Well-bolstered and comfortable seats hold you securely, and it’s easy to find a decent driving position, thanks to a decent range of seat and steering column adjustments. The seats should prove comfortable over longer distances for most, too.
Driver comfort is further improved by controls that are all placed within easy reach, and that are clearly labeled and simple to understand. In particular, the rotary heating and ventilation controls are quick and easy to use on the move, unlike the fiddly touchscreen controls found in the C4 Cactus.
Wheel-mounted controls make it painless to access more commonly used functions, such as volume and cruise control settings, while the media and navigation system controls behind the gearlever make it a snap to access and change functions.
Mazda CX-3 visibility
Poor rearward visibility
You get a decent view out of the front of the Mazda, thanks in part to its slightly taller body and higher seating position.
What’s not so good, however, is the rear visibility. The small side and rear windows make it very difficult to spot hazards around you. Fortunately the large door mirrors cover some of the blindspots but it’s still harder to see out of than some of its more conventionally shaped rivals, such as the Suzuki Vitara.
Mid-spec SE-L versions get rear parking sensors, which helps, but you’ll have to opt for the expensive Sport Nav model if you want a reversing camera. This makes the CX-3 much easier to park.
Mazda CX-3 infotainment
Every CX-3 gets a 7-inch media system
The Mazda’s standard 7.0-inch touchscreen media system is a slick, neatly presented system. The rotary controller, mounted just behind the gearlever, makes the system easy to control, while the display is clear and easy to read.
A voice control system is fitted to all CX-3s as well, and works very well.
Adding to the media system’s ease of use is the fact that the USB ports and auxiliary connector are mounted just in front of the gearlever, above a tray that can hold your mobile phone. It means you don’t have to trail cables around the cabin, or fumble around in the glovebox to find a connector.
Opt for one of the Nav versions and you’ll benefit from Mazda’s integrated sat-nav system. It’s a worthwhile addition and functions well, but it’s a shame it’s not standard.
Mazda CX-3 build quality
Well assembled but the cabin materials aren’t great
The Mazda’s cabin might look smartly designed and smart but up close it feels a little lacking in outright quality. What lets it down the most is the wide array of trim finishes, which make it look a little cluttered; a bit of leather here, some carbon-effect material here, three different shades of black plastic – it’s just a bit uncoordinated and detracts from its look and feel.
The materials themselves don’t feel very classy either, although the gearlever, steering wheel and dials buck that trend.