Since they’re sufficiently fresh to be in the same road test notepad, we’ll start by comparing how much more cabin space the CX-3 provides than the Mazda 2. If you imagine that it won’t be much, given that they share the same platform and wheelbase, then you’re only partly right.
The CX-3’s higher hip point grants front passengers 20mm more leg room as a maximum and 30mm more to a rear-seat passenger. Front head room is boosted by a similar margin.
It doesn’t look like much – and it doesn’t make the CX-3 noteworthy for spaciousness among its peers. The Skoda Yeti and Vauxhall Mokka offer considerably more room and will make an adult sitting in the rear considerably more comfortable.
Boot space is a better strong suit for the CX-3, however, and may well matter more to compact crossover buyers than having room for a larger adult in the second row. The load bay is 100mm longer than the 2’s and also beats a Mokka’s on both under-shelf and overall loading height. A false floor – included as standard – contributes to the latter advantage.
The CX-3’s fascia benefits from the same ritzy touches that higher-end versions of the 2 impressed us with, such as the stippled chrome climate control knobs and leather-look insert just below vent level.
Mazda’s 7.0in colour touchscreen multimedia system (standard across the range) is another impressive highlight. But there are low points, too, such as hard, shiny plastics where rivals use tactile slush mouldings and small, hard-to-read monochrome digital instruments occupying spaces large enough for clearer analogue dials.
The front seats are comfortable and the driving position is decent, thanks mostly to a widely adjustable steering column. Big cupholders and door pockets and a good-size glovebox offer all the oddment storage you’re likely to need.
And so, besides a bit more passenger space and some more tactile plastics in places, all the CX-3’s cabin otherwise lacks is some lightness or colour. As it normally does, Mazda has concluded that darker is better for the car’s internal appointments.
Like most of the Mazda range, there are four trim levels to choose from - SE, SE-Nav, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav. Opting to deck your new CX-3 in the entry-level SE trim doesn't necessarily mean you get a poverty spec, with cruise control, air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, hill-hold assist and 16in alloy wheels all included as standard. Upgrading to SE Nav means the obvious inclusion of sat nav and also three-years of European map updates included too.