Wednesday, 20 June 2018

2018 Mazda CX-3


Intro
A few weeks ago I had the chance to test drive the 2018 Mazda CX-3 GX Manual, courtesy of Mazda Canada. It was the base trim and the only trim that offers a manual transmission. For a full review of the GX, please click here.

This week we have the chance to test drive the 2018 Mazda CX-3, in the top GT trim. It comes with a 6 speed automatic all wheel drive transmission and the technology package. Since we have already written a detailed review of the GX, this review will be focusing on the upgrades the GT trim offers.

Exterior
I am loving the Machine Grey Metallic color of our tester that is only available in the GS and GT trims. It highlights the beautiful character lines of the CX-3 and gives the car a more composed, expensive look. The 18 inch split-spoke wheels that comes with the GT are gorgeous and look much more proportional than the standard 16 inch wheels. Mazda tastefully added decorative chrome trims to the body sills that add a touch of premium feel.

Both the font headlights and rear combination lights are upgraded to LED bulbs. The segmented angel eyes look is sharp and distinctive. In addition, the GT also gets LED fog lights in the lower grilles.

All of these are minor changes, but they make a big difference in making the car look classier and more expensive. The CX-3 in the GX trim was good looking but the GT trim definitively takes it to another level.













Interior
The first thing you will notice stepping from a GX into a GT is the upgraded choice of materials. Soft-touched materials are used throughout the cabin instead of hard plastics. Our tester is equipped with two-toned Pure White leather and Black Lux Suede seats. The driver seat is 10-way power adjustable, and much more supportive than the clothed seats in the GX.

There is a matching white leather trim panel spanning across the front dash. And red decorative leather trims are added to the side arm rests and center console. Mazda has also upgraded the plane black plastic panels around the control dials to carbon fiber looking ones. The gear shifter is looking sharp with a black leather boot and red accent stitching, so are the brushed aluminum door handles. The climate control dials with the automatic temperature control system are more modern looking than the ones found in the GX.

All in all, the interior of the GT is definitively more comfortable and feels more premium. The only complaint I have is that there is still no center armrest or storage.












Infotainment
The infotainment system is largely the same in the GT with the addition of a Colour Active Driving Display (which used to be monochrome), a navigation system, and a 7 speakers Bose premium audio system.





Safety and Driver Assistance
With the GT trim and Tech package, the CX-3 gets these additional features:
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) 
  • Smart Brake Support (SBS)
  • Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW)
  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
  • High Beam Control System (HBC)
  • Distance Recognition Support System (DRSS)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition System (TSR) - newly added to CX-3
I also like the automatic walk away locking system which, as the name suggests, automatically locks the car doors when you walk away from the vehicle with the key.

Driving
In normal day to day driving, it is unlikely one will rip the full benefit of the AWD system, but it sure will come in handy when it snows. The 6 speed automatic system feels slightly sluggish from a complete stop unless in it is put in sports mode. Otherwise, the transmission shifts confidently and smoothly. One benefit of driving an automatic is the hill launch assist that prevents the car from sliding backward on a hill from stationary. During our mostly city test drive, we average a 8.4L/100km consumption rating, which is worse than what we achieved with the GX manual.

Space and Cargo Storage
Due to the addition of the 7 speakers Bose premium audio system, the GX's cargo space is slightly reduced from 452L to 408L with the rear seats up, and 1528L to 1484L with the rear seats down.


Verdict
I really enjoyed the upgrades the GT trim has brought to the 2018 CX-3. While the exterior upgrades are subtle, it makes the car looks classier and more composed. The interior upgrades are more extensive and gives the car a premium feel. The Tech package adds a whole slew of safety features and driver assists to a already very safe vehicle. However, I really wish Mazda would offer the same excellent transmission we found in the GX manual in the GT trim as well.

Test Vehicle
2018 Mazda CX-3 GT with Tech Package
MSRP
$30,995 without Freight & PDE
Color
Machine Grey

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