Sharing the same basic interior structure and many components with the Mazda2, the Mazda CX-3’s interior will be familiar to anyone who’s driven Mazda’s award-winning small hatchback. Like its supermini cousin, the CX-3 demonstrates Mazda’s focus on delivering a premium and driver-focused environment. Quality materials, attractive design, plus advanced infotainment and connectivity combine to ensure that the Mazda CX-3 matches the very best standards in the class.
The CX-3’s instrument cluster design features a large central dial, flanked by a pair of wing-shaped displays. Surrounded by metallic trim these high quality and well-placed instruments are at the centre of the driver’s focus. Sculpted door panels and the slender central air vent that’s part of the stylish central louvre in the dash are also highlights. Circular air vents add to the premium look and feel of the dashboard, as do the quality materials that feature across the cabin, and Mazda’s craftsmanship can be seen in the rich surface contours and attention to detail when it comes to textures.
With a leather steering wheel and gear knob, plus black cloth trim, SE Nav+ versions of Mazda CX-3 highlight the premium cabin feel found across the range. SE-L Nav+ models feature heated front seats, climate control air conditioning, while Sport Nav+ CX-3’s are set apart by half black leatherette and, half cloth seats, smart keyless entry and a head-up display. Mazda’s MZD-Connect 7-inch colour touch-screen display and intuitive Multimedia Commander is standard across the range allowing you to enjoy the Mazda CX-3’s range of audio, and connectivity features with ease. DAB radio, integrated Bluetooth® and USB connectivity are standard, while navigation equipped models come with 3-years free European map updates.
Substantial upgrades to the interior are a major highlight of the updated 2018 Mazda CX-3 and it’s inside that customers will notice the biggest revisions, with an even more comfortable, ergonomic and upmarket interior. Redesigned around the adoption of an electric parking brake, the centre console now flows more elegantly into the dashboard, while the Mazda Multimedia Commander has moved forward for improved usability.Comfort and functionality has also been enhanced with a padded armrest with console storage box underneath.
The front seats benefit from use of high-damping urethane foam cushions that improve comfort and support, while the rear seats now feature a central armrest with built in cup holders. Cabin refinement has been improved with upgraded door sill trims, thicker sound isolation in the doors and enhanced rear glazing. In addition, an increase in the cabin headliner thickness absorbs more sound to deliver a hushed cabin.
While it’s based on the same highly efficient SKYACTIV global small platform as the Mazda2, and has an identical wheelbase, the CX-3 is longer and wider with a larger minimum ground clearance. It has a roomier cabin, a higher eye point and very easy cabin access front and back.
In line with the Jinba Ittai driver-and–car-as-one ethos that sits at the heart of every Mazda, the engineering team behind the Mazda CX-3 spent a lot of time perfecting the driving position. With a 50mm higher driver’s eye line than the Mazda2, the Mazda CX-3 provides the loftier view of the road and the all-round visibility small SUV customers expect, yet at the same time the driver focused interior ensures you feel very much seated in and not perched above the cabin.With reach and rake steering wheel movement, plus driver’s seat height adjustment there’s a wide range of driving position personalisation, while to ensure total engagement and comfort, the pedals, steering wheel and instruments are positioned on the driver’s centre line.
Rear passengers fair well, too, with good visibility and excellent seat comfort. Designed with young families in mind the CX-3’s cabin features front seats that are 25mm further from the centre line of the cabin than those in the back, while the rear bench has a 37mm higher hip point, which means people in the back get good lines of sight and communication with front seat occupants.
With 60:40 split folding rear seats and a flexible cargo board boot floor, the Mazda CX-3 has the practicality demanded by customers in this sector. With the cargo board in its lowest position and the rear seats in place there’s 350 litres of boot space – 95 litres up on the Mazda2, and in-line with cars like the Vauxhall Mokka and Nissan Juke. With the rear seats in use the luggage area has a 1,000mm load width and floor length of 764mm, plus with the cargo board in its lowest position there’s space for two 67cm suitcases.
Flip the cargo board into its high position and it provides a fully flat load space with the tumbled rear seats and also provides a separate hidden storage space below the board. Sturdy yet light the cargo board is easy to lower and raise and will even rest in an 80 degree access position. The CX-3’s rear tailgate design provides an unobstructed and high level load lip that makes it easy to slide in heavy items. The luggage area itself is neatly designed by shaping the side trim so that it doesn’t protrude into the load space. Seat brackets are concealed and the luggage lamp is positioned to ensure bright illumination of the whole boot.
^Sport Nav models feature a Bose speaker in the boot space, using 63-litres of the available space.