Sprint Review: Mazda CX-3 2.0 (Automatic)

New car with an out-dated drivetrain or reliability in a modern suit? We find out:

You’ll need to know: Mazda’s CX-3 fits perfectly into that achingly trendy sub-compact cross-dresser city SUV segment where you’ll also find Hondas, Hyundais and… everyone else, actually. It looks stylish, doesn’t fear a tall sidewalk and has all the Apple BluCar or Android NavTeeth your heart desires.

#Loveit, Karen.

More details: Where things get a bit weird is with the oily bits because, unlike most of its competition, this vehicle does not have four clutches and twelve gears and one cylinder with eight dual-view turbochargers. No siree, under the graceful grimace of this family fodder whirs a boring old four banger with some completely, like, boring automatic transmission.

Oh dear, did Mazda not get the memo?

Right, what else? I strongly suspect that they were banking on existing technology (or their plans were delayed / derailed) but there is an upside to all of this: if you want a sexy mini-SUV with the latest gadgetry but tried and trusted tech, this Mazda is absolutely perfect. Drop-dead looks, faint-at-will toys, bulletproof mechanicals.

Bad stuff? Obviously it isn’t as involving to drive as a twelve-speed turbo-hybrid, nor will it achieve the (often optimistic) claimed fuel use of its modern rivals. And while its dependable propulsion system may attract sensible seniors, the rocket-ship gadgets may repel them. Ditto for the price of between R350,000 and R443,000.

The boot is comparably small at only 264L but the rear seats will fold over to allow up to 1,260L of cargo. It only has a Marie Biscuit spare wheel and the 48L fuel tank will probably have you filling up more often than you like. On the flipside, the 1,998cc high-compression long-stroke motor is quite gutsy at sea level!

Good points: You’ll save a few bob by buying the six-speed manual derivative of the three various trim levels. These go from commendable (with all accepted safety and convenience features) to keyless-this, adaptive-that, BOSE tunes and even a heads-up display. The only optional extra is navigation for the middle models.

Each new CX-3 carries a 3-year (unlimited mileage) warranty and service plan with roadside assistance.


Engine:2.0 i-4 petrol
Transmission:6-speed Automatic, FWD
Max. Power:115kW
Max. Torque:206Nm
Avg. cons.:Approx. 8.5L/100km (claimed 6.7)
0-100km/h:8.18 seconds (claimed 9.5)
Top Speed:Claimed 192km/h
List Price:R414,995

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