2021 Mazda CX-3 vs CX…?

Mazda is in big trouble. This is merely an assumption on my part because I used to think that the left-field Japanese brand was simply dancing to its own tune. But after testing their small(est) CX crossover, I got the feeling that they are in a spot of bother…

Why? Well, up to now they got their SUV nomenclature right. Two letters, dash, number and seeing that the beloved X (for Crossover) was already part of their naming strategy for regular vehicles, they simply slapped a C on the front for what is plainly a range of Compact Crossover vehicles. Brilliant. Inspired!

You may even go so far as to conspiracy-theorise that they’re dyslexic and hinting at a luxury Swedish brand with its refined range of soft-roaders. Mazda even left plenty of room to grow with the cute CX-3 or larger CX-5 on offer. The only issue I was aware of was that their pricing was too close and people were easily upsold to the 5.

What a wonderful problem to have.

And it’s here, in the negligible space between the two models, where things have gone wrong in recent months. You see, Mazda introduced the equally-attractive CX-30 model which not only breaks the XX-0 mould mentioned earlier, but also wipes its backside with most other criteria.

Is it a trendy wannabe coupé, some soft evolution or a direct successor of the CX-3? Ehh, nope. It’s a stand-alone model which actually comes dangerously close to the CX-5 in terms of size, spec and price. They should’ve called this the CX-4, or in keeping with their new naming strategy, something like CX-48 would’ve been more accurate.

Still don’t believe me? Watch this:

 CX-3 2.0 Dynamic A/TCX-30 2.0 DynamicCX-5 2.0 Dynamic A/T
Engine1998cc i-4 petrol1998cc i-4 petrol1998cc i-4 petrol
kw / Nm115 / 206Nm121 / 213121 / 213
Gearbox6-speed Automatic6-speed Automatic6-speed Automatic
Drive FWDFWDFWD
Avg. cons.6.7L/100km6.6L/100km6.9L/100km
Tank size48L51L56L
Clearance155mm175mm185mm
Boot size265L295L442L
PriceR406,800R499,000R516,700

So, on paper, the CX brethren are incredibly close. That also goes for their looks, although I think that the middle child has some of that Coupé-SUV thing going on. The cabins are fairly similar as well, although the newbie sports a newer screen and sharper instruments; which will hopefully make their way to the other models as well.

If not, that is certainly a unique selling proposition – fresher tech and slightly cooler designs. Not that the other two vehicles are ever to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word “ugly”… Mazda makes some seriously good-looking machines, and we even compiled a video about a recent special version of the bigger CX-5:

Because they all share the same drive train – albeit with a de-tuned engine in the ‘3 – piloting a CX-3 is pretty familiar territory to anyone who’s been exposed to the other two. If you’re new to the Mazda stable, pick any one of the trio because they have modern and dynamic handling with just enough ride comfort for everyday use.

Let me reiterate. The CX-3 is not an ugly vehicle, nor is it useless or overpriced. Quite the opposite, actually. But in the teeny-tiny world of Mazda SUV’s, unless they’re planning five more models in the immediate future, the clustered line-up simply doesn’t make any sense.

But… if your local dealer is out of CX-5 stock, or the CX-30 is just a bit too big (like, a tiny bit) then this trusty little CX-3 2.0 Dynamic Auto might fit the bill. Each vehicle is sold with a 3-year UNLIMITED mileage warranty and matchy-matchy service plan.

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