It’s all about attitude. Some cars have it, others don’t. Take the Skoda Yeti. A perfectly sound motor, practical and, erm, worthy. Yet it has all the appeal of a pile of stale underpants after a stag party.
You don’t buy one to make a statement. You buy one because you’ve worked out the repayment figures, assessed secondhand values and know you can pack an awful lot of meaningless lifestyle stuff in the back.
On paper, the Yeti is a better car than the Mazda CX-3. On paper, you’d probably pick it every time. Except when you park the CX-3 beside it, the Yeti looks as prehistoric as it’s name.
The Mazda has cool, edgy styling, a slick profile and actually says you care about what you drive. Everybody else can buy their pants from M&S and drive a sensible Skoda.
Which driver are you?
Yes, yes, yes, you’re always going to choose a Porsche 911 S Cabriolet over a compact crossover, right?
Well, temperatures dipped to -2 in the Cotswolds last night and this morning I had one of those bonkers dilemmas. Do I drive the 4×4 Mazda CX-3 to Silverstone, or my trusty 911?
Surprising as it might seem – and purely because I knew the backroad route I would take wasn’t salted – I picked up the Mazda keyset.
And then I put them back down again. Because our CX-3 test car doesn’t actually have four-wheel drive. It’s one of those pseudo 4x4s, equipped with two-wheel drive only.
What I would probably have done is launch into a corner too fast in the CX-3 and become unstuck.
I’m not sure I’m cut out for compact crossovers without all-wheel drive. I mean, what’s the point? It looks like a 4×4, you can pay a little extra for a four-wheel drive version. So why bother with this model?
Despite the CX-3’s 2.0-litre, 118bhp petrol engine, the compact crossover doesn’t feel that comfortable blatting along at motorway speeds.
The key issue here is not a lack of power but an increase in noise as you move up through the six-speed gearbox. There’s some wind input too.
You also might want to consider whether the Sport’s 18-inch alloys and firmer suspension offers a better ride than the 16-inchers offered on other versions.
I think you might find the Sport set up a little on the firm side. This is not a car you can push hard through a tight corner. So perhaps, for once, the lower spec SE model might be a more comfortable choice…
So it was blowing a gale last night. My cat refused to got out, despite my attempt with an ‘assisted’ exit. Winter has arrived in the UK, with snow, rain and Christmas stuff in Waitrose (OK, that started in September, to be honest).
I’m packing up my CX-3 with bags, dog on the back seat, emergency banana in the centre console. The time comes to load the boot.
Hmm. It’s not the easiest operation. The button is underneath the lip of the hatchback lid, like most cars these days. Except that because of other paraphernalia located there, it’s tricky to find and a good place to collect muck.
Once inside, I discover there is no interior boot light. Well, there is but it’s in the hatchback door which is now above my head and unable to shed any light on the luggage room available.
The space is tiny, which may explain why Mazda has turned to subtle lighting to fool me. In the darkness, I overload the space and curse the fact the hatch won’t shut.
So, riddle me this. Why does a car with head-up display, a spanklingly good infotainment system and bendy headlights NOT have an interior boot light?
Let’s get basics right before we add the fairy dust, Mazda.
Girls have big handbags these days. You never know what you are going to find hidden in those dark corners at the bottom – a gentleman just shouldn’t even go there.
The Mazda CX-3 a giant handbag. It’s definitely not a bloke’s car but in the same way that a Mazda MX-5 is a ‘feminine’ two-seater and a stonkingly brilliant sportster, the CX-3 is a cute and very good compact crossover.
Just have a look at the styling – it really does look the part. Not sure about the maroon paintjob on our test car but in grey, well, hell, I’d buy one.
Snow is forecast this weekend. I was excited about trying out the CX-3 on the slippery stuff. Then I remembered this is the two-wheel drive only version.
You see, that’s why I like my macho compact crossovers to not only look good but fulfil the promise of their rufty tufty image too…
I’m not a fan of the Nissan Juke. It’s something about those bug-eyed headlights. In fact, the naff styling has totally ruined my perception of compact crossover. Therefore, I approach any new, jack-up supermini with trepidation.
Pleasingly, the Mazda CX-3 parked in a swamp of mud on my driveway looks considerably better. It’s help by the current trend for a ‘big mouth’ grille that has been the Mazda ‘look’ for some time now – and has also been nicked by Ford.
First impressions then suggest this could be a great chunk of Car Couture to park on your driveway. The interior also has a quality feel to it, although space on the back seat is limited.
All models in the range get air con, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and a touchscreen entertainment system. Our Sport adds 18-inch alloys, LED day lights, keyless entry and even a head-up display.
Promising then. But how will it fair as a daily drive? Join us tomorrow for another report…