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Date: 30 Oct 2017 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
It’s been a long time since I last drove a Mazda CX-3, but now after having spent a few days with the all-new 2017 CX-3 2.0L Individual Plus derivative which is the flagship of the new range, I can honestly say that Mazda are building excellent vehicles.

Continuing the rollout of Mazda's Skyactiv Technology, Mazda has introduced Skyactiv-Vehicle Dynamics, a series of new-generation vehicle motion control technologies that provide integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis and body to enhance a sense of connectedness between the car and driver. The first innovation from the new series Mazda CX-3, is the “G-Vectoring Control (GVC)” that engages by finely controlling engine torque based on the steering and acceleration of the driver, resulting in improved handling for the driver and ride quality for the passengers around corners.

New to the 2017 Mazda range, the CX-3 2.0L Individual Plus derivative comes standard with advanced safety features that include Smart City Brake Support, Adaptive LED Headlights, Auto Folding Mirrors, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring. Safety equipment includes; six airbags, ventilated disc brakes in front and solid discs at the rear, ABS with EBD, EBA, Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control and Emergency Stop Signal, while upgrades for the Individual Plus Auto include; adaptive headlights and electric glass sunroof with tilt function. Other items are Smart City Brake Support whereby visual and audible warnings are issued if the risk of a collision is detected, blind-spot monitoring, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors and reverse camera. Silver strips have been added to the door sides as a visual upgrade from the rest of the range.

The interior of the new CX-3 is much more up-market and very comfortable, especially for front-seat occupants, however the second row of seats are fine for two adults or three children. The stadium-seating layout affords good visibility from the back and overall visibility is good despite the slender windows and high beltline. However, the rear luggage compartment is quite compact, but good enough for a few carry-on bags. Controls and readouts and the satellite navigation system are well positioned for easy use, with all instruments clearly visible through the top of the leather bound steering wheel. Three large knobs take care of the HVAC system, so there’s no searching through on-screen menus for fan and temperature settings. A multi-function steering wheel is loaded with Bluetooth, radio, and cruise control switches.

Solid ergonomics such as the satellite navigation system are operated by a simple, central controller on the console, with read-outs on the 7-inch display, perched high on the dash, while the large centrally positioned rev counter with a small digital speedometer, works well as the driver will mainly check his speed on the head-up display. Also standard for the Individual is MZD Connect, which hooks up to your contacts, music, social networks and more, via the innovative infotainment system with a world of online content on the 7-inch screen, perched a-top the canter dashboard.

The new CX-3 is powered by a Mazda’s Skyactiv naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 115 kw at 6 000 rpm and 204 Nm at 2 800 rpm and transfers power to the front wheels through Mazda’s 6-speed automatic gearbox. In terms of performance the new Mazda CX-3 Auto will cover the 0 to 100 km/h dash in a reasonably swift 9.5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 192 km/h. Petrol consumption is given as 7.3 l/ per 100 kms but I got nearer to 8 litres on the test car. The tank holds 48 litres. In the stopping department, the brakes were very good bringing the CX3 to a complete stop from 100 km/h in just under 3 seconds.

From behind the wheel, the new CX-3 feels just like driving a normal hatchback. The ride is smooth and comfortable and it takes good care of ironing out bumps and ruts on poor tar roads. The amount of feedback from the electric power steering is around the best, even including some luxury models, and the overall feel is balanced and responsive. Cruising on the freeways, the ride is relaxed and pleasant with almost no sign of road and wind noise. The automatic gearbox is smooth-shifting and is also quite sporty in sport mode and shifting manually via the paddles behind the steering wheel. On the Western freeway and up the curves and bends of Fields Hill translated to an enjoyable and rewarding driving experience, not unlike some of the sporty German hatches. However, with a full complement of four adults and luggage aboard it, the automatic box will drop a couple of “cogs” to keep up the momentum.

The recommended retail selling price for the new flagship of the Mazda CX-3 crossover range – the CX-3 2.0L Individual Plus 6-speed Auto is R380 600 which includes a 3-year Unlimited Kilometer Factory Warranty, a 3-year Roadside Assistance Plan, a 3-year Service Plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty.
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