Mazda CX-3 2.0 2WD

Sport Nav+

Mazda CX-3, side action
Mazda CX-3, front action 1
Mazda CX-3, front action 2
Mazda CX-3, rear action
Mazda CX-3, static 2
Mazda CX-3, boot 2
Mazda CX-3, dashboard
Mazda CX-3, static 1
Mazda CX-3, boot 1

CAR makers are past masters at making us want to spend just a little bit more on the four-wheeled temptations they put in our path.

Some of them make a very good living adding a touch of lusted after luxury to what underneath is a kissing cousin to something much more down to earth (Audi, anyone?).

So no black marks against Mazda for producing a range of cars like its smallish CX-3 SUV with a spread of prices that start at £19,395 and top out some time later at £26,045.

Everyone does it and Mazda is milder in its price list upgrades than many. And when most of us these days don't actually pay outright for our daily drivers, what's another few quid a month on the finance deal?

But let's play Mr Scrooge on this one and see what you get with the least expensive CX-3 and contemplate life without some of the little luxuries that extra cash would bring.

No matter which version your hard earned goes on, in the end they'll all look much the same. Which is no bad thing, with this particular Mazda looking as good as anything in its class and a good deal better than some (Nissan Juke, anyone?).

And then ask yourself if anything that comes with cruise control as standard could ever feel shortchanged in the goodies' department. Or a navigation system, keyless entry, auto dimming rear view mirror and heated and power folding door mirrors.

Oh, and air conditioning and alloy wheels and electric parking brake with auto hold. So not basic at all, then.

Consider too that with its smallish (but alloy) road wheels the SE Nav+ grade of CX-3 will probably ride our rutted roads with a shade more aplomb than its larger wheeled and dearer siblings.

Then there's the engine too consider. The least expensive CX-3 runs a petrol unit whose 119 horses are produced from an unfashionably large 2.0-litres capacity. Mazda thinks that will prove more economical than the smaller, harder working engines of the competition.

And a dash readout of 45.1mpg with that engine after a week in a dearer grade car rather proves the manufacturer's point. Good enough to make the presence of but a single diesel version nothing to worry about, especially as it costs £23,295.

You can have your CX-3 with four-wheel drive but hardly anyone does, reckoning that the front-wheel drive of less expensive models will cope with nearly any English snow season - and a set of winter tyres would complete the job.

There are automatic gearboxes on offer too, making for easier progress in towns but missing the delight of one of the best six-speed manual changes in the business. And they cost more, of course.

And whatever you pay for your particular CX-3 you'll have much the same interior feel, with a severe but well set out dashboard, comfortable seats, not much stretching room in the rear but a decently sized boot.

FAST FACTS

Mazda CX-3 2.0 2WD Sport Nav+

Price: £22,095

Mechanical: 119bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 119mph

0-62mph: 9.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 141 g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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