Friday, April 05, 2019

Mazda CX-3 test drive

 While it already came out about 4 years ago, the Mazda CX-3 still looks great.
Truly one of the very best looking small crossovers around. it is an interesting design with really nce proportions. And nothing seems overdone.

 Same thing inside.
The dashboard is still very original. Although it is basically the same as the current Mazda 2.
Which is sold here as the Toyota Yaris.

While things are OK up front, I have to say that the rear seat is really not roomy.
As there is barely enough leg room for adults back there.

 Fun design details and choices of materials make the interior feel more special than other models in the same class.
And even a bit more upscale.
Until you realize that almost every plastic used is actually the cheaper/hard stuff.

 The trunk is just fine for the size of the car.
It is basically the same as a small hatchback car. For quite a bit more money...

Once you seat into that nice looking interior and start the car, the first thing you actually notice is how loud the engine is.

At least when cold, this is one of the loudest engines I have experienced. It is almost weird.
Until it settles to a more normal "4cylinder sewing machine drown".
And it actually becomes fairly quiet while driving, and almost silent at idle.
But that first minute every morning is just really weird for 2019. ( It sounds more like an 80's car)

I did have a similar experience with the 2.5 Liter in the Mazda 3 I drove a while ago.
Again, very strange. Especially since that same engine is quiet in the CX-5.

 The steering does have some feel to it. But I thought it felt a bit artificial.
And a bit twitchy on the freeway.
Which means the car wasn't that pleasant to drive at speed on longer trips.

But the worst thing is the ride.
It is especially harsh around town. Where you are being constantly punished for every single bump on the road (And there are plenty around here)
It gets a little bit better on the freeway, but not that much. Unless the road is brand new.
(Which does not happen every day...)

On the other hand, the 2.0 Liter has plenty of power all the time and the car feels quick.
The "sport" mode seems to just hold the gears longer.
Which would be fine if the engine was quieter... But it's not.

Inside, everything feels pretty solid. Although the superhard ride will inevitably take a toll on how solid things feel in there over time.

For some reason, the turn signal stalk feels super cheap.
And the Bose stereo only sounds OK when the bass is turned all the way up.
Even then, it is fine, but not worthy of the "Bose" brand.

The CX-3 is rated at 29/34MPG.
I really do not think it is even possible to reach 29MPG in the city. The best I got (trying very hard) was 24. which is fine I think.
And I got 38MPG on the freeway.

I was left a bit puzzled by the Mazda CX-3.
On the one hand, it looks great. And really makes an effort to feel sporty.

But on the other hand, that effort results in a hard that is just too harsh for everyday life.
They should at least offer a base setting that is a bit smoother.

My loaded FWD Grand Touring model was a bit over $28 000.
Which is in line with other loaded tiny crossovers I guess.
Yet I can't help thinking it is a lot of money for what it is. Which, basically, a Mazda2/Toyota Yaris.
It has no more room than the cheaper/roomier/newer and more powerful Mazda 3.
The only advantage is for those seeking a higher driving position ( I'm not)

To me, the main drawback is the stupidly hard ride.
And that noise every morning (or whenever the engine is cold) when you start the car.

Otherwise, it is still very good looking. Even though it is not as fun to drive...

You can click on the picture above and see detailed pricing and specs of the car I was driving.


Anonymous said...

The noise is due to the particular mechanical and kinematic characteristics of the MazdavSkyactive system. These are distribution architectures and movement tolerances necessary to reduce consumption. In cold conditions, the noise is particularly evident but when fully operational there is a considerable reduction in friction and fuel consumption.

Doug said...

Isn't it amazing how the automakers figured out how to charge $5-10k more for the exact same vehicle just by changing the proportions a little bit?

tony said...

So Vince, in your opinion, would the bigger, roomier , more powerful and similar looking up and coming Mazda CX-30 potentially solve all the negative issues you mentioned in this road test of the mazda cx3?. The cramped rear seating and the overly harsh ride, etc. Also the added bonus of AWD in cx30 for those who feel they need it.

Vince Burlapp said...

Well, the CX-3 IS available with AWD for those who need it.

But I am sure the CX-30 will resolve the harsh ride and cramped rear seat.
Since it is based on the much more modern new Mazda3. (And the "old" one was already 100 times more comfortable than the CX-3)

The Mazda 3 I tested a little while ago did have a very noisy 2.5 L engine too. So that aspect won't really be resolved. But, yes, I would think the CX-30 would pretty much kill the current CX-3. Especially the more expensive versions. What I don't understand is that an all-new CX-3 is on its way next year. Supposedly a bit larger than the current one. And also based on the new Mazda 3. That will make it very close to the CX-30...