What is it?
The highly anticipated baby brother to the Mazda CX-5 SUV. It joins one of the fastest-growing segments of the new car market: pint-sized crossovers designed for the city rather than the great outdoors.
Huge sales for the Nissan Juke, Vauxhall Mokka and, more recently, the Citröen C4 Cactus prove there's strong demand for high-riding hatchbacks that give a commanding view of the road ahead but can still fit neatly into a tight parking space.
The Mazda CX-3 won't be short of rivals, with new arrivals including the Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and the new generation Suzuki Vitara.
Underneath, the CX-3 is largely based on the Mazda 2; even the dashboard is the same. The CX-3 is slightly wider than the supermini, although the wheelbase is identical. It has more headroom than a Mazda 3 (which is compromised by its sloping rear roofline), but the CX-3’s 264-litre boot capacity slots between that of the Mazda 2 (250 litres) and Mazda 3 (364 litres).
The CX-3 was designed in Mazda’s styling studio in Japan. When management was shown the full-size clay model for the first time they were reportedly so impressed they simply said “build that”. The styling really does help it stand out, especially at the front, and it's certainly nowhere near as awkward to look at as the Juke or Jeep Renegade.
The interior may be carried over from the Mazda 2 but it’s a classy, relatively roomy design. First impressions, then, are good.