Mazda CX-3 2021 Review
What was Mazda’s first foray into developing a crossover based on an existing model has rather disappointingly ended with just one generation – yes, the Mazda CX-3 that you see here today is the first and last of its kind, for the foreseeable future. An interesting compact crossover, the Mazda CX-3 looked to fight rivals like the Honda HR-V (and the Toyota C-HR) and it did so reasonably well.
First launched at the end of 2015, the Mazda CX-3 got a mid-life facelift somewhere throughout 2018, with a final connectivity and functionality update launched just a couple of months ago. There were minor changes made to the trim material choices and instrument cluster, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality.
The Mazda CX-3 is available in a singular 2.0-litre, 2WD variant. This is a peculiarity among Mazda’s models as quite nearly every other offering is provided with a range of trim levels and engines, though the CX-3 has remained somewhat streamlined over the course of its tenure in Malaysia.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Specifications
If some styling elements of the Mazda CX-3 seem familiar, it’s because this compact crossover is in fact based on the Mazda 2 compact hatchback that really redefined how upmarket Mazda’s products could be. Naturally it rides a little higher and taller than the car on which it is based, with a larger engine to account for the extra weight and for a little more punch.
That engine in question is a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre petrol unit that makes 154 hp and 206 Nm of torque – the same mill that features in everything from the Mazda CX-5, to the Mazda 3, Mazda 6, and pre-facelift Mazda MX-5. It’s a sturdy unit and it does well for the relatively low kerb weight of just 1,302 kilograms. That engine delivers power to the front wheels through a six-speed conventional automatic transmission – one that responds quickly to shift commands and throttle inputs thanks to a lock-up clutch in every gear.
Being based on the Mazda 2 platform, the Mazda CX-3 packs a MacPherson strut front suspension setup, with a rear torsion beam. It isn’t the most complex of designs, though Mazda’s engineers in the ride and handling department ensured that it behaves as beautifully as their other models do – for the most part. The latest update also includes Mazda’s G Vectoring Control (GVC), a built in system that automatically transfers weight to the front axle when going through corners.
The overall dimensions of the Mazda CX-3 stand at 4,275 mm for length and 1,765 mm for width, with a wheelbase of 2,570 mm. This wheelbase is identical to that of the Mazda 2, and the length is just 215 mm longer, while the width is roughly 70 mm wider. This poses a couple of problems, but we’ll get to that later. Ground clearance is a reasonable 155 mm, which means you won’t be going rock crawling but you could probably make it through minor floodwaters.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Exterior
While the Mazda CX-3 doesn’t have the most updated version of Mazda’s styling and design elements, it still is a handsome looking car with excellent proportions. The wheels in question are 18-inch alloy pieces. Front headlights, rear combination tail lights, daytime running lights, front fog lights, and the reverse lights are all LED pieces, really adding to the ultra-modern look. The door handles are body-coloured, while the door pillar garnish stays black for a touch of sportiness.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Interior
The inside of a Mazda CX-3 is a fantastic place to be, with a smattering of soft touch materials across the dashboard and interior trim, and impressively comfortable seats. The shift knob and steering wheel are wrapped in leather, and the seats themselves are ten-way power adjustable for the driver seat with two memory functions. The instrument cluster and head unit were revised for the 2021 minor facelift, which is more in line with the current Mazda 3.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Safety Features
Being a model that hails from a time before more the aggressive addition of active safety features, the Mazda CX-3 makes do with a modest number of advanced safety technologies. These are High Beam Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, Driver Attention Alert, and Smart City Brake Support for the front and the rear. In terms of the more regular items, there is Dynamic Stability Control (electronic stability control), traction control, ABS with EBD, emergency brake assist, hill launch assist, and an auto-hold function on slopes.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Strengths and Weaknesses
A gorgeous interior and pretty sharp handling are the main strengths when it comes to the Mazda CX-3 – although in the case of the latter this is something that one only experiences with more time spent in the driver’s seat, and preferably on a winding back road. That being said, the Mazda CX-3 does feel slightly under-damped in the front, with the front bounding over undulations while the rear settles relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, there is one even bigger problem with the Mazda CX-3, and it’s the question of interior space. With a wheelbase the same length as the Mazda 2, there really isn’t much in the way of either passenger legroom or cargo room – which is one of the points of picking a crossover over a smaller vehicle. Ultimately this is the sticking point that makes the Mazda CX-3 a more difficult proposition for owners looking at this particular segment.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Price
One variant means one price, and for the Mazda CX-3 that magic number is RM 130,729 – with current exemptions in place, of course. This isn’t altogether frightening when compared to some of Mazda’s other offerings that tend to push the very limits of what consumers are willing to pay for a model in a segment. The price is inclusive of five years warranty and five years of free maintenance, inclusive of labour, parts, and lubricants.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Features
For the money you pay, the Mazda CX-3 does come with some pretty decent options. You get the aforementioned Android Auto and Apple CarPlay readiness, along with a 4.6-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, and a 7-inch infotainment system that’s full colour. The standard speaker setup numbers six, while the screen also functions as a display for the 360-degree view monitor. Keyless entry and start are standard, as is a full-colour heads up display.
Automatic headlights, rain sensing windshield wipers, paddle shifters, and single zone automatic climate control all help to improve the quality of life in the Mazda CX-3. The rear seats get a 60/40 split with 3 headrests, giving you the much needed ability to extend your cargo area if you’re carrying particularly long items – and especially as the CX-3 doesn’t come with much boot space to begin with.
Mazda CX-3 2021 Fuel Consumption
The manufacturer quoted fuel consumption rating for the Mazda CX-3 is a decent 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which translates to roughly 15.9 kilometres per litre. Being a naturally aspirated engine, this figure is less likely to swing drastically depending on your driving style – something that Mazda has prided itself on, and one of the reasons they have avoided wholesale turbocharging for the range.
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- Body Type: SUV
- Transmission: Automatic
- Engine Capacity: 1998 cc
- Fuel Type: petrol
- Seat Capacity: 5
- Price: RM 126,776
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Good for daily usage