Tuesday, March 27, 2018

3 Ways the Mazda CX-3 is a Cut Above the Competition


If there was one word to describe the Mazda CX-3, it would be head-turner. I had the privilege of a one-week experience with the compact beauty and I kid you not — it literally made heads turn, everywhere I took it. Perhaps it was because of the eye-catching Soul Red variant. Or, it could also be because you don’t see much of the CX-3 on the road. And why is that? Keeping that final point in mind, I took to the streets and found out three ways the CX-3 is a cut above the competition.


#1. The easiest thing to drive…and then some. 

City driving calls for a car that is responsive, yet feels solid and controlled. The CX-3 offers this kind of driving feel. The steering is light and smooth, perfect for maneuvering in and out of traffic, but it is weighted that I always felt in control. The braking system is also responsive, but not too sensitive that every stop feels abrupt. I felt in tune with the handling of the CX-3. Okay, the ride could be better, but I find that most of the discomfort would be to those in the backseat. The driver or the person riding shotgun ends up fine.

What truly set the CX-3 drive experience apart was how smart the little crossover was. Having the top-of-the-line AWD Activ variant, it has a peppy engine that had considerable power be for stop-and-go traffic or the open highway. Power comes in gradually and this made it feel safe and controlled at all times. i-Stop is gone for 2018 and that does drop the fuel mileage to around 7.5 km/L. However, along with i-ACTIV AWD, it is now equipped with G-Vectoring Control (GVC) which added to its predictable handling.

I don’t know about you, but this could be what Jinba-Ittai means in real life.



#2. Designed for the everyday (compact-sized) driver.

The CX-3 is clearly designed for everyday driving. Putting it out there, the easy maneuvering and compact size makes me more confident on the road, even through tight, challenging streets.

Driving is far less tiring when done in the CX-3 thanks to its well-designed cabin. The seating position is perfect, with the cushions firm but comfortable, and the steering wheel offering adjustment for both reach and height. New for 2018 is the addition of a power seat with 2-setting memory for the driver.

The overall size is another consideration. While the CX-3 has the distinct long hood design that makes every Mazda vehicle look longer than it actually is, it is actually quite small, making it best when squeezing through tight spaces or less generous parking slots.

A slight disappointment though would be found in the roominess of the interior (or the lack of it). While the cabin does look roomy in photos, in reality, it can only accommodate petite-sized individuals. This is especially true for the backseat seat.


#3.  It’s in the little things.

The little things count, especially if I found myself concentrating on driving.

The CX-3 features a heads-up display (now full-colored for 2018) that shows the current speed (and if programmed in the Mazda Connect system, speed limits and turn-by-turn navigation). This helps me keep tabs on the speed without having to take my eyes off the road.

Another great feature is the rear camera, particularly how it takes the space required to open the hatch into consideration. One area for improvement though would be to let it show things like wheel angle, and highlight things like road markings and obstructions.

No doubt about it. The Mazda CX-3 is a catch. With its light, flawless steering, comfortable driving position, and unexpected features, it is the perfect car for both the daily commute and long drives on the highway.

While there are no complaints about the signature driving experience that the CX-3 (or any Mazda for that matter) brings, there is much ado with the cabin space—an important element, considering how much seat time an average driver goes through. In this regard, it seems to work more as a car for either single drivers (i.e. no family in tow) or young couples (i.e. no kids in tow); and with limits in size and structure.

Given that, how I drove it over time and setting the problem of packaging aside, consider me sold. Sold because it ticked off all the boxes in what an everyday car should have. Above all, the CX-3 invoked an emotional affinity that ultimately won me over.

Words and Photos by Gen Tiu.

28 comments:

  1. CX3 is a good car but the high price and small space made it a flop everywhere

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  2. Better than the HRV in all aspects except on interior space, but as this is a subcompact crossover, it is fine. There's a reason why its in the "subcompact size". Honda is technically cheating with the HRV in terms of dimensions. The CH-R has a similar interior space and size as the CX-3 however. I rode one in Singapore a few weeks ago and its a good car, but has smaller windows at back than the CX-3.

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    1. No, the HRV is better. The cx 3 fails at being a crossover. It only has 155mm of ground clearance vs the 185mm of the HRV. The interior and luggage space of the cx3 is very limited and cramped. Nag crossover ka pa. Bumili ka na lang ng mazda3 kung ganun naman lang pala.

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    2. pake mo kung gusto nya crossover

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    3. Its a head turner? San ba to dumaan? Squatter area? Its common + the universal look

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    4. ^Universal look? Go out on the road and try to see if there is even a single CX-3 in the sea of vioses, innovas and fortuners.

