This Mazda CX-3 Akari is finished in Soul Red Crystal Metallic and it’s a colour that you can almost fall in to. Magnificent to say the least. There are a lot of paint colours in the car market but few are as lustrous as this colour.

And as I press publish on this article, Mazda CX-3 has just been awarded the Best City SUV in the 2018 Drive Car of the Year awards. And that’s no mean feat in a segment packed full of very good cars.  In Mazda’s own words “Comprehensive, intensive testing by a team of motoring experts was carried out to determine the 2018 winners, and the sum of the CX-3’s design, tech, performance and safety features set it apart from its competitors.”

Mazda CX-3 AkariWhat is it? This Mazda CX-3 is the Akari – the top model in the CX-3 lineup. It has almost everything that you’d expect in a luxury compact SUV and arguably competes heartily with the likes of Audi Q2, BMW X1 and Lexus NX300 (new smaller Lexus UX model out soon).

Competition? Apart from the aforementioned premium SUV entrants, you could compare the Mazda CX-3 Akari with Fiat 500x, Ford Ecosport, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Infiniti QX30, Jaguar E-Pace, Mini Cooper Countryman, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 2008, Renault Capture, Suzuki Vitara, Toyota CH-R, and perhaps Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

At a stretch, at least in price, but far away in quality, you could include, Holden Trax as well as Jeep Renegade and Compass.

How Much? The Mazda CX-3 range starts from $23,990 (plus on-road costs and dealer delivery) for the manual Neo Sport and goes to the range-topping Mazda CX-3 Akari Auto All Wheel Drive at $37,990. Currently, Mazda dealers in Queensland are offering the Akari for $37990 drive away.

At the Front

Mazda Cx-3 has the typical Mazda family look – a fine looking grille, headlights and an included front splitter. The splitter helps channel the air into the braking and cooling systems, making the CX-3 more efficient.

Headlights are adaptive LED’s with auto on/off function. Daytime running lamps are standard as are front fog lamps.

All Cx-3’s have a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 6-speed transmission – either manual or automatic. The Akari is only available in Auto.

The 2.0-litre engine produces 110kw of power, more than sufficient as around town commuter vehicle or highway runner.

Down The Side

The side profile of the CX-3 is attractive with the typical wedge design found in most of the suvs on the market. Mazda takes pride in their design strategy and if you line up their contributions, Cx-3, Cx-5 Cx-8 and CX-9 the family resemblance is uncanny.

Mazda is also extremely focused on safety and technology and this ethos is evident in all models and particularly this new Mazda Cx-3 Akari.

If you’d prefer to browse the total specification list, click on this link – Mazda CX-3 Specs but below are the ones that I think are the most important to consider with the Mazda Cx-3 Akari.

Comprehensive Active and Passive safety abounds in the Mazda CX-3.
360� view monitor Standard
Advanced keyless entry Standard
Advanced keyless push-button engine start Standard
Airbags SRS Front (Driver & passenger); Side (front); Curtain (Front & rear)
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Standard
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) Standard
Driver Attention Alert (DAA) Standard
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) Standard
Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) Standard
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) Standard
Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) Standard
Engine immobiliser Standard
Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW) Standard
Hill Launch Assist (HLA) Standard
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Standard
Parking Sensors Front & rear
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) Standard
Smart Brake Support (SBS) Standard
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) Forward & reverse
Traction Control System (TCS) Standard
Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) Standard
Mazda CX-3 Akari

No auto-window for the front seat passenger – pity.

One aspect of this top of the line Mazda Cx-3 that did disappoint me was the lack of auto windows for the front passenger seat. If I was the designer, I’d have auto down/up windows for all the seating positions. Arguably this feature doesn’t cost a lot of money and with the Akari, I think it’s justified.

Another aspect of modern cars that I like is the ability to close or open all the windows (and the sunroof) from the driver’s key fob. Volkswagen, BMW and even Nissan have this feature and I’m fairly confident that other prestige Europeans and Japanese brands have it too.

If, as a company, you’re trying hard to move consumers up from a basic or mid-range model, then it makes sense to offer the surprise and delight items. I recall in my VW days that customers were absolutely wonderous about the remote up and down window feature.




At the back

Mazda CX-3 Akari

Plenty of room in the second row for passengers – unusual in a small SUV

Mazda CX-3 Akari

With the second row up, there’s still ample room for most anything you’d consider carrying

Mazda CX-3 Akari

With the second row stowed, the luggage area is enormous. Pity the seats don’t lie flat though

There’s enough room in the luggage area of the Mazda CX-3.

With the second row in play, plenty of space for prams, golf clubs and any DIY supplies you may pick up on your travels. WIth the second row stowed, space is almost cavernous.

With a split-fold rear seat system, you can still carry 1 or 2 passengers whilst still able to stow that flat pack from Bunnings or Ikea





Drivers Side and Seat

Mazda CX-3 Akari

A comprehensive dashboard, infotainment system and steering wheel controls await the driver. The HUD (head up display) takes some getting used to but not long.

