Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - A little less, but a little more

By Clifford Chow, 10 May 2022

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - A little less, but a little more

Singapore - When the Mazda CX-3 first appeared on our shores, their smallest crossover was fitted with a 2-litre engine. Somewhere else in the world, this would have been quite normal. However, in “sunny side up” Singapore, this would mean that the CX-3 would be easily overlooked, in-favour for other Category A friendly small SUV offerings.

Now that the CX-3 is fitted with a Category A COE friendly engine, we feel that it is worth taking a second look at Mazda’s smallest SUV. Externally, little has changed here, apart from the car receiving a new set of rims. The CX-3 has a crisp, instantly recognisable signature chrome grille, and there is that increased ride height, to differentiate it from the Mazda 2. There is also a raised hipline and wheel guards, again just so that you know… SUV.

It does lose the sunroof, but I’m guessing that not many would miss it.

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Interior

The CX-3’s dashboard and interior bits are largely carried over from the Mazda 2, which the CX-3 is related to. This is a good thing, as it is among the best-built among its peers. Over here you get soft-touch materials, which are also found on other cabin touchpoints, which gives the dash a lift in quality. There is a good scatter of hard plastics, which cheapens the interior, but there are no creaks, and everything feels well screwed together.

With the facelift, the CX-3 also gets an electronic parking brake, which is neater. The 7-inch infotainment screen, though seemingly on the smaller side current-day, receives a clean-looking gloss black bezel to keep things fresh. In the ‘Elegance’ trim car, wireless Apple CarPlay is also now standard, meaning that Apple phone users will have quite a seamless experience. Android users on the other hand, will still have to use a cable to connect their device.

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Wireless charger
Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Wireless charger

There is now a neatly designed wireless mobile phone charger, which sits at the base of the centre console, and I am happy that Mazda have included this, as it has become a must-have these days. 

Behind the wheel, the instrument panel contains two digital screens which flank an analogue rev counter; a neat layout which is easy to read, and attractive too. The ‘Elegance’ trim car also gets a useful HUD screen.

Interior space in the CX-3 is best described as cosy. There is just sufficient room for four adults without the need to squeeze. Passengers at the rear get acceptable knee and leg room, but there is quite little in-terms of space for you to stretch. The Hyundai Kona comes very close to the CX-3 in interior dimensions, but the Peugeot 2008 does feel bigger.

There is 240 litres of boot space to work with, which is actually sufficient for most, but you should not expect much more. With the rear seats folded, there is that kerb which makes loading long items difficult, and significantly reduces actual extended luggage room.

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - The drive

Overall, the CX-3 feels pleasant to drive, and it purrs when cruising on the highway. It also transitions smoothly into bends, in-part thanks to its G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which does minute torque adjustments in response to steering inputs. 

While most things are good, the rear torsion beam suspension makes the CX-3 become untidy over rougher patches. Over narrow humps, there is that jolt you would need to cope with.

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Combined fuel consumption
Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Combined fuel consumption

This might be unexciting, but the 14.0:1 compression ratio of the engine translates to a more efficient burn. Mazda claims a combined 5.8L/100km (17.2km/l). We managed 5.6L/100km (17.9km/l) combined, and 5.3L/100km (19km/l) on mostly highway runs.

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Highway fuel consumption
Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance - Highway fuel consumption

As customer preferences have shifted over to SUVs in past years, the CX-3 sits within tight competition. The 1.5 litre engine does make it more attractive, but it is one of the smallest class offerings.

PHOTOS Clifford Chow

Mazda CX-3 1.5L Elegance (A)

Engine: 1,496cc, inline4
Power/rpm: 115hp/6,000rpm
Torque/rpm: 149Nm/4,000rpm
Transmission: 6spd auto
0-100km/h: 11.2secs
Top speed: 175km/h
Kerbweight: 1,255kg
Fuel consumption: 5.8l/100km

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