Among the profusion of supermini-sized pseudo-SUVs vying for your money, launching one that isn’t either very good, very desirable, very practical, very different or very cheap is becoming a bad idea.

That, in a nutshell, is what Mazda has done with the CX-3. Now is the time to launch a car such as this, without a shadow of doubt, but no longer will any car do.

Every rival in our top five has a more powerful selling point than the CX-3, be it value, space, design appeal, usefulness, unlikely dynamism or, in some cases, a mix of several of the above.

The hook we were expecting from Mazda has failed to materialise. Broadly speaking, the CX-3 handles as well as plenty of rivals, from a Citroën C4 Cactus to a Mini Countryman.

But, in diesel form at least, it’s well below par for what ought to be one of the class’s more polished dynamic efforts. Strong performance and economy goes some way to compensate, but not far enough for us.

For others, the car’s undistinguished practicality and ambitious price may be the real letdowns.