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Driven: Prices up across Mazda’s new CX-3 line-up

Mazda’s updated CX-3 to start up to $1300 more expensive than before

28 Aug 2018

MAZDA Australia has launched its updated CX-3 small SUV with price rises of up to $1300 across the comprehensive range, however the extra costs are offset by new equipment and permanent driveaway pricing that now starts at $23,990.
At this opening mark, the Neo Sport grade replaces the Neo and kicks off $1300 higher than before – based on the recommended retail price of $21,790 plus on-road costs – for the front-wheel-drive manual variant. 
Maxx Sport (formerly Maxx) and sTouring variants are $800 more expensive than equivalent outgoing variants at $23,690 and $27,790 plus on-roads respectively, while the Akari grade also rises $1300 to $32,790.
The entry point to each model grade brings a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G four-cylinder petrol engine that sends 110kW/195Nm to the front axle via a six-speed manual gearbox or, for an extra $2000, a six-speed automatic transmission. 
An automatic-only all-wheel drivetrain can also be specified on Maxx Sport, sTouring and Akari grades for $27,690, $31,790 and $36,790 respectively.
At the Neo Sport baseline, the CX-3 picks up a reversing camera and MZD Connect multimedia screen to justify the jump in price, bringing it into line with the rest of the range and addressing one of the crossover’s core specification shortfalls. 
Besides a redesigned grille and, for higher-grade sTouring and Akari, LED tail-lights and 18-inch alloy wheels, the popular small SUV gains a multitude of modifications designed to improve ride comfort, noise suppression, performance and efficiency – including a larger diesel engine option.
Higher levels of cabin trim quality and interior functionality are also noted, the latter coming in the form of a front centre armrest with bin and configurable cupholders – the space having been liberated by the deletion of the handbrake lever with the switch to an electronic park brake.
Together with updated driver-assist safety technology, they further justify the higher prices Mazda is asking.
Additionally, a new range-topping Akari LE (Limited Edition) – priced from $35,290 in FWD guise and $37,290 with AWD – will arrive at the end of the year, bringing with it what one Mazda spokesperson described as “different type of luxury trim”, although exact details remain under wraps. 
Automatic-only diesel-powered SkyActiv-D variants receive the same price hikes as their petrol counterparts, with the FWD Maxx Sport now $28,090, the AWD sTouring up to $34,190 and the AWD Akari at $39,190.
Replacing the 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel is a new 1.8-litre unit that delivers 8kW more power – 85kW at 4000rpm – and the same maximum torque of 270Nm (from 1600-2600rpm). 
A correspondingly larger single variable-geometry turbocharger, improved combustion processes, more efficient cooling and better exhaust circulation are designed to improve responsiveness and reduce emissions. 
The new diesel also uses anti-vibrational and resonance technology to quell noise substantially over the previous unit. Average fuel consumption figures remain largely the same, dropping by 0.1 litres per 100km to between 4.7-5.1L/100km, depending on variant and drivetrain. 
Despite the enhancements, the 1.8-litre turbo-diesel is only expected to account for just one per cent of total CX-3 sales.
Meanwhile, take-up of the optional AWD system – which brings with it a more sophisticated DeDion rear axle instead of the torsion beam used in the FWDs – is only pegged at eight per cent of total volume. 
Manual demand will be in double digits, albeit at just 10 per cent.
Mazda has also tweaked the engine that 99 per cent of CX-3 buyers will choose, with the petrol engine delivering 110kW of power at 6000rpm and 195Nm of torque at 2800rpm – a rise of 1kW/3Nm.
The main changes revolve around lower fuel consumption and emissions, faster throttle response and quieter operation, and include new pistons, revamped fuel injectors and revised coolant control. 
The combined average figures remain the same at 6.3-6.7L/100km. As before, the 2.0-litre is rated to run on 91 RON standard unleaded.
A round of chassis revisions see a smaller front anti-roll bar but larger front dampers for a softer ride. Newly developed 18-inch tyres with a softer compound are also fitted. 
According to Mazda, the new anti-roll bar improves roll response, and works with a freshly retuned electric power steering system and upgraded dampers “to synchronise roll and pitch timing for more precise responses to shifts in vertical load”.  
To help make the latest CX-3 quieter, thicker outer door panels (from 0.65mm to 0.7mm), thicker rear door glass (from 3.5mm to 4mm) and a 2mm thicker headliner is fitted, as well as extra urethane being added to the door seal seam welts to further dampen noise.
The mechanical changes and higher equipment levels have also seen the Thai-built CX-3’s kerb weight rise considerably from the 2015 made-in-Japan original, ranging from 1266kg (Neo Sport 2WD petrol manual) to 1421kg (Akari AWD diesel auto). Three years ago those numbers spread from just 1193kg to 1368kg.
Finally, a new 360-degree surround-view camera is available on Akari grades to round out the changes to the new CX-3.
Mazda predicts it will shift 14,700 units in the facelifted CX-3’s first year, with Maxx Sport set to account for 55 per cent of total volume, followed by 25 per cent for the sTouring, 13 per cent for the Akari and just seven per cent for Neo Sport. 
Sales of the outgoing range were down six per cent year-on-year to the end of July, putting the CX-3 in second place behind the ASX (10,048 versus 11,053 registrations respectively).

2018 Mazda CX-3 pricing

Neo Sport $21,790 $23,990
Neo Sport (a) $23,790 $25,990
Maxx Sport $23,690 $25,490
Maxx Sport (a) $25,690 $27,490
Maxx Sport AWD (a) $27,690 $29,490
Maxx Sport diesel (a) $28,090 $29,990
sTouring $27,790 $28,740
sTouring (a) $29,790 $30,740
sTouring AWD (a) $31,790 $32,740
sTouring AWD diesel (a) $34,190 $35,240
Akari $32,790 $33,990
Akari (a) $34,790 $35,990
Akari AWD (a) $36,790 $37,490
Akari AWD diesel (a) $39,190 $40,490
Akari LE (a) $35,290 TBC
Akari LE AWD (a) $37,290 TBC


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