Premiered at last month's LA motor show, the new Mazda CX-3 is due to arrive in Australian showrooms around March next year. CarShowroom.com.au has just driven the all-new Mazda CX-3, making us one of only a handful of media in the world to drive it.
Mazda Australia invited a handful of Australia’s motoring press out to the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Anglesea Victoria to test drive the new Mazda CX-3 on a private track. Needless to say we jumped at the chance to be one of the first people out side of Mazda to drive the all-new compact SUV.
Mazda had organised for an entry-level front wheel drive CX-3 and a mid-spec AWD version for us to drive.
Just as the CX-5 uses the Mazda3 as its donor car, the Mazda CX-3 uses the Mazda2 for its donor. Buyers will have the choice of two engines the first being a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre petrol that produces 109kw and 192 nm. The second offering is the SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre turbo diesel it produces 77Kw @4000 270NM, this will be the first time the new diesel has been offered in Australia.
In a very non-scientific evaluation CarShowroom.com.au managed a respectable 0-100km/h time of 8.5 seconds in the petrol and 10.75 seconds in the diesel.
The Mazda CX-3 will be available with front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. Mazda Australia was not willing to offer any further information of models line-ups for the Australian market, but said more would be revealed closer to launch next year.
Considering the new Mazda 2 starts $14,990 and if you apply the same premium used in the Mazda3 to CX-5 calculation the CX-3 will be roughly start around $20,490 price point, a premium of 36 percent of the hatchback Mazda2.
Compared to the Mazda2 the new Mazda CX-3 is 55mm height, 70mm wider and 215mm length.
Its on-demand all-wheel-drive system is similar to that used in the larger CX-5 in that it brings the rear wheels into action when front tyres start to slip.
Mazda has started to produce world-class interiors and the CX-3 continues this tradition, with high quality materials being used on both the entry level and mid spec CX-3 models. On the inside dashboard and centre console are straight out of the Mazda 2 – this isn’t a problem.
Our two test cars came fitted with 7” Center display, Mazda’s MZD-Connect infotainment and navigation system, reverse camera and push button start. The mid-spec diesel also came with a heads up display.
The rear seats are raised to give a good clear view over the front passengers heads reducing the feeling of being trapped in the rear. However the rear legroom is tight and four adults shouldn’t attempt a road trip.
Luggage capacity is disappointing considering that it’s less than a standard Mazda3 and only slightly larger than a Mazda2. With the 60/40 seats in place luggage capacity is 264-litres and with seats folded flat it jumps to a more respectable 1174-litres.
One the road the Mazda CX-3 feels well balanced and smooth. The CX-3 offers the raised driving position without the excessive body roll that can be found in larger SUV models.
Launching both models in to the high speed turns at the Anglesea testing facility both the CX-3 models felt well balanced and composed. When pushed in to the corner there was a slight bit of understeer as expected.
Wind noise doesn’t really come in to effect until you are well passed the speed limits on Australian roads. However engine noise and tyre noise does make its way in to the cabin on secondary roads.
On the gravels roads the CX-3 felt a little more ragged than expected. Sharp steering maneuvers allowed for quite a bit of sideways movement before the safety features kicked in and set the car back on path.
The CX-3 is squarely aimed at young couples that live in the city and want to get away at weekends in a car that looks the part. The CX-3 offers enough room for a weekend camping trip or for a couple of seats of golf clubs with seats folded.
The sub compact SUV market is fast becoming the most hotly contested segment in Australia. By the time the Mazda CX-3 is launched, buyers will have many competitors to choose from. Buyers can already buy a Nissan Juke, Holden Trax, Ford EcoSport and Peugeot 2008 and come next year there will be Citroen Cactus, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Fiat 500x added to the mix.
Mazda looks to have another winner on its hands in the form of the CX-3. We only got to sample the Mazda CX-3 for a short period of time, but once the full production versions are released we expect our initial thoughts to be confirmed, when it hits the showroom floors in Autumn 2015 expect to see these stylish compact SUVs everywhere.