THE CX-3 is Mazda’s interpretation of an entry level sports utility vehicle (SUV). It has set the segment benchmark in many ways, especially for design.

The exceptionally stylish design expression was conceptualised under Mazda’s “Jinba Ittai” or driver-and-car-as one philosophy that represent all recent Mazda products.

We had the chance to test drive the Mazda CX-3 with G-Vectoring Control (GVC) recently and walked away impressed.

The Mazda comes with automatic LED headlights with daytime running lights.

The front wheel drive CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine mated to the SkyActiv drive six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. It is capable of churning out 154hp at 6,000rpm and 204Nm of torque from 2,800rpm.

Measuring in at 4,275mm in length, 1,765mm in width, 1,550mm in height and a wheelbase of 2,570, the CX-3 weighs 1,211kg and has 350 litres of boot space with all seats up, as well as a 45- litre fuel tank capacity.

Mazda claims the CX-3 can complete the century sprint in 8.2 seconds. It has a top speed of about 188kph with a combined fuel consumption of 6.7 litres per 100km.

The dashboard is equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system.

The Mazda CX-3 comes equipped with 18-inch, five twin-spoke wheels, power-folding side mirrors with turn indicators, sunroof, automatic wipers, keyless entry with push start button, automatic LED headlights, adaptive front lighting system, auto-levelling lights, LED daytime running lights, rear LED taillights, front and rear fog lamps.

Multifunction leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, “Sport” mode switch, cruise control, leather seats, single-zone automatic air-condition, 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system and six-speakers sound system are also part of its equipment list.

Safety features include six airbags, head-up display, reverse camera, dynamic stability control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, hill launch assist, emergency stop signal, Isofix childseat mounting points and the GVC technology.

It is priced at RM138,373 including insurance and six per cent GST. It comes with three-year or 100,000km warranty and three years of free service.

The CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine hooked to a SkyActiv drive six-speed automatic transmission.

The Drive

The Mazda CX-3 with GVC is an attractive, comfortable, fuel economical and agile SUV. One can easily be captivated by its fascinating exterior design that possesses a bold and sporty look.

We managed to clock roughly 450km in the CX-3, driving on highways and in the cities, on rough, wavy, damaged, and pothole-filled roads. The absorber and suspension smoothens out most of the road conditions, while the larger potholes and bigger bumps were felt.

On the highway, the 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine is able to overtake slow moving traffic on a steep uphill. Its SkyActiv drive six-speed automatic transmission shifts between gears smoothly and quickly.

In normal driving mode, it provides the best ratio for fuel efficiency, while in “Sport” mode, it maintained high engine RPMs, and is always ready to change gears for a fast and aggressive driving style.

Thanks to the GVC technology, the SUV handles like a low-riding sports car during high-speed corners. The impressive grip make it feel like the tyres are nailed to the tarmac.

The interior is spacious and provides ample head and legroom for driver and passengers. The leather seats give a cosy and comfortable feel, and the seats cool down very fast even if the SUV is parked under the hot sun.

Front passenger seat is manually adjusted.

The MZD Connect 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system is very straightforward and user-friendly. The commander dial which is used to switch or change the channels and options of the multimedia system is well positioned not far away from the centre arm rest.

Wind, tyre and engine noise are well isolated. However, the CX-3 gets noisy when driven above the legal speed and the engine noise roars louder in “Sports” mode.

We clocked about 5.3 to 6.2 litres per 100km, while cruising on the highway below 110kph. After a mixture of city and highway driving, it consumed 7.1 to 7.9 litres per 100km. The meter recorded 9.8 to 11.3 litres per 100km after aggressive full acceleration driving.

The engine has Mazda’s i-Stop engine idling stop system, which will repeatedly automatically shuts down the engine for about 15 seconds when the vehicle is stationary. This system helps to consume less fuel during traffic jam.

However, we felt the transition when the engine is cut off, and turning back on running is a little jerky and uncomfortable.

Although the CX-3 with GVC has a lot of good points, there is still room for improvement. It would be great if the SUV could come with a slightly bigger boot space, as currently, the 350 litres boot space has trouble to fit in a large stroller.

The CX-3 should also come with auto locking system, where the doors will automatically lock when the SUV starts to move and open when the engine is turned off. Lastly, the safety aspect of the CX-3 could be enhanced if it came equipped with a blind spot warning system.

The CX-3 has 350 litres of boot space.

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