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    5. Universal look across the mazda brand. U mad fanboy?

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    6. Lol, even the german luxury brands have a universal look. The civic type ricer has the same face as the mom car mobilio. Don't know why you're bitching about the so called universal look.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    9. What's with these honda fanbois removing their comments.

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    10. I’m the one removing the comments if I feel like they’ve gotten out of hand.

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    11. So, what's the basis/criteria for the removal of their comments?

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  3. The CX3 is a failure of a vehicle, a stark contrast to its bigger siblings. Imagine buying a subcompact crossover but with a ground clearance of a sedan and a interior space comparable to an A Class vehicle. LOL

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    1. Yes. It might have been forgivable if it was classified as a hatchback and the price was reduced. But as it stands, it does indeed fail as a vehicle because it does not do what it is supposed to do.

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    2. Would you ever bring a subcompact crossover offroading? With the way I see it, Mazda's target market isn't everybody. Only those who love driving with a little more ride height but isn't into having a proper suv with more funds to spare and love to stand out while enjoying the driving and ownership experience are buying this. Most of the aspiring "small suv" buyers won't buy this because they don't appreciate the pros. It's like choosing quantity over quality for them. Personally, I chose the Mazda 3 over this because I prefer a lower ride height and a better platform. The CX-3 is based on the cheaper Mazda 2's platform btw.

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    3. With a little more ride height? My neighbor's cx3 has scrape marks all over her front chin. You are correct that crossovers are not meant for offroading but come on, 155mm for ground clearance? That's the same as the mazda 3. This car is just pointless.

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    4. Ride height is different from ground clearance btw. My Mazda 3 has the same ground clearance but I take care when tackling steep inclines and speed bumps. In the same regard, I saw a Juke with severe scratches on its front chin. It's the owner's fault in my own opinion. However, I share your opinion with the car being pointless as a crossover.

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    5. Subaru XV is a subcompact crossover capable of light off roading. The CX3, no matter how good the improvements simply won't sell.

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    6. If you ply the streets of Makati, you'll see more CX-3's than XV's. And btw, it is based from the Impreza, which is a compact, not a subcompact while the CX-3 is based from the subcompact Mazda 2.

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  4. The XV might be based from the Impreza platform but it's classified as a subcompact crossover going againts the CX3, HRV, CHR, etc.. while the Forester is Subaru's compact crossover offering.

    If you'll look at the overall local sales, the CX3 is languishing at the bottom. Even abroad, the CX3 isn't selling well.

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    1. On the positive side, it's better than having a lot of people driving the same car. It adds to the special feeling of owning and driving one compared to driving what everybody else drives. I've read that Mazda only accounts for 4% of the global market share? If that's the case, its perfectly fine as they are a small company compared to the likes of Toyota and Honda. Not everybody has money to spare for a fun driving vehicle, only few understands that criteria.

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    2. Hmmmm, i test drove a Mazda CX5 Pro and it wasn't fun to drive even on Sports Mode, not even close. I can't say for example CX5 Diesel and Mazda 6 Diesel as i haven't test driven those yet.

      On a positive side, majority of the Mazda vehicle line up is hands down better than those of Toyota. i.e. Mazda 3 > Altis, CX5 > Rav4

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    3. A 10-20 minute test drive in the city with the Mazda agent isn't fun. Have you tried it on full throttle? I test drove the MX-5 RF and the agent got scared when I drove it spiritedly. I only tapped 40% of its power. Still, they are much better to drive than the numb Toyotas which I grew up with.

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    4. I tested it in Marcos highway during a non-rush hour time, that's why i was able to use the Sports mode. I wanted to try the diesel, sadly there's non available.

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    5. Try driving it in twisty mountain roads, not just in a straight road. Even the Lotus Elise would feel boring in a straight road.

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    6. Lol on this.. Why do people try their best to bash Toyota just prop up their Mazda's.

      If it is good as you want us to believe then how come there are more toyotas on the road than this fun driving Mazdas. I doubt the toyota owners can't afford these Mazda 3, they just don't like to buy it because the pros people keep mentioning won't be able to sway the buying public on the cons.

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  5. A decade ago people will laugh at you if you tell them that Honda will eventually release a 1.5L engine with turbo or more people will eventually buy hatchbacks. I think it will be the same for compact crossovers. Took a while to see more XVs in the streets but can see a lot of them now in Makati / BGC. Heck even VW wagons are common now. Only time will tell especially if our roads don't get better.

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