With a more inclusive approach to safety, and a driving experience designed to be more enjoyable, the updated 2017 Mazda CX-3 arrives just in time to front up against the Toyota C-HR as well as the rest of the small SUV class.
Entry level pricing has risen by $500 for the entry level Neo and Maxx grades, starting from $20,490, while the mid-grade sTouring holds steady from $26,990, and the top-spec Akari adds $200 to start from $31,490
From the outside there’s little to tell the 2017 CX-3 apart from earlier versions. Eagle-eyed Mazda fans might spot a new alloy wheel colour for high-grade cars, and a new shade of blue for the paint palette but visually the range stays the same as before.
Inside a new steering wheel design and revised instrument cluster amount to the extent of mazda’s freshen-up, but with the CX-3 range having first gone on sale in 2015 there was arguably little need for a more thorough redesign.
The biggest changes takes place where they can’t be seen, with Mazda working to improve on-road refinement through measures including thicker door glass, increased sound-deadening material, foam fillers in some body parts, and wider door seals to keep road and wind noise at bay.
Mazda has also included its G-Vectoring Control handling technology on the CX-3 which exists to provide a more accurate and involving driving experience on winding roads, while simultaneously reducing fatigue on the driver and passengers through reduced body movements on straight roads.
Buyers are also sure to appreciate the now-standard inclusion of both forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking, which Mazda calls Smart City Brake Support, on all modes in the range.
As before four trim levels will be available in Australia: Neo, Maxx, sTouring, and Akari with a choice of 2.0-litre petrol or 1.5-litre turbo diesel engines available.
The petrol maintains is 109kW and 192Nm outputs and is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic and front wheel drive for the Neo, or a choice of front or auto-only all wheel drive on all other grades.
The diesel engine, available on Maxx and above produces 77kW and 270Nm and comes with a six-speed automatic matched to front wheel drive on the Maxx or all wheel drive on the sTouring and Akari.
All variants from Maxx and above also include blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert with Driver Attention Alert and colour head-up display capable of showing the newly-added Traffic Sign Recognition on sTouring and Akari. Adaptive LED headlights and lane departure warning are also part of the Akari package.
All models feature six airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, hill-start assist, rear parking sensors, and front seatbelt pretensioners. A reverse camera is standard for Maxx and above but a $500 option for the base model Neo.
Other features include cloth seat trim, manual air conditioning, push-button start, trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, 16-inch steel wheels, and height adjustable front seats on the Neo.
The Maxx adds a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, leather trim for the steering wheel, gearknob, and handbrake, DAB+ digital radio, smartphone app compatibility (for Pandora, Stitcher, and Aha only), and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Moving up to the sTouring brings an interior trimmed in fake leather and cloth, keyless entry, climate control, LED daytime running lights, headlights, foglights, and taillights, heated and power folding mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and auto headlights, plus 18-inch alloy wheels.
The flagship Akari goes further with a leather and suede interior (with optional white leather), a sunroof, heated front seats, a power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory function, and front park sensors.
Neo manual FWD petrol – $20,490
Neo automatic FWD petrol – $22,490
Maxx manual FWD petrol – $22,890
Maxx automatic FWD petrol – $24,890
Maxx automatic AWD petrol – $26,890
Maxx automatic FWD diesel – $27,290
sTouring manual FWD petrol – $26,990
sTouring automatic FWD petrol – $28,990
sTouring automatic AWD petrol – $30,990
sTouring automatic AWD diesel – $33,390
Akari manual FWD petrol – $31,490
Akari automatic FWD petrol – $33,490
Akari automatic AWD petrol – $35,490
Akari automatic AWD diesel $37,980
Manufacturer’s list price, excluding on-road costs.
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