In-depth reviews

Mazda CX-3 (2015-2020) review - Interior, design and technology

At first glance, the CX-3 looks a little bit plain inside, but it’s actually pretty classy and functional

Mazda's Kodo design treatment means the CX-3 gets the same slick styling cues as the brand’s 2 supermini, 6 family car and MX-5 roadster. The Sport Nav model is given an extra visual lift courtesy of its large 18-inch alloys (two inches bigger than SE Nav and SE-L Nav cars), LED headlamps and privacy glass for the rear windows. 

Although the interior layout of the Mazda CX-3 feels a little lower-slung than in most crossovers – the company’s designers were clearly going for the sporty feel found elsewhere in the model line-up – the styling inside is basically very similar to the Mazda 2 and 3.

The instrument display is based around a simple single binnacle, which owners of other recent models in the Mazda range are likely to be familiar with, while dominating the centre of the dashboard is a seven-inch colour touchscreen. It’s actually quite similar in style to that of the old RX-8 coupe, although of course there’s much more technology on board.

Quality is excellent, and buyers can add leather and contrast stitching if they have the budget to dip into the options list. But even in standard guise, the CX-3 has a solid, well made feel.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The seven-inch infotainment system in the CX-3 is used across the Mazda range. It’s neither the simplest nor most intuitive set-up to use, but given that sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB are standard across the line-up it offers a good level of functionality, with three years’ European map updates included.

The rotary Multimedia Commander controller is fairly simple to use, and is far simpler to use than the touchscreen system that's also on offer, and there are shortcut buttons to jump to the system’s key areas. However, the menu layout isn’t very logical, and simple tasks such as entering a destination or changing a DAB station require one too many inputs. The graphics aren’t as sharp as its rivals’ set-ups, either.

Sport Nav models also benefit from a seven-speaker Bose stereo, and while this compromises load space, at least it delivers a punchy sound for a system in a small car. Although the infotainment screen is well placed in your eye line on top of the dashboard, the Sport Nav’s standard colour head-up display is a useful feature, too.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 SE Nav + 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,130

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 SE Nav + 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,130

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 150 Sport Nav + 5dr AWD
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £23,610

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