Compact crossovers are all the rage. Together with entry-level hatchbacks, these two types of vehicles are the only categories growing in sales percentages in South Africa. This can be attributed to several factors - things like a volatile economy and the need for increased safety - even if it is just an illusion, the concept is thought-provoking for potential customers.
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 R95 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. 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. Like the rest of its family, it carries the same KODO design language, essentially an understanding of movement and implementing it within their designs to create tense, muscular yet flowing lines.
Now enhanced and better than ever with G-Vectoring Control that was introduced late last year. New Mazda CX-3 Individual Plus, a new addition to the line-up, is enhanced with Advanced safety features. There is also side door garnishing on the Individual and its derivatives.
G-Vectoring – this system engages by finely controlling engine power (torque) that is based on the steering and acceleration of the driver, resulting in improved handling for the driver and ride quality for the passengers around corners.
The new Individual Plus model comes with advanced safety features that include Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Driver Attention Alert (DAA) and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM).
There are also two new exterior colours; Eternal Blue Mica and Machine Gray Metallic.
The interior mixes faux suede, leather, Kevlar, 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, 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. Not! 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.
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.
Dynamic manual R310 700
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