Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Interior lifted straight from the Mazda 2
  • Plenty of adjustment in seating position
  • Dashboard is interesting and easy to use

Almost identical to the Mazda 2, save for a slightly higher seating position, the cabin of the Mazda CX-3 is neatly designed with some real visual flair and quality materials. The symmetrical flanking of the driver’s instrument binnacle by the round air vents makes it feel heavily focused on the person in control of the vehicle.

Opt for the Sport Nav+ model and that’s emphasised by the centrally-placed rev-counter – unlike the smaller, offset, digital display found in SE Nav+ or SE-L Nav+ trim – which is more reminiscent of a sports car than a junior family crossover. The neat leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, featuring useful audio and infotainment controls, feels great in your hands too.

The swathe of material, running from the passenger’s left-hand air vent to the driver’s makes the cabin feel wider than it really is and adds a visual interest – especially on models fitted with optional leather-look upholstery.

The driving positon is similar to a Mazda 2, though it’s set 50mm higher. Thanks to reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel as well as height adjustment for the driver’s seat, it’s easy to find your preferred setting. The seats in Sport Nav+ models are particularly comfortable and supportive, which is great if you plan on spending a long time behind the wheel.

Choose an SE-L+ or above and the front seats are heated, while the Sport Nav+ models come with a head-up display which works well but looks a little incongruous sat atop the binnacle with a fold-out Perspex screen to project information on – it’s crisp and clear to read, though.

Comfort

  • Comfort levels high even on Sport Nav+ models
  • Easy to get comfy and get used to the interior
  • Space might be cramped for some

If comfort is a priority for you and you’re not desperate for the highest-spec CX-3, then might we suggest you stick with the SE Nav+or SE-L Nav+ trim levels. The ride is more compliant than Sport Nav+ and its attractive 18-inch wheels. However, even this rides well over the majority of surfaces.

The 16-inch alloy wheels fitted to the SE Nav+ or SE-L Nav+ models allow the already taut and firm CX-3 to cope with lumps and bumps very effectively. You’ll also notice slightly less road roar with the smaller wheels. And the rest of the experience is equally pleasing, with very little wind noise on the move – the only real disturbance is from around the large door mirrors.

The seats offer plenty of adjustment, as does the reach and rake steering wheel, while SE-L Nav+ models and above gain heated front seats (and climate control) as standard – perfect for cold winter mornings. Sport Nav+ models also add a heated steering wheel as standard.

Only taller rear passengers will find the bench anything but comfortable, since there’s a slight shortage of legroom – though not enough to present a problem to the children who are more likely to frequent it. Passengers in CX-3s with darkened rear windows may find it slightly claustrophobic in the back, as the apertures are small.