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Mazda’s CX-3 SUV gets a make-over

Sales of small SUV’s under $40,000 are up 26 per cent this year with Mitsubishi’s ASX the big seller, closely followed by the Mazda CX-3. Mazda have just updated their extensive CX-3 range, all models getting minor styling updates, new levels of equipment, a more refined ride, improved noise suppression, better performance and economy and a new 1.8-litre diesel replacing the 1.5-litre unit although it accounts for just 1 per cent of CX-3 sales. Prices are up generally by $1,300 across the range, now kicking off with the entry 2.0-litre manual petrol Neo Sport at $23,990 drive-away. Petrol and automatic make up the lion share of sales while optional AWD accounts for just 8 per cent of sales but does get a more sophisticated DeDion rear axle in lieu of the torsion beam type used in the front wheel drive models. The CX-3’s 2.0-litre petrol engine gets a tweak – now with better throttle response quieter, also more fuel efficient with lower emissions. Driving the new Mazda 3 and ride quality and lower noise, vibration and harshness levels are the bit improvers here, and the inclusion of a 360 degree view monitor, a great safety plus. Also small styling updates – a new grille while higher grade variants get LED taillights and new 18-inch wheels. And it now has an electric park brake. The short bob tail of the CX-3 is still the model’s Achilles heel – and one can understand why small families lean more to Mitsubishi’s top-selling ASX or Honda’s HR-V with their better luggage capacity. I’m David Berthon

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