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Mazda's CX-3 With A Sporting Twist
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Back in 2015 Mazda jumped on the junior SUV bandwagon and introduced us to the CX-3, a baby brother for its already well-established and thoroughly grown-up CX-5.

Based on the excellent Mazda2 hatch, the 18-strong model line-up offered something for everyone. Petrol or diesel power, two or four-wheel drive, manual and automatic variants were all available.

Some two years later, the CX-3 still cuts quite a dash, managing to combine chunky SUV styling with an almost coupe like profile.

With so much new competition in the sector, Mazda has sensibly chosen to give the CX-3 a minor makeover. Tweaks include extra technology and some more sound deadening.

At the same time the Japanese company has also introduced a GT Sport version, available in limited numbers and on test here.

Immediately apparent is the sports styling body kit which includes front, side and rear skirts with silver accents. A black rear spoiler completes the look.

Interior treatment includes the addition of premium Nappa leather upholstery.

All GT Sport models are fitted with Mazda’s familiar 120PS 1,998cc petrol engine with a choice of manual or automatic gears. There is sadly no four-wheel drive option.

Performance is brisk, with the 0-62mph benchmark sprint time of 9 seconds a fair indication. Those used to the current crop of smaller capacity turbocharged petrol engines may well miss that punch available for swift overtaking.

The engine is however refined and free revving and over 350 miles of demanding testing proved to be most frugal. I recorded just over 41mpg, refreshingly close to the manufacturer’s official 47.9 combined figure.

CO 2 emissions of 137g/km complete the CX-3 GT Sport’s green credentials.

In order to make the most of the power on offer, much use of the six-speed manual gearbox is necessary. This is no chore as the box has a slick and precise action and is combined with a light and progressive clutch.

Mazda make an excellent automatic gearbox - £1,200 extra if you so desire.

The GT Sport handles well and for the most part has a cosseting ride.

Sharper low speed bumps can make their presence felt, not unusual these days. Road noise at motorway speeds can be a little intrusive – blame the low profile tyres.

The CX-3’s interior offers ample space up front and after many long hours at the wheel, the driver’s seat remained comfortable. The rear compartment is slightly less commodious, with headroom in particular in slightly short supply.

Loadspace is a useful 350 litres and the rear seats are easy to fold if extra carrying capacity is required.

Also by Andy Harris...
Winter Warrior – A Gripping Tale Of Life With Mazda’s CX-5
Supersize Suv From Renault – Koleos On Test
Jaguar’s XE R-Sport AWD Saloon – A Gripping Tale Of A Classy Cat!
Hyundai Kona UK Launch Review
Volvo XC60 T8 – Classy SUV With Green Credentials
As one has now come to expect, a smaller car does not mean a dearth of kit. GT Sport buyers will enjoy climate-controlled air conditioning, smart alloy wheels and an intuitive seven-inch touchscreen controlling functions such as the satellite navigation, Bose sound system and associated Bluetooth features.

Having said all that, a Sport Nav model with the same drive train can be had for some £2,000 less. Is it worth the extra outlay, especially as there is no power upgrade?
I will leave the question unanswered except to say that on a monthly PCP deal the extra outlay is likely to be minimal. So if you like the look....

I was genuinely sorry to see the CX-3 GT Sport head off down the driveway - my consolation being the CX-5 that has taken its place. More of that another day...

Fast Facts (as tested)

Mazda CX-3 SKYACTIV–G 120 PS GT Sport
Price - £22,895
120PS 2.0-litre petrol engine
Front-wheel drive
6-speed manual gearbox (Auto add £1,200)
0-62mph in 9 seconds
Top speed 119mph
Combined economy 47.9mpg
Emissions – 137g/km CO2

Mazda's CX-3 With A Sporting Twist, 5th December 2017, 9:19 AM