Words by Declan Glynn

Built around the driver, and designed to impress, the Mazda CX-3 elegantly combines refined looks, next-generation SKYACTIV engine technology, and genuinely superior craftsmanship to deliver true driving pleasure.

Its award-winning KODO (soul of Motion) design has been enhanced to give the car the strong, yet delicate, look of a compact SUV that easily stands out from the crowd.

However, there is so much more beyond the eye-catching looks of the Mazda CX-3.

The human-centric interior is refined all the way down to the tiniest of components, ensuring that the CX-3 is a blend of luxury and comfort that contributes to the utmost feeling of well-being that can be experienced on every journey.

Occupants of the Mazda CX-3 can enjoy the very latest connectivity features and functions.

By using a compatible mobile device, it is possible to access thousands of internet radio stations from around the world, safely check and reply to text messages, and enjoy streaming music via a Bluetooth connection.

All of this, and much more, is easily controlled using the intuitive Multimedia Commander and the 7” colour display.

The Mazda CX-3 model line-up comprises four generously-equipped trim levels – SE, Executive, Executive SE, and range-topping GT.

Engine options consists of a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder petrol unit with 121PS (119bhp), and a 1.8-litre SKYACTIV-D 4-cylinder diesel with 115PS (114bhp).

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range, with a six-speed automatic reserved exclusively for the petrol-engine model in Executive SE trim.

My review car was a new Mazda CX-3 GT SKYAVTIV-G 2WD, and was finished in stunning Soul Red Crystal metallic paint, with upgraded ‘stone leather’ interior (a €925 option).

Standard specs

Standard GT specification includes sporty 18” Bright Alloy Wheels, a BOSE 7-speaker sound system, radio/CD/DAB radio with a 7” TFT colour screen with Multimedia Commander and Bluetooth.

Other features include half-leather multi-function steering wheel, automatic air-conditioning, cruise control, LED daytime-running-lights, LED headlamps with adaptive front lighting and self-levelling function, rear combination lamps and LED front fog lights.

Further features include rear privacy glass, auto wipers, auto lights, roof spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, electronic parking brake with hill-hold assist, keyless entry and electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors.

Not only that, but there’s also height adjustment on both front seats, rear centre arm-rest with cup holders, Lane Departure Warning, and Front Smart City Brake Support for peace-of-mind driving.

With 121PS and 206Nm of torque available, my review car was capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in just 9.0-seconds, reaching a top speed of 192km/h, and consuming as little as 6.6-litres of petrol for every 100km driven on a combined driving cycle.

The diesel engine in the Mazda CX-3 produces 115PS and 270Nm of torque, and is capable of a combined-cycle, fuel consumption figure as low as 5.2l/100km.

On the road, the Mazda CX-3 proves itself as a great driver’s car in every way.

Additional sound deadening material added around the cabin, and in the doors, boosts refinement, while the chassis boasts a well-judged suspension set-up that allows the car to float over bumps at higher speed.

The car always feels agile and is remarkable fun to drive. Other notable qualities include well balanced steering, excellent body control, and perfectly pitched brakes.

Pricing for the new Mazda CX-3 starts at €21,295 (ex-delivery), with my range-topping model available from €26,570.

Currently, Mazda Ireland are offering special finance/money-off options – T&Cs apply.