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Mazda CX-3 Review

Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-3

1/10

Mazda CX-3

2/10

Mazda CX-3

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Mazda CX-3

4/10

Mazda CX-3

5/10

Mazda CX-3

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Mazda CX-3

7/10

Mazda CX-3

8/10

Mazda CX-3

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Mazda CX-3

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2015
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
Andy Brady

Written by

Andy Brady

00/10
heycar rating
Stylish but slow crossover SUV

Best bits

  • Stylish looks and a minimalist interior
  • Fun to drive
  • Available with four-wheel drive

Not so great

  • Lacks the grunt of turbocharged alternatives
  • Diesels are rare
  • Not particularly spacious

Read by

Mazda CX-3 2018

Overall verdict

Mazda CX-3 central console

On the inside

Mazda CX-3 on road

Driving

Mazda CX-3 right exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mazda CX-3 alloy wheel

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Mazda CX-3 has a great cabin, looks the part and is fun to drive. Like most modern Mazdas, its engine line-up lets it down slightly, while it’s not as spacious inside as a Honda HR-V. Still, if you can live with these niggles, the CX-3’s a very sensible (and desirable) choice."

Mazda CX-3 2018

The Mazda CX-3 is a slightly left-field alternative to small crossover SUVs like the Nissan Juke, SEAT Arona and Renault Captur. It offers attractive looks and a classy interior, while it’s more fun to drive than most of the competition.


Like most cars in this class, the CX-3 is essentially a small hatchback (in this case, it's based on the Mazda 2) with an increased ride height and slightly more practical cabin. However, it’s not as versatile as some rivals, and you don’t sit particularly high either. So, well, what’s the point?


While it’s easy to be sceptical about the CX-3 (and, indeed, most small crossovers), there’s also an awful lot to like about it. The cabin feels modern and sporty, with lots of neat touches which make it feel more like an MX-5 than a Nissan Juke rival. If you hunt for them, you’ll find a few less-than-perfect finishes, but this reflects the CX-3’s position in the Mazda hierarchy. If you want more soft-touch finishes, you’d be better with the newer CX-30 or bigger CX-5.


The cabin feels pretty cramped in the rear, but there’s plenty of space in the front and the seats are comfortable enough for long journeys. With space for 350-litres of luggage, the CX-3 has a pretty average boot, although access is easy and you can always drop the rear seats if you need more space.


It feels pretty sporty to drive. The steering is pleasingly direct while it doesn’t lean too much in corners and there’s plenty of grip on offer. You can buy a four-wheel-drive version too, but that’s a bit pointless unless you live in the Highlands of Scotland with snowy winters. Honestly, we’d just buy a set of winter tyres if you’re concerned about snow or icy conditions.


The engine line-up is pretty typical of the Mazda range. Don’t expect the 2.0-litre petrol to offer hot hatch performance compared to the small turbocharged units used in rivals. Despite its big capacity, it produces just 120PS, and you’ll have to rev it really hard to keep up with day-to-day traffic. If you’re used to modern turbo alternatives with punchy performance from low revs, you might find the petrol Mazda CX-3 hard work.


The diesel engine is a better choice in some ways, but they’re relatively rare on the used market. And, unless you cover lots of motorway miles, you don’t really want a diesel. They can be less reliable as they get older and will attract dirty looks if you drive one in a town centre.


While the Mazda CX-3 has never sold in the same numbers as the Nissan Juke or Renault Captur, it was in production for five years and there are plenty on the used market. We’d look for a post-2018 model if budget allows as the CX-3 range was updated with revised suspension and fresh technology (such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). You can recognise facelifted models as they’ll have a plus symbol in their trim level (e.g. SE-L Nav+).


Ready to get your top quality Mazda CX-3?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Mazda CX-3

2.0 GT Sport 5dr

  • 2017
  • 8,950 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Victoria Park Mazda
  • County of Cardiff, CF118AQ
Price:£15,990
PCP: £257.61/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £257.61, Customer Deposit: £2,398.00, Total Deposit: £2,398.50, Optional Final Payment: £7,777.21, Total Charge For Credit: £3,459.67, Total Amount Payable: £19,449.67, Representative APR: 10.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 5.61%, Excess Mileage Charge: 14.9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Mazda CX-3

2.0 Sport Nav 5dr

  • 2017
  • 36,687 miles
  • Perrys Vauxhall Broadstairs
  • Kent, CT102NP
Price:£12,127
PCP: £203.84/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £203.84, Customer Deposit: £1,819.00, Total Deposit: £1,819.05, Optional Final Payment: £6,086.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,116.29, Total Amount Payable: £15,243.29, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.59%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Mazda CX-3 right for you?

If you want a stylish crossover SUV that’s great to drive, the Mazda CX-3 should be on your shortlist. The underpowered petrol engines won’t appeal to everyone, but they ought to be reliable and fairly cheap to run. We like its minimalist interior and equipment levels are generous, although some rivals are more spacious.

What’s the best Mazda CX-3 model/engine to choose?

Unless you cover a lot of miles or really need four-wheel drive, we’d recommend the standard 120PS 2.0-litre petrol engine. Mid-spec SE-L (and later SE-L Nav) models are popular and represent good value for money, so that’s probably what we’d be looking for.

What other cars are similar to the Mazda CX-3?

There are plenty of alternatives you could also consider. The Nissan Juke is a popular rival, although not everyone will like its bulbous looks. The Citroen C3 Aircross is a comfortable alternative, while the Renault Captur is a versatile choice. You could also consider the newer Volkswagen T-Cross and popular SEAT Arona, while the Honda HR-V is a dependable option. Also look at the Suzuki Vitara, too.

Learn more

Mazda CX-3 central console

On the inside

Mazda CX-3 on road

Driving

Mazda CX-3 right exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mazda CX-3 alloy wheel

Prices, versions and specification