Mazda CX-3 hatchback driving position
It’s relatively easy to find a decent driving position in the CX-3, thanks to varied seat and steering wheel adjustments. However, lower-spec models get a manually adjustable driver’s seat, with a lever to alter the backrest angle that has an annoyingly limited number of positions.
Higher-spec models with fully electrically adjustable seats remove that blight, though. The seats prove comfortable over long-distance motorway runs but could do with more side bolstering for snaking country roads.
Stress-free driving is helped by controls that are placed within easy reach, clearly labelled and therefore simple to understand. In particular, the big rotary heating and ventilation controls are quick and easy to use while you're driving, unlike the fiddly touchscreen icons found in the C3 Aircross.
Mazda CX-3 hatchback visibility
The view out the front of the CX-3 is compromised a little by its relatively thick windscreen pillars. Rear visibility is worse, though, with small side and rear windows that make it difficult to spot hazards hovering around your flanks. Fortunately, the large door mirrors help cover some of the blindspots, and you can add blindspot monitoring with the optional Safety Pack to the top-level Sport Nav+ trim.
Sport Nav+ also gets LED headlights as standard. If you order the same options pack that brings the blindspot monitoring, you also get headlights upgraded to adaptive LED units, which can stay on full beams for longer without dazzling other road users and create shadows specifically around the cars in front.
From mid-spec SE-L Nav+ trim, you get rear parking sensors to help with reversing, but you’ll have to opt for the expensive Sport Nav+ model if you want a rear-view camera.
Mazda CX-3 hatchback infotainment
The CX-3’s standard infotainment system is pretty slick for the class and neatly presented. The 7.0in screen is sited high on the dashboard and can be operated as a touchscreen or with the handy rotary controller and shortcut buttons down by the gearlever.
The latter is far less distracting when you’re driving and a real boon over the touchscreen-only systems that most of the CX-3’s rivals employ. It’s generally easy to find your way around the system's menus, although the processing could be snappier at times.
It comes loaded with features, too, including sat-nav, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Plus, you can access cloud-based apps that offer services including internet radio or even Twitter and Facebook – when you’re stationary, of course. To stay in touch while on the move, the car can read aloud your phone's incoming text messages.
The standard six-speaker stereo is nothing to write home about, but Sport Nav+ models feature a seven-speaker Bose system that’s punchier and more detailed
Mazda CX-3 hatchback build quality
The CX-3’s interior looks smartly designed and, while it feels a little lacking in robustness here and there (the door trims flex outwards slightly as you close a window, for example) it does at least look swisher than much of the competition, such as the VW T-Cross and Seat Arona with their hard, unyielding dashboards.
Sure, the CX-3 uses a few low-rent plastics as well, but these are interspersed with plusher trims and highlights elsewhere, including a leather gearlever and steering wheel, and Alcantara on the doors and dashboard of the higher-grade trims. Generally, it’s a nice place to be.