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Our Fleet Test Drive: Mazda CX-3 - final report

Date: 26 July 2016   |   Author: Tony Rock

Equipment: 6 airbags, satnav, DAB radio, auto lights and wipers, climate control, heated front seats, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors, cruise control, city brake system, lane departure warning
Options: Ceramic metallic paint (£540)

There were some doubts about whether the Mazda CX-3's compact crossover dimensions would cope with a family of five when the car first arrived a year ago.

Yes, it was a squeeze on the rear seat for the eldest kid, between a child seat and high-backed booster, but, surprisingly, the 350-litre boot [1] held all the luggage needed for a week-long stay at the mum-in-law's - although we had to leave the 'flexible cargo board' and the parcel shelf at home.

Unfortunately, though, our size fears were realised when the additional bedding required for a 'glamping' trip to the Isle of Wight caused a severe packing headache.

Initial doubt about the car's suitability turned to bafflement several months later when we spotted that fuel economy was falling for the 105hp 1.5-litre diesel engine. Having started out at an average of 56.1mpg, it first went down to 55.6mpg and then 55.1mpg, and bottomed out at 54.6mpg.

Eventually, we put the slide down to the fact that those figures took in autumn and winter - not the best time to set economy records. Individual tanks, meanwhile, reached a high of 59.1mpg, and while they're not included in the overall figures, a final, five-fill-up urban-intensive fling in the hands of London resident and granitekitchen contributor Guy Bird returned a 52.3mpg average.

There was also uncertainty surrounding the exterior colour, not in terms of likeability, but in terms of its actual shade. I thought it was 'white', someone else referred to it as 'light grey', while the DartCharge payment website said it was 'silver'. Mazda calls its magic coat of many colours 'Ceramic Metallic'.

Meanwhile, inside the car, I was absolutely certain that I was a fan of the chrome that helped to break up the black cabin surfaces [2], particularly the thin strip across the dashboard and the hazard light button [3]. The cabin was also well laid out and not over-cluttered with buttons.

The switchgear for the likes of the climate control were within easy reach, and the activation of functions likely to be used most frequently were a one-button press away, whether on the steering wheel or via the Multimedia Commander rotary control located between the front seats.

In SE-L Nav trim the car also gave me all the technology I needed - satnav, voice control, lane-departure warning, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and the dash-located touchscreen were all trialled successfully in the car's year-long sojourn - plus some I didn't go near due to being outside of my age-related tech comfort zone (connectivity with Aha and Stitcher radio streaming mobile phone apps - apparently.)

What would have been handy was quick-clearing windscreen tech like Ford's because when the temperatures went south for the winter, the car's glass became prone to condensation.

Also, we never fully rid ourselves of a pesky spanner-shaped orange warning light that appeared in the instrument panel 6000 miles ahead of the CX-3's scheduled 12,000-mile service. A visit to the T W White & Sons Mazda dealership in Orpington, Kent, resolved the fault temporarily, but it soon began reappearing intermittently, and by the time the car was handed to Mr Bird, it was always on.

These minor irritations were not, however, enough to sour my feelings for the CX-3.

Yes, it wasn't quite big enough to act as the main car for a five-member family, but it coped admirably and I was left in no doubt about its looks, equipment, and all-round ability on the road.

Mazda CX-3 1.5 105 SE-L Nav

Mileage 21,124
Official consumption 70.6mpg
Our average consumption 48.8mpg
Forecast/actual CPM 45.4p/50.2p
P11D price £20,940
Model price range £17,410-£24,510
Residual value 34.6%
Depreciation cost £13,690
Fuel £4339
Service, maintenance and repair £1865
Vehicle Excise Duty £40
National Insurance £2430
CO2 (BIK band) 105g/km (21%)
BIK 20/40% per month £73/£147

Verdict


  • Interior and exterior looks
  • Wealth of technology
  • Windscreen condensation in winter
  • Faulty service light

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