Is a limited-edition model worth the premium?
After a couple of years it was time to titivate the small Mazda SUV. A subtle refresh included this new range-topping model, the limited-edition GT Sport. There will be 500 available, so should you rush out now to place your order?
The Sport moniker isn’t to be taken too seriously. If you’re expecting sharper handling and a quicker time to 62mph then you’re taking things too literally. There are no mechanical changes, this is all about visual rather than mechanical updates. So there is definitely a sportier look to the exterior, complemented by 18-inch alloys. That’s about it, apart from some upgrades inside.
2017 Mazda CX-3 2.0 120 GT Sport
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol
Power: 118bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 150lb ft at 2400rpm
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Top speed: 119mph
Official economy: 47.9mpg
CO2, tax band: 137g/km, 26%
This model is only available with the 2.0-litre petrol engine, with 118bhp going to just the front wheels. You can shift with either a six-speed manual or an auto transmission but those are about the only choices.
Take the new CX-3 around town, its probable environment of choice, and it’s quite enjoyable. The engine is smooth, revs well and makes reasonable amounts of torque so progress is steady and fairly refined.
The car handles well, being quick to change direction and really feels quite nippy, aided by firm suspension. But the downside is that firmness leads to a firm ride, made even more of a crash and thud experience by the replacement of the standard 16-inch rims with those bigger 18-inch ones.
The CX-3 on all models gets Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Technology which is meant to reduce the amount of tiny steering input the driver needs to make, limiting lateral g-force changes. It’s really hard to tell if it’s working or not to be honest.
While that’s all fine at lower speeds, upping the ante is a game of diminishing returns. The steering never comes alive, while the handling and ride never find the right balance between them. And, despite more sound-deadening, this is still a fairly noisy car on the motorway.
Which is a shame because the cabin is quite smart and comes with all the Sport Nav kit plus more, so you get the 7in colour touchscreen infotainment system complete with rotary controller, as well as a good list of kit including climate and cruise controls.
The Sport GT gains nappa leather on the seats and overall the cabin feels well made, if not quite at Audi Q2 levels. In terms of space, it’s better in the front than the back, and the boot is about on par with the competition.
As you can see, it’s hard to find an area where the CX-3 excels. It’s going to be relatively rare, and for some that will have a value, but value is not the first quality that springs to mind. At £22,895, this is £2000 more than for the Sport Nav trim, and we thought that was overpriced.
The small SUV sector is ruthlessly competitive, and the CX-3 GT Sport doesn’t really have enough positive qualities to put it up there with the best, like the Seat Ateca or Nissan Qashqai.