THE burgeoning crossover market dominated by cars like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur has just been joined by a rival from Japan following the launch of the Mazda CX-3 range that promises to take the sector by storm writes Bryan Longworth.
It is the latest new model to be introduced by the company following the very impressive CX-5 and the Mazda 2 which is closely related to the CX-3 and the new MX-5 roadster has still to make its debut in the UK making it an extremely busy year for Mazda.
There is no doubt that Mazda is really booming again after splitting from the partnership with Ford which left them with many problems for several years but I sense that the company is now back to its pre-Ford days when it was a very successful and innovative manufacturer.
It should do well in the popular small SUV sector where competitors like the Juke, Captur, Skoda Yeti and Vauxhall Mokka are in big demand because it has eyecatching styling and the overall design appeal that Mazda has now brought to all its models.
There is an 18 strong model line-up priced from £17,695 to £24,695 with the choice of two and four wheel drive and Mazda say that the newcomer which follows their impressive CX-5 will bring new levels of sophistication style and driving pleasure to this sector.
With a choice of 11 petrol and seven diesel variants the CX-3 comes with generous standard equipment across the range and the top model CX-3 Sport Nav is the first car in the class to come with LED headlights.
Inside the upmarket cabin the new Mazda features a 7-inch colour touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth and a multi function steering wheel across all models and also on some of them is a head-up display system which is another first in this sector.
There is a flexible cargo board boot floor which can be lifted to provide a flat load space when the standard 60-40 split fold rear seats are tumbled and the 350-litre boot will accommodate plenty of family luggage and shopping as this is a car with big family appeal.
Mazda say they expect a 50-50 split on diesel and petrol sales and it is expected that the majority of owners will go for two wheel drive versions rather than 4x4.
Initial reports on the CX-3 are extremely favourable which is not surprising because the CX-5 is a very capable car and a good example of the products now being produced by Mazda as they have recovered after the split with Ford
Mazda now has one of the youngest line-ups of new models of any manufacturer and their Head of Fleet, Steve Tomlinson, says that CX-3 will help to boost fleet sales by up to 25 per cent in the next year.
The CX-3 which is the first such car from Mazda has very striking styling with a lot of street appeal especially up front and there seems little doubt that it is going to make a major contribution to Mazda’s UK sales.
Verdict: A Mazda sales booster.
Model: New Mazda CX-3.
Engines: Petrol and diesel.
Transmissions: Manual and automatic.
Drive: Two and four wheel drive.
Prices: From £17,695 to £24,695.