Mazda CX-3 2.0 Auto 2016 Review


The Mazda CX-3 was first introduced to the South African market in 2016. After seeing loads of them on the roads of Cape Town, I had a feeling that there must be something special about this compact suv. Let’s find out if this compact suv is as savvy as it looks.

While the CX-3 resembles the CX-5, a much larger SUV, the CX-3 is actually a larger version of the Mazda 2. Incorporating the well known Kodo design language that is seen on the Mazda 2 and the Mazda 3, the CX-3 is funky little suv with the stylish design of a hatchback.

I love the front grille which looks really classy with it’s chrome grille. The side of the vehicle looks sporty with it’s curves that give a unique shape to the windows and the rear looks premium with its double exhausts.

Climbing inside the CX-3 you feel as though you are sitting inside a Porsche. The leather trim with exposed stitching gives the CX-3 the premium look and feel that it deserves. I was very happy to see one of my favourite infotainment systems that I got used to in the Mazda 2/3/CX-5/MX-5. Paired with Bose speakers, the overall music experience is very pleasant.


While the CX-3 does look large from the outside, you will find that you can fit 2 adults in the front comfortably with three kids at the back. I had to move the driver’s seat pretty far back as I am pretty tall so an adult would have a bit of a squeeze if sitting behind me. The 264L boot is a decent size but unlike the overseas model which has a second compartment of space, local models have a spare tire and subwoofer.

Mazda CX-3 2.0 Auto 2016 Review Cape Town South Africa Mazda CX-3 2.0 Auto 2016 Review Cape Town South Africa

Engine and Performance

The new generation internal combustion engine generates more performance from less fuel. This is achieved by using multi-hole direct injection. A unique piston design improves combustion to boost power and lower emissions. Reduced friction liberates extra power, while a 4-2-1 exhaust layout lifts efficiency. The 4-cylinder engine delivers a sporty 115kW of power and 204Nm of torque, using as little as 6.1 litres of fuel every 100km (combined). With a top speed of 192km/h the Mazda CX-3 is certainly capable of get speeds that you probably should not even be driving at!

The Mazda CX-3 comes in a 6 speed Manual and a 6 speed auto derivatives. I was fortunate to drive the automatic model which provides easy gear changes with responsive power delivery and increased fuel economy.

Suitable for city driving but more than capable to hit the country roads, the Mazda CX-3 features the latest in the well known Skyactive Technology which gives the CX-3 natural agility and outstanding fuel efficiency.


The Mazda CX-3 comes with loads of features that will keep you safer on the road. If you ever need to suddenly react to a hazard such as turning the wheel quickly to avoid a vehicle that has cut in front of you, the CX-3 will instantly stop the relevant wheel to counter or combat an under or over steer as well as reduce torque to the driven wheels to minimise a slip. This will allow you to safely control the vehicle and steer around the hazard instead of losing control and having the car spin into another vehicle or object.

To assist with lane changes, radars scan blind spots on the external mirrors to detect any unseen vehicles that are approaching. This is very useful as we all have had those moments where we start to change lanes and don’t see that a vehicle is in our blind spot.

Smart City Brake Support monitors the vehicle in front of you and assesses whether they may be a collision when going speeds of 4 to 80km/h. If the system detects a high risk of impact, a visual and audible warning is given and the brakes are primed for faster response should the driver apply the brakes. If the driver does not brake, the vehicle will automatically apply the brakes. This is really useful for stop and start traffic where you may be feeling a bit drowsy and not concentrating that the vehicle has stopped.

Adaptive LED Headlights automatically adjusts the lights depending on your speed and other vehicles. This ensures that there is better visibility but also prevents other drivers from being dazzled by your lights.

A windscreen-mounted camera monitors road lane markings which then notifies the Lane Departure Warning system if you are about to stray out of your lane. A beep will warn you if this is the case.

The 2.0 litre SKYACTIV engine introduces G-Vectoring Control, the first innovation from the SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS series technology. By finely controlling engine torque, based on the steering and acceleration of the driver, G-Vectoring Control improves both handling for the driver and ride quality for the passengers around corners.

Key less entry and an Engine Start/Stop button really does make life easier and the good news is that the CX-3 comes with both!

Starting at R284K to R380K the Mazda CX-3 is well priced for its segment. The 2.0L Auto model that I test drove costs a mere R322 700 and you are definitely getting lots for your hard earned cash. The CX-3 is priced pretty much the same as other vehicles in its class such as the Honda HRv, Renault Captur, Nissan Duke, Ford Ecosport, Renault Duster and the Jeep Renegade but you are getting something much more stylish and sporty.

If you are in the market for a compact suv that is capable both on and off road, with loads of safety features and don’t want to break the bank, then the Mazda CX-3 may be the car for you.

Mazda CX-3 2.0 Auto 2016 Specs:

Price: R322 700
Engine: 2.0 naturally aspirated petrol
Power: 115kW
Torque: 204Nm
Gears: 6-speed auto
0 – 100km/h: Not specified
Fuel economy: 6.1l/100km
Boot space: 264/1260 litres (seats down)
Airbags: 6
Stability Control: Std
USB: Std
Bluetooth: Std


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