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Mazda CX-3 Akari AWD – one of the best in its class

Talking about Mazda’s CX-3 SUV upgraded late last year – the number 2 seller to Mitsubishi’s ASX and one can understand why – the short bob tail on the CX-3 gives it much style but limits luggage space. So the CX-3 is best suited to young buyers or retirees – small families better suited to the Mitsubishi, Honda’s updated HR-V and Nissan’s excellent Qashqui, all with superior luggage space. Having said that the CX- 3 still has loads of visual appeal and the update brings a far superior ride, improved noise suppression and better performance, the 2.0-litre petrol with six-speed automatic the popular choice in front-wheel-drive with optional all-wheel-drive accounting for just 8 per cent of sales. I drove the all-wheel-drive Akari at $36,790 now with a new grille, LED taillights, small interior updates and the fitment of an electric handbrake a welcome addition plus a 360 degree monitor for added safety.
Ride quality and lower noise, vibration and harshness levels are the big improvers here but the all-wheel-drive CX-3 now gets a more sophisticated DeDion rear axle in lieu of the torsion beam type used on the front drive models. It’s noticeable on this slightly heavier all- wheel-drive Akari and the handling is rather polished. The CX-3’s 2.0-litre petrol engine also got some minor tweaks – now with better throttle response quieter, also more fuel efficient with lower emissions. Mazda Australia has just added a new more premium top Spec CX-3 Akari – the Akari LE taking the total number of CX-3 variants to 16. Adding $500 to Akari pricing the LE upgrade relates to bright alloy wheels and minor trim choices. I’m David Berthon

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