It has finally landed, officially this time. We know you’ve (probably) seen a lot of the Japanese marque’s new baby crossover SUV as of late, but its time to let the speculative hearsay fade and prime our focus here to the launch event at Mazda HQ in Glenmarie, where Bermaz Motor has pulled back the sheets on the Mazda CX-3.
It comes to Malaysia fully imported (CBU) from Japan in a single 2WD variant with a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol engine and a laundry list of bells and whistles, and its yours for a cool RM135,143, quoted for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia as an on-the-road (OTR) price with insurance, inclusive of GST.
Locally, the fresh-faced Mazda CX-3 will see competition primarily from the Mitsubishi ASX, Ford EcoSport, Peugeot 2008, and the Honda HR-V - all of which similarly feature B-segment hatchback platforms underpinning their compact SUV bodies. The CX-3 is the smallest in Mazda’s SUV range, with a body measuring 4,275mm in length, 1,765mm wide and 1,535mm tall, with a kerb weight of 1,211kg. The 2.0-litre engine chucks out 154hp at 6,000rpm and 204Nm of torque, available as early as 2,800rpm.
The CX-3’s petrol powerplant will be mated to Mazda’s SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which send power to its two front wheels. However, Bermaz has expressed a keen interest in expanding the engine lineup across its range of Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda2, Mazda6, Mazda CX-5, and of course, the Mazda CX-3 to include SKYACTIV-D diesel units some time within 2016 - but I digress.
The CX-3 slots below the larger CX-5 SUV and is the latest of Mazda’s CX family to hit Malaysia, at least until their largest entrant, the recently announced all-new 2016 CX-9 makes its way over. The unit we see here is dressed in a striking Soul Red paint finish, the same we’ve seen on other current-generation Mazdas. There are four additional colour options for the prospective owner to choose from including Crystal White Pearl, Jet Black, Meteor Grey, and finally Deep Crystal Blue.
In terms of standard equipment, the CX-3 comes pretty much fully loaded with all the kit that Mazda could feasibly squeeze into and onto it, such as a set of 10-spoke alloy wheels that measure 18-inches, LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights, front LED fog lamps, sunroof, reverse camera, leather multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, black leather upholstery with contrasting red accents and stitching, automatic single-zone air conditioning, a 6-speaker audio setup that’s linked to the MZD Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch central LCD display, head-up display, rain sensing windshield wipers, cruise control, smart keyless entry system, and I-STOP idling stop/start system, which Mazda claims can restart the engine in a mere 0.35 seconds.
There are only a couple of notable omissions that did not make the cut for units sold in Malaysia, namely all-wheel drive and Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE suite, meaning we won’t have such features like Lane Departure Warning, Smart City Braking or Rear View Monitoring. An omission presumably decided as a worthwhile tradeoff to keep the CX-3's pricing relatively competitive.
In terms of safety, the CX-3 comes with six airbags, traction control, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) with brake assist (BA), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Hill Launch Assist, and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS).
Mazda is also offering an additional Navigation System, accessed through the MZD Connect interface for RM1,270 as well as an optional pre-delivery window tinting treatment called SKYTINT for RM1,900.
As we have covered previously, the CX-3’s handling and drive have been given particular attention, and as a result, acquits itself fairly well in the bends and is more nimble than its higher stance would make one guess. Indeed, Mazda is banking on this fun factor, sharp looks, and premium materials and build as the key differentiators between it and the competition.
The Mazda CX-3 also comes with Bermaz’s free ownership “3+3 Years Free Warranty and Maintenance” Programme.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.