Mazda CX-3 first drive

By Jason K. Ang September 17,2016

mazda-cx-3-5DRIVING a new car can be a thrilling experience. Add some challenging elements, such as driving on the ’wrong’ side of the car, unfamiliar roads and traffic conditions, and the excitement can soon turn to apprehension. Good thing, then, that the Mazda CX-3 is not the typical crossover.

We first drove the CX-3 in a 1000-km journey through three Asean countries. Starting off in Thailand, on the right side of the car and on the left side of the road, we began the caravan in, appropriately enough, the newest car in the fleet.

It helped that the CX-3 fits like a glove. The front seats feels snug, with just enough legroom and headroom to be comfortable in.

mazda-cx-3-4The design is playful, particularly when it comes to the choice of materials. The seats are leather and suede, with red stitching. There’s black leather-like trim on the dash and doors, with satin metal on the doors, gearshift and steering wheel. Considerately, there are soft kneepads on the center dashboard. With the more intimate feel of the CX-3, these touches are quite appreciated.

The CX-3 acquitted itself well on Thailand’s elevated highway. With its Skyactiv high-compression 2.0-liter engine humming along, the crossover made quick work of the first stretch of open road. The engine is mated to Mazda’s quick-shifting six-speed automatic. The Philippine CX-3 will debut with an engine rated at 148hp and 192 Nm.

Another appreciated feature of the CX-3 is its comprehensive suite of safety features. Our car included Lane Keeping Assist, which uses a camera to monitor highway lanes. If you drift towards a lane marking without signaling, the system gives off a rumbling sound as a warning.

The Japan-made CX-3 will be the sixth Mazda to contain the Kodo: Soul of Motion design language and the Skyactiv fuel efficiency technology package. Skyactiv also encompasses improvements in body and suspension.

“The new CX-3 is one of the most highly anticipated vehicles we have ever unveiled in the Philippine market,” shares Steven Tan, President and CEO of Berjaya Auto Philippines.

He adds, “Its stylish looks, unmatched performance and impeccable build quality make it a vehicle that only Mazda could have created. We are confident this crossover for the new generation will give its future owners an uncompromising and unfettered driving experience worthy of their active and expressive lifestyles.”

mazda-cx-3-1The new CX-3 has a steeply-raked A-pillar, sculpted grill, LED lighting, short overhangs, and perhaps its most distinctive feature, the ’floating roof’ achieved with a blacked-out D-pillar. 18-inch alloy wheels are standard in the top variant of the CX-3.

The CX-3 interior will have metallic and piano black accents. The 7-inch touchscreen panel will be the center of the MZD-Connect infotainment system comprised of audio and trip computer. A Bose entertainment system with seven speakers and dedicated amplifier promises to elevate the listening experience. Luggage room is at a premium but the rear seat can split-fold to accommodate larger cargo.

The SkyActiv engine now includes i-Stop that shuts off the engine while idling to reduce fuel consumption. The top CX-3 will have the i-Activ all-wheel drive system, the first application in a subcompact crossover.

The SkyActiv body promises higher rigidity to allow quicker steering and handling response. Safety features will include ABS, stability control, front, side and curtain airbags.

Mazda CX-3 units are all made in Japan. They are available in three variants—the FWD Pro which comes in Crystal White Pearl and Dynamic Blue; the FWD Sport with four colors (Crystal White Pearl, Soul Red, Jet Black and the trim-exclusive Titanium Flash); and the top-of-the-line AWD Activ which adds the ceramic finish to its five-color palette.

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