July 01, 2016 @ 03:08 PM

Review: Mazda CX3 - The Cornering Genius

We test drive the Mazda CX-3 and find that we rather like it.

It’s a struggle to keep reminding oneself that this is Mazda’s new crossover and not the MX-5, because the way the CX-3 takes those sharp sweeping corners just blows oneself away… For a car that has a ride height clearance of 1535mm, the CX-3 tracks extremely steadily and flat around them. It felt like Mazda has specifically tuned the MacPherson Struts on the front and Torsion Beam set up in the rear to give the crossover the cornering skills of its MX-5 sibling.

The steering holds firm as well, there was not the slightest twitch that will give your heart the slightest flutter of fear. When the car isn’t taking on corners though, the CX-3’s steering feels neither too light nor too heavy. It’s quick, precise and brilliantly responsive to every order you give it, the car will turn you into an overtaking genius in no time at all.

Then again, this is a Mazda with a complete Skyactiv package we are talking about. Not only is the smooth handling of all the Skyactiv cars is to be expected but the punch of the engines as well. The CX-3’s 2.0-litre petrol engine churns out 154bhp at 6000rpm and 204Nm of torque at 2800rpm, as a result the crossover happily launches itself forward with so much gusto that it will take you by surprise the first time you step on it.

The interior is all classic Mazda, from the air-conditioning vents, the red highlights splashed across specific areas and the barely adequate rear leg-room to the steering wheel design and head up display. The only visual difference between the Mazdas is the seat. The seats are perforated cushions and upholstered with a suede-like material so it is comfortable for our behinds even during long journeys.

Ok, so it might look like it was taken straight from the Mazda 2, but we were told that the materials used to build the CX-3’s interior are different. According to the Kodo Design language, the layout was specifically designed to direct the attention of both driver and passengers out the front. This is to help us all focus on what is happening in front of us better.

But Mazda has focused too much on sending attention to the front, those side mirrors are placed a little too far back making it a little uncomfortable for people of short stature. We will have to lean a little backwards to take a look at the traffic when we’re switching lanes. It was widely known that the MX-5’s squinty headlights were added in as an afterthought, perhaps this was what happened with the CX-3 as well? Maybe…

Other than those strangely positioned side-mirrors, the CX-3 looks flawless. While the HR-V looks more rounded and feminine, the CX-3 is all sharp edges and sporty masculinity. While Mazda claims that the CX-3 with its lack of rear-legroom and sporty drive is aimed at the young male executive, the car did not fail to catch the eye of many ladies in the process.

The Kodo Design language is like Feng Shui, the lines just flow. The carefully calculated lines gifted the CX-3 with overlapping layers that created stronger shoulder lines than the Mazda 2. The CX-3 has got black fenders to emphasise the car’s higher ride height and the rims have been cut to look sharper as well.

Yes, it is hard to tell the difference between the CX-3 and the 2 but the CX-3’s LED headlamps makes all the difference. Just take a look at those signature Mazda headlamps with its silver lashes and you will instantly fall in love.

All in all, Mazda has packaged this car brilliantly. It’s got the drive, the looks and the comfort that gives a person who doesn’t look at a car as just a transportation device would ask for.

Jerrica Leong

Mazda CX-3 2.0 Skyactiv-G 2WD

1998cc, 16v DOHC, direct fuel injection, naturally aspirated with variable valve timing, 154bhp @ 6000rpm, 204Nm at 2800rpm
Skyactiv-Drive with Sport mode, six-speed conventional automatic, front wheel drive
On Sale 

Visit our photo gallery for more images of the Mazda CX-3.

Connect to Car Magazine : Malaysian Edition! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram.