So, what’s this?
Typical of Mazdas at the moment, everything. If you’ve not heard it before, Mazda has effectively re-engineered its entire range as it moves away from the Ford platform shares we saw in the Nineties and Noughties. This started with the CX-5 and then the Mazda 6, then the smaller hatchback Mazda 3 and Mazda 2 this year.
The CX-3 is the latest car developed using the new design ethos, which Mazda dubs “SkyActiv” for the greasy bits and “KODO – Soul of Motion” for the pretty parts, and it’s the first baby crossover produced by the Hiroshima firm.
What powers it?
For the launch models at least there’ll be a choice of Mazda’s new petrol engine – a 2.0-litre available with two different power outputs (118hp or 163hp) – or the brand-new 104hp 1.5-litre diesel engine you’ll find in the new Mazda 2 in January. Both will be available with manual or automatic gearboxes.
It’s a little early to be talking about fuel economy, emissions and performance, but with the CX-5 featuring quite high up our recent economical 4×4 list the CX-3 should post pretty competitive figures. We’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one model posting the magic sub-100g/km rating for free road tax.
How much will it cost me?
It’s not due on sale in the UK until summer 2015, so information is a little scarce on prices. Given what we know about the market positions of existing Mazdas and the cost saving that will be made by sharing some components with the new Mazda 2, it seems likely that entry level models will set you back around £14,500 and the range should top out near the £20k mark.
On all but the automatic-equipped 1.5 diesel model, the CX-3 will also offer all-wheel-drive should you choose it, giving it a rare edge over predominantly front-wheel-drive rivals. Like its bigger sibling it may not be the last word in offroading, but for a little extra traction over the winter months it’s a big selling point.
Well, there’s only one name in the class that anyone utters these days, and it’s Nissan’s Juke. There are plenty of pretenders to the Juke’s crown though – the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Vauxhall Mokka are all competitors the CX-3 will find itself up against.
In a line…
At last, a genuine rival for the Nissan Juke.