The Mazda CX-3 is one of the most beloved and sought-after small SUVs in the Australian automobile market today. Besides striking an impressive presence on the road with its imposing grille, stylised headlights, and swooping silhouette lines, the Mazda CX-3 also sports certain features that put it above and beyond its competitors. These features include a smartly designed interior, an affordable price, and ability to provide an enjoyable driving experience. The fact that it is also based on the highly successful Mazda 2 platform is also a great bonus.
That being said, if you’re looking to own a Mazda CX-3 yourself, then you may be wondering just which of its current 5 variants to buy. What’s more, four of those variants can be bought in either Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) or All-Wheel Drive (AWD), which can further add to the challenge of picking the right vehicle. To help you arrive on your final decision, we’ve summarised the key differences among the five versions below.
Mazda CX-3 Models and Their Most Prominent Features
The Mazda CX-3 Neo Sport
This is the base model of the Mazda CX-3 and is the most economically priced version. It features a 2.0-litre petrol engine with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The options it comes with are as follows: 16-inch steel wheels, powered windows and mirrors, black cloth front seats with height adjustment, an electric parking brake, air conditioning, keyless start up, rear sensors, the MZD Connect touchscreen, and Hill Start Assist.
The Neo Sport also comes with Smart City Brake Support, a Mazda exclusive feature that monitors the vehicle in front of you to assess the chances of a collision—and will brake automatically for you if it decides that there is a high risk. This feature engages automatically once it detects that you’re driving at a speed of 4 to 80 kilometres per hour.
Finally, all Mazda CX-3 variants come with an adjustable boot floor that can be lowered to provide even more storage space, or raised so that you can have an easier time removing heavy luggage.
The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport
The next variant in the line is the Maxx Sport. In addition to everything that the Neo-Sport offers, the Maxx Sport includes Blind Spot Monitoring, a safety feature that keeps track of any vehicle behind you that may make it dangerous for you to change lines. There’s also Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which warns you of any approaching vehicles from either side of you as you’re reversing.
Choosing the Maxx Sport also allows you to decide whether your Mazda CX-3 comes with a petrol or diesel engine with either transmission type, something that isn’t available on the Neo Sport. Moreover, you can pick between FWD or AWD for your SUV, with the latter locking you to a petrol engine with automatic transmission.
As for amenities, the Maxx Sport treats you with luxurious leather wrappings on the steering wheel, the handbrake grip and the gear stick knob, as well as a sunglasses storage box. You also get 16-inch alloy wheels as opposed to the Neo Sport’s steel ones.
The Mazda CX-3 sTouring
The Mazda CX-3 sTouring adds even more on top of the basic Mazda CX-3 experience. Not only do you get everything the Neo Sport comes with, but you also get the variant-exclusive Black Maztex trim for added interior style and comfort points. Another noteworthy addition includes the flip-up Active Driving Display, which is a convenient transparent screen that puts important information in your line of sight. Such information includes recognised traffic signs, current speed, remaining fuel, and satellite navigation.
Amenities-wise, the sTouring spoils its owner with the following features: keyless entry, auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-folding heated exterior mirrors, climate control aircon, daytime running lights, front fog lights, and LED headlights. Finally, the sTouring variant is also available in both petrol or diesel engine setups, as well as manual or auto transmission and FWD or AWD.
The Mazda CX-3 Akari
The Akari variant of the Mazda CX-3 used to be the top of the line, but now the Akari LE has taken its place. Despite this, the Akari is still worthy of your serious consideration, as it offers nearly all the bells and whistles you need for a premium SUV experience. Along with everything the sTouring has, this model comes with two new safety features: Lane Departure Warning, which keeps track of road markings and warns you if you’re about to leave your lane; and Mazda Radar Cruise Control, which automatically keeps the car a safe distance away from the car ahead.
When it comes to amenities, the Akari offers a supremely comfortable experience with a variant-exclusive 10-way power adjusted driver seat with memory function, luxurious leather upholstery, lumbar support cushions and heated seating. It also has a sunroof, for those morning drives with the perfect sunny weather.
The Mazda CX-3 Akari LE
Finally, we come to the most advanced and expensive version of the Mazda CX-3, namely the Akari LE. Unlike the other variants, the additions to the Akari variant that the Akari LE brings are more on the cosmetic side, but there’s no denying that they make for an overall more premium package. These additions include Nappa leather seating, 18-inch alloys with a bright machined finish, and a modified interior that uses a larger amount of white leather than the other variants. The Nappa leather seating is particularly noteworthy here, as Nappa leather provides a buttery-soft surface that you’ll be sure to appreciate, especially on long drives.
The Akari LE is only available with a petrol engine and an automatic transmission.
How much do these Mazda CX-3 models cost?
The following are the ballpark price ranges of all the Mazda CX-3 variants listed above. Do note that they may change depending on where you are in Australia, and which dealership you buy from.
- Neo Sport: (FWD) AU$24,990
- Maxx Sport: (FWD) AU$26,540 / (AWD) AU$30,540
- sTouring: (FWD) AU$30,335 / (AWD) AU$34,335
- Akari: (FWD) AU$35,685 / (AWD) AU$39,185
- Akari LE: (FWD) AU$37,690/ (AWD) AU$37,690
As you can see, there is quite a substantial jump between variants, more so when the AWD option is picked. However, when we take all of what each variant offers on top of their preceding model, even the most budget-conscious buyer will still be coming away with a good bargain.
The Mazda CX-3: The SUV that offers both luxury and value in equal measure
If you’re looking for a compact SUV that oozes style and luxury, while also coming equipped with vital safety and convenience features, then the Mazda CX-3 should be right up your alley. Consider the variants listed above to see which features are at the top of your priority list, and balance them with your budget. We also recommend getting in touch with a reputable Mazda dealership such as Melville Mazda to get the best deal available for your next Mazda purchase.