Published on March 14th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair


4 Reasons Why One Might Buy a CX-3 over a CX-5

We’re currently test driving a whole lot of cars for our VOTY 2019 awards. One of those cars is the facelifted Mazda CX-3.

The CX-3 has always been a bit of an oddball both in the Mazda lineup as well as in the Japanese compact crossover segment. If you’re shopping for a Mazda, you’ll know that the CX-3 sits somewhere in between the 2 and CX-5. It even eats into the Mazda 3 market in terms of pricing. So, why should you buy the CX-3 instead of the more practical CX-5 for about the same amount of money?


Made in Japan

Today, a lot of people don’t really draw a distinction between the build quality of CKD and CBU models. To most, it’s really the price tag that matters, so they’re willing to ‘risk’ a locally assembled car if it means getting much better value.

Japanese work ethic and corporate culture is much different than it is here. There are no real metrics that we can use here, but if you want a car that’s built on Japanese soil by (most probably) Japanese hands, the CX-3 is one of the cheapest ways you can enjoy that privilege. Think about it. How many brand new CBU-Japan cars are priced below RM150,000 let alone below RM130,000? None.

Kodo Styling that Lasts

Mazda’s Kodo design language is extremely expressive. It can make regular SUVs look very premium. But products like the CX-5 and Mazda 2 are pretty common, so they tend to disappear on the road. Plus, because they go up against some very tough competition, the design has to give way to size and packaging considerations. Because the CX-3 is a niche product, a compact crossover, it can afford to be a little more stylistic. I think that definitely shows. Put a CX-3 next to even a 2nd generation CX-5 and the CX-3 still stands out. I think this car will age extremely well given the fact that it’s not quite as popular as its stablemates.

2-litre engine in a B-segment vehicle

Some of us enjoy the combination of a naturally-aspirated petrol engine with a quick shifting transmission. The CX-3 is the only entry with a 2-litre engine and a 6-speed automatic. Both of these are tuned under Mazda’s Skyactiv branding. For the engine, that means less internal friction, higher compression and direct injection. The transmission on the other hand, was engineered to have the shift feel of a manual transmission. It uses a multi-plate clutch as well as a torque converter to achieve this feel. It’s definitely the most engaging vehicle the segment, and if you’re looking for a small car with a ‘fun’ amount of power, the CX-3 is up there.

Pay for What You Want and Use

Yes, most cars in this price range have space for 4-5 people. But if you’re not someone who needs to regularly transport your family around, you might ask yourself: Can I pay extra for premium materials/design/features instead of extra space? With the CX-3, that’s what you get. Sure, the same amount of cash will get you a base model CX-5, but maybe you don’t need such a big car. With the CX-3, you get the same engine and gearbox, a lot of equipment, a suede-covered interior and a lot of style. It’s the perfect car for singles and couples who don’t have plans for children.

Mazda CX-3 Facelift Specifications

Engine: Inline 4, Direct Injection, Naturally Aspirated
Capacity: 1998cc
Gearbox: 6-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 154hp @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 204Nm @ 2800rpm
Price: RM128,159.00

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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