my attention. Since then, my needs changed and I’ve driven a lot more cars and consequently, changed, my mind quite a few times since then. Ultimately, though, my love for the CX-3 remains.

 

Granted, Mazda described the updated CX-3 as having a number of products enhancements rather than being a completely new derivative. Consequently, the tested CX-3 did not have major changes in comparison to the car that first captured my attention.

 

These products enhancements include the Mazda MZD connect infotainment screen which increases the screen size from 7-inches to 8-inches. There is improvement to user-experience and comfort, particularly in the Dynamic, Individual and Hikari models. Safety is improved by adding seat belt warnings to the rear. In the Individual automatic and Hikari automatic models, wireless charging has been added. Lastly, a new colour, Platinum Quartz, is available. Other the number of derivatives available, which is six options, remains the same.

 

The drive

Consequently, as none of the enhancement is related to the drive of the Mazda CX-3, it is very much the same as that model. The drive is thoroughly enjoyable and driver-focused. After a week in the CX-3 it takes a bit of adjustment to drive a car that is not 100% in-tune with the driver in the same way the CX-3 is.

 

This is due to SKYACTIV Technology which is a series of new-generation vehicle motion control technologies that provide integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis and body to enhance the vehicle’s Jinba-Ittai: a sense of connectedness between car and driver.

 

Initially, I was disappointed with the transmission of the CX-3 because it lacked the smoothness and efficiency the previous model had. It took me a moment to realise I was driving in sport mode. Once I switched it off. It was back to the transmission. I can now also say sport mode is not something that I would actually use that often in the CX-3 because I didn’t feel the results were worth it.

 

On that same note, I did drive with it in this mode for some time wondering in a puzzlement why Mazda made this decision. Another downside to it was definitely affected my fuel consumption quite a bit, as can be expected. The claimed consumption is around 6.7l/100km but I only achieved 7.9l/100km. still not bad considering my ample use of sport mode.

 

The design

That is design is also something that has remained relatively unchanged. The exterior of the Mazda CX-3 is sporty, modern and perfectly suited to its target audience. The chrome front grille and the curvy lines in the front are particular aspects that make it stand out.

 

From the exterior the CX-3 looks like a fairly decent-sized crossover. Do not, however, expect it to be that much larger inside. while comfortable and suitable for a small family the interior is actually much closer to that of a sedan than what you would expect. It appears that much of the apparent exterior size is just for aesthetics.

 

 

 

From the inside

The CX-3 has all the tech you would expect from a car in this segment and then some. It has keyless access, start button, the new wireless charger along with USB ports, heads-up display and the larger infotainment screen and all that goes with this.

 

I particularly liked the full leather seats. This is one of the main reasons the Mazda CX-3 has comfort and quality above the rest.

 

Safety features

In the official press release, it is rear seat belt alerts are the only thing mentioned as being new. There is a change to another safety feature that I distinctly recall not being in the previous generation unless it was a different model or was switched off in that test vehicle.

 

I am referring to the lane assist alert when drifting or going across a line without indicating. Nothing is innovative about this tech as it has been around for some time…except how Mazda chose to alert you. It sort of emits, for lack of a better word, a growling sound from the speakers to let you know that you are drifting. The first time it happened I was caught off-guard and even swung around to see if there was ‘something’ in the car with me. Alas, the demon sound is what Mazda uses for the lane-keep assist alert.

 

The other thing to note about the lane-keep assist is that it is very sensitive, even if you just slightly move around a pothole and are no where near touching the line it emits its very unique sound. I found, after a long drive, that this became rather tiresome. I do not normally switch safety features off but if I were to buy the Mazda CX-3 I would either switch it off or always drive perfectly centred in a lane.

 

Something else that is impressive with the safety features, that I’ve also only seen once before, is a warning to take a rest for drivers if they have been driving for more two hours. Once again this may not have shown itself to me previously because I may not have been behind the wheel for an extended time. I do believe that this is a great piece of technology as it’s easy to fall into the monotony of driving and not realise that you may have been driving too long without a break.

 

One of the main reasons that I like the Mazda CX-3, is that Mazda gives the same level of comfort and technology in the entry-level car as what they do in the top of the range. The CX-3 is not the entry-level but the level of comfort, technology and specification you get is impressive and just as much as what you would get in the CX-5. I believe this adds a level of value to their vehicles that not a lot of other manufacturers do as well.

 

Obviously, however, this does push the price up slightly. Generally, their vehicles tend to err on the higher side of pricing within their segment, but if you can afford this, you will definitely get what you pay for.

 

It is actually very difficult to find much to fault the Mazda CX-3 on. Other than their demon sounding like lane-keep assist. But this isn’t exactly a fault either. Thus, if you have a family of up to four, and you want a car that performs just as well in your day-to-day driving and errands as what it does on longer trips while offering excellent comfort and spec, then there would be no reason not to give this car serious consideration.

 

Good to know

The specs

Engine: 2l 4-cylinder
Transmission: automatic six speed

Power: 115 kW
Torque: 206 Nm
Top Speed: 192 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 6.7l/100 km

Price: Starts at R379 000
Maintenance / service plan: 3-year unlimited kilometre service plan, 3-year factory warranty, 3-year roadside assistance and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty

 

Read more MasterTests

 

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn