First things first, let’s just get one thing straight. Positioning the CX-3 in Malaysia wasn’t by any means easy for Mazda Bermaz Motor. So if you’re put off by the price of this HR-V competitor, don’t be quick to skimp this over and let us explain.

Firstly, the 2015 Mazda CX-3 is a fully imported unit not from Thailand, but from Japan. It’s currently the priciest model in the B-Segment crossover category which include contenders such as the Renault Captur, Ford EcoSport and of course the Honda HR-V. For those who complain about the lack of a sunroof in the HR-V, your prayers have been answered – albeit in a different badge.

QUICK FACTS

Name 2015 Mazda CX-3 2.0L Skyactiv
Engine 1,998cc; 4-cylinder direct injection, DOHC
Transmission 6-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic
Max Power 154 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque 204 Nm @ 2,800 rpm
Price RM131,218.50 (OTR without insurance)

EXTERIOR

To kick things off, the Mazda CX-3 is the lowest-riding model (1,535mm) in its class; the HR-V’s height is 1,605mm, Ford EcoSport at 1,675mm and Peugeot 2008 at 1,556mm. This accentuates its sporty stance, which has already been established by the 18-inch wheels – the largest diameter in its class.

Just the looks alone will set the CX-3 to a sailing success, and it’s rather generously specced as well to justify its asking price. Only one trim is available for sale now, and it’s decked with auto levelling LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, keyless entry with push-to-start ignition, powered side mirrors and rain-sensing wipers. The 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels are wrapped in some pricey 215/50 series tyres (style does come with a cost, unfortunately), whereas the well-sculpted rear end gets dual exhaust pipes, a rear wiper, rear spoiler and a reverse camera.

INTERIOR

Stepping inside the Mazda CX-3 proves to be an all-familiar affair, sporting a design that’s almost identical to the model it’s based on – the Mazda2. All Malaysian-bound CX-3s are upholstered in a mix of black leather and suede fabric, unlike the beige-finished model we saw back in Japan.

Standard stuff here include a leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel with integrated cruise control switches, MZD Connect 7-inch touchscreen head unit that can alternatively be operated by a rotary knob further down the centre console, automatic single-zone air conditioning, six speakers, dual USB slots and Mazda’s Active Driving Display or heads up display. The same Sport mode rocker switch first seen in the Mazda2 is also carried over here, as are the paddle shifters.

PERFORMANCE

Nestled under the hood is the segment’s top-dog powertrain – a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine that makes 154 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 204 Nm of torque peaking in at 2,800 rpm. All that power is sent to the front wheels of this 1,271 kg crossover via the six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission. No all-wheel drive options here, though.

Up front, this crossover rides on McPherson struts while the rear settles for the torsion beam setup.   All four corners are clamped with disc brakes. Seeing how it’s packaged, all this should point towards a vehicle that’s not just the most powerful in its class, but also an all-rounded package that will possibly make your next trip to Genting a more enjoyable episode.

SAFETY

The safety kit is as standard as it gets – with Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution with Brake Assist, Traction Control System, Emergency Stop Signal and Hill Launch Assist. It also comes with six airbags to make your money feel like it’s more well spent than ‘meh’.2015 Mazda CX-3 Skyactiv Malaysian Launch

WHAT ELSE?

Mazda announced that only 2,000 units of the Japan-imported CX-3 will be offered for now, while they finalise preparations to serve subsequent demands with the locally assembled batches sometime next year. This CBU variant will be available in five different colours – Crystal White Pearl, Jet Black, Meteor Grey, Deep Crystal Blue and Mazda’s signature colour, Soul Red Metallic. Every purchase of this RM131k crossover comes with a 3-year warranty and 3-year free scheduled maintenance.


IMAGE GALLERY

Mazda CX-3 2.0L Skyactiv-G Malaysian Launch

Mazda CX-3 in Japan


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Matthew H. Tong
A straightforward, fun-loving guy who appreciates the superficiality of a car's appeal, but his admiration for anything on four wheels gives him no reason to neglect the makings of a car. He still believes that fun comes with three pedals and a stick.