NEW COMPACT X-OVER: Meet Mazda's latest offering, the CX-3. The compact SUV is the latest crossover in Mazda's local line-up. Image: Janine Van der Post
Cape Town - Mazda has launched a new compact crossover in South Africa - the new CX-3.
Despite its looks and nomenclature Mazda says its not a mini-version of the CX-5.
'Jinba-Ittai' (fun driving)
The automaker says the CX-3 represents a new "standard for the era of customers". It uses Mazda's Kodo design language and boasts new SkyActiv technologies.
Mazda SA managing director, David Hughes, told Wheels24 that the CX-3 is "not a CX-5 hybrid, nor is it a Mazda2 SUV."
"The CX-3 is a new compact SUV that delivers on the our brand DNA known as 'Zoom-Zoom'; Jinba-Ittai (fun-driving) and defies convention with a clean page approach."
Hughes said that there's no all-wheel drive version for the CX-3 yet, but "we'll get there".
Under the hood lurks a 2.0 litre Skyactiv-G petrol capable of 115kW/204Nm which can be mated to either a six-speed manual (Skyactiv-MT) or a six-speed auto (known as Skyactiv-Drive). It uses Mazda's I-stop system borrowed from the new MX-5.
Although there's only one petrol unit in the range, it's available in three specifications; Active, Dynamic and the range-topping Individual auto.
The CX-3 is packaged into, Mazda says, a "comfortable cabin environment". It's easy to enter/exit the vehicle - no bashing heads for tall folk. There's plenty of boot space at 264 litres and its 60/40 split rear seats can fold flat when you need to transport an extra haul of groceries. Boot space is adequate, and can handle one huge piece of luggage, two smaller backpacks, and a laptop bag at a squeeze.
In terms of safety it has a lightweight, high-rigidity new-generation SkyActiv-Body and SkyActive chassis, says Mazda. Both active and passive safety has been improved; dual airbags; three-point seatbelts at the rear, Isofix anchor point,; dynamic stability control (not available for the entry-level version), hill assist and ABS, EBD and EBA.
What's SkyActiv technology?
SkyActiv is Mazda-talk for various technologies which all improve fuel efficiency.
How does it drive?
It's a fun car, agile, different and is aimed at, as Mazda says, the "misfit adult". It's comfortable on the road and the manual version is a treat to drive. The driving experience is almost as cheeky as its personality. The seating position gets a tick in my book and creature comforts are ample even in the entry Active model.
Sadly, the auto (SkyActive drive) can be erratic. Push the revs and the auto struggles as it searches for the right gear. The sport setting seems to add more noise than grunt and only exacerbates my Continuous Variable Transmission gripes. The car I was tested during the launch along the Winelands in the Western Cape also seemed a bit noisy at around 120km/h.
Here's a glance at the specs of the three models:
Watch: Mazda's Mzanzi anime tv ad
I always look forward to seeing what automakers' come up with in terms of ads. Mazda needs an Oscar for its latest ad - it's ridiculously cool! In the ad, Thandi is about to become a fourth wife to a 'king' in Mpumalanga but then her Jozi lover saves her in this 'Initial D' meets Mzanzi clip. His chariot is the CX-3. Take a look...
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The CX-3 comes in eight cool colours. Take a look...
Rivals and price
The Mazda CX-3 goes up against Opel's Mokka, Honda's HR-V, Ford EcoSport and Renault Captur.