Mazda CX-3 Akari

Mazda designers continue to create good looking vehicles. The CX-3 is no exception

You really only get to know how comfortable a car is after you’ve driven it for a longer time. One of my biggest beefs with dealer test drives is that they’re typically around the block and rarely out on the highway. If car makers and dealers want to earn the trust of their customers, I’d recommend that they offer overnight test drives at worst and weekend test drives preferably.

My time with the Mazda CX-3 Akari was great. You really get to know a car after sitting in it for a week – you begin to understand the idiosyncrasies of a particular car.

On the highway, the Mazda is comfortable, little tyre ort wind noise and in fact, my passengers even fell asleep on the hour journey from Peachester to Redcliffe.

The dash layout is excellent, the seating position is great and there’s sufficient adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to get all but the shortest and tallest drivers in a good position.

The dashboard and infotainment system along with steering wheels controls allow the driver to keep their eyes on the road – Head up display takes a bit of getting used to but after a short time, you only notice the information, not the screen





Mazda CX-3 Akari

Be careful when it comes to assessing the safety in the vehicle you’re considering. ANCAP persists in allowing manufacturers to quote ‘old’ 5-star ratings on recently released cars.

The Mazda CX-3, released this year still promotes a 5-star rating from 2015.

I’ve no doubt that with the modern technology – Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot monitoring that the CX-3 Akari would still achieve the top rating.

Nonetheless, that’s my assumption – I firmly believe that for car makers to quote that they have the safest car for sale, then they should test their claim against the current ANCAP criteria.

















Green Vehicle Guide



Through the Green Vehicle Guide, Mazda quotes about 6 litres per 100km for the CX-3. Even with a 20% tolerance change, this is still a very economical vehicle to own and run. During my week with the Mazda, I achieved 6.4 litres per 100km but that was mainly highway from Peachester to Redcliffe with a small amount of neighbourhood running. As with most modern Japanese cars, MAzda Cx-3 achieves a Euro 5 pollution score

Mazda CX-3 Akari








Mazda CX-3 Akari SUV. I use RACQ Insurance to give you a guide as to what you’ll pay for your annual comprehensive car insurance. Conditions precedent for this cover are:

  • A male driver over 60 years of age, having held a license for over 10 years
  • Bronze member of RACQ with 2 other insurance policies
  • Has paid cash for the car for private use with the car parked in a garage overnight.
  • The driver resides in postcode 4017
  • The car is fitted with an engine immobilizer
  • 1 at fault claim in the last 3 years, with no license suspensions
  • Rating 1 currently having held that rating 1 for 10 years or more
  • No driver under 25 will use the vehicle.

The premium quoted online by RACQ Insurance for Private Use – $447.15 with a $750 excess. Variations from the information above may result in different outcomes. Check online with RACQ Insurance for your own particular quote.

Where to Buy – Dealers

My test vehicle was supplied by Mazda Australia. No financial incentives were paid to me by Mazda for this review. If you’re in the market to buy a Mazda CX-3 Akari or any other Mazda for that matter, pick your dealer carefully. When I want to check out the ‘worthiness’ of a dealer, I Google ‘Mazda Dealers Brisbane” where the city is the one that you live in or around and the brand is that particular one you’re interested in.

I only list dealers who have achieved a minimum of 15 reviews with Google and then only those with 4 stars or higher.

From a South East Queensland perspective here’s the dealers I’d visit:

Northside            Grand Prix Mazda                             4.4 Stars from 222 Reviews

Southside            Oldmac Mazda Springwood            4.4 Stars from 206 Reviews

Eastside               Oldmac Mazda Cleveland                 4.4 Stars from 99 Reviews

Westside             Ipswich Mazda                                   4.3 Stars from 92 Reviews

Gold Coast          Tweed Heads Mazda                        4.2 Stars from 74 Reviews

Sunshine Coast  Sunshine Coast Mazda                    4.2 Stars from 94 Reviews

(Google Stars and review numbers effective 20th November 2018)

My Opinion 

The Mazda CX-3  is one of the best selling small SUVs on the Australian market. Whilst the Mitsubishi ASX is the better seller, Mazda doesn’t participate in the fleet and rental market and only sell their product to private customers.

Whilst the CX-3 Akari is at the top of the pile when it comes to price, the other models in the range are cost-effective, safe and as easy to drive.


  • Smooth power delivery and economical
  • Plenty of room in the second-row seats and luggage area.


  • Auto windows at least for the front passenger seat is a must.
  • Remote open and closing windows in the Akari would be a plus

Mazda CX-5 – In Their Own Words  Mazda CX-8 Asaki – New Car Review – Why Should You Buy   Why Should You Buy – Mazda CX-9 7 Seater SUV Mazda6 Diesel Wagon – Car Review – Why Should You Buy


Bob AldonsHi,  Bob Aldons here, the owner and founder of The Car Guy, and Car Business, reviewing cars, reporting on car industry matters, car tech, Formula 1, buying #anynewcarcheaper and the world at large.

I’ve spent the last forty years immersed in the automotive industry from salesman to the owner of a 7 brand multi-franchise dealership. I know cars.

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