Aesthetic improvements make the Mazda CX-3 the fairest of them all?

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The popular Mazda CX-3 has received interior and exterior updates.


These design updates include front fog lamp bezel colour change to black, up-styled 18-inch alloy wheels and the Mazda grill being refined to consist of fewer, more pronounced lines. Mazda’s magnificent red, Soul Red Crystal, is now available across the range. LED rear combination lamps are now available for the Individual and Individual Plus derivatives.

Inside, the front centre console armrest and electric parking brake (EPB) are introduced from the Active derivative for a more premium finish and enhanced comfort. The rear centre seat armrest with cup holders and automatic dimming rear view mirror are available from the Dynamic derivative. The Individual and Individual Plus derivatives now come standard with full leather seat upholstery. 

Compact crossovers are a solution to these two challenges – they are well priced. Take for example the Mazda CX-3; starting price is R285 000 for a 2.0l badged the Active. Good value, wouldn’t you say? Although the range-topper, the Individual Plus Auto, is R104 000 more expensive, making it less of a bargain at face value. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll be surprised by its extensive host of standard features. Secondly, a crossover is raised, albeit the CX3 isn’t very high – you can still scrape it over bigger speed bumps (annoying). It is bulked-up. As a result, we like them – a lot! They feel more accomplished, or so our perceptions would have us believe. Almost like a superhero hatch ready to take you on an adventure. Of course, this isn’t the truth, but it feels safer sitting a little higher and in a chunkier car. 


Aesthetically, the Mazda CX-3 is gorgeous. Perhaps even prettier than all its competitors, albeit looks are subjective. I’ll put my head on a block and say the CX-3 is arguably the best-looking car in its class - well done, Mazda! This comment is now compounded by its exterior updates that add to its aesthetic value.

The drive of the CX-3 is enhanced and better than ever with G-Vectoring Control. This system engages by finely controlling engine power (torque) that is based on the steering and acceleration, resulting in improved handling for the driver and ride quality for the passengers around corners.


The flagship Mazda Individual Plus is enhanced with Advanced safety features that include Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) and Driver Attention Alert (DAA). 


The interior mixes faux suede, leather, Kevlar and brushed aluminium with playful oxblood red coloured stitching, and leather inserts both on the door and the sides of the transmission tunnel. The interior is well designed and well appointed: (Dynamic model) Auto On/Off headlights, front fog lights, advanced keyless entry, leather-wrapped: gearshift knob, handbrake handle and steering wheel, auto air-conditioning, 7-inch full-colour touch screen display (MZD Connect) and automatic wipers, rear parking sensors. Additionally, (Individual models) satellite navigation, reverse camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps (LED), daytime running lamps, headlamps (LED), taillamps (LED) and power sliding and tilt glass sunroof.

Good looks and a well-endowed cabin aside, but how does this baby perform? The Mazda CX-3 features a 2.0l engine using what the brand refers to as SKYACTIV-G. The engine is good for 115kW of power and 204N.m of what I call the shove factor. 204N.m (the shove factor) is somewhat modest by the way. I’d estimate a 0 to 100 sprint to be done in around 9 seconds in Jozi. The engine is either mated to a 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox. Driven sedately, the CX-3 is passively docile and happy. Push her to spread her wings, and the SKYACTIV engine heats up with its rev needle climbing upward and onward past the 5000-rpm mark while aggressively barking its disdain at being asked to do so. This isn’t a boy racer crossover then. On the upside, the engine is economical; I managed a figure of 8.7l per 100km for a week’s worth of brisk urban commutes.


The suspension is set to be firm. In my opinion, too firm – especially for urban driving. In fact, going over speed bumps over 15km/h can be a neck-altering experience. But being firm means that the CX-3 has been designed to feel sporty versus comfy. As a result, road-holding is good, especially when combined with its fat tyres which do a prodigious job of keeping the crossover firmly planted to the road.

As part of the package, all CX-3 models are sold with a 3-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty. To provide complete peace of mind motoring, 3-year roadside assistance, a 3-year service plan and a 5-year corrosion warranty are also included.


Plus +

  • Beautiful-looking car
  • Sexy interior
  • Well appointed
  • Fuel efficient
  • Entry-level and mid-level CX-3’s is well-priced


Minus -  

  • Firm ride
  • Noisy revving engine
  • Average acceleration



  • Active manual R 295 700
  • Active Auto R 313 000
  • Dynamic manual R 322 300
  • Dynamic Auto R 334 300
  • Individual Auto R 384 600
  • Individual Plus Auto R 399 200


Service and Warranty

Backed up by a 3-year/unlimited kilometre factory warranty. For complete peace of mind motoring, 3-year roadside assistance, a 3-year service plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty are also included.


My choice

Dynamic manual R 322 300



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