Alistair Steenkamp is one of the most passionate young Sales Managers I have met – having been with Mazda Eastrand for some time now, Alistair displays a very unique and refreshing attitude of humility, tempered with confidence in his knowledge of Mazda products and services. This month I am looking at the Mazda CX 3 from a closer angle, and was impressed to have been guided through this by Alistair.

Having an inherent passion for cars seems to be the benchmark of a good product representative: Alistair notes that his interest in vehicles includes researching history and technological progress through the foundational years of motoring companies, and learning how engines were developed and improved over the years. Making use of this knowledge, Alistair has built his knowledge-base on experience over the years. Having very cleverly slipped a foot in the door to be able to work for Mazda, Alistair showed ingenuity in asking to shadow a Salesman to learn from them, and was then brought into the Mazda family formally when his skill and dedication came to the fore. Now he is enthusiastically introducing me to the CX 3.

The Mazda CX 3 2.0 litre Individual Auto is, without a doubt, one of the best-looking crossover SUV’s on the market. As mentioned in the past, I am a fan of the new Mazda signature grille, and the sleek and shapely curves of this car are perfectly proportioned to encapsulate the concept of an SUV crossover. On the inside, the CX 3 boast high-end finishes and some great leather inlays, colour-coded accents that touch on the vehicles sporty-personality, as well as a lovely circular-design theme which blends in beautifully.

In the driver’s seat, I note there is more than ample head and leg room, and the seat itself is one of the best I have sat in, in terms of comfort and support. The dash is an aesthetic dream, with a 7-inch infotainment screen at centre-stage, and the rest of the dashboard laid out ergonomically. All controls are easy to reach and easy to understand, and I find the adjustable steering wheel makes me feel fully in control once seated.

Mazda has shown impressive consistency in terms of safety features on their vehicles; the new CX 3 range is no difference and possesses advanced safety features that have been noted on a global level for their innovation. This includes Smart City Brake Support, Adaptive LED Headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring, all of which promotes driver-focus and safe driving. Six airbags, ventilated disc brakes, ABS/EBD, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (and a host of other impressive abbreviated features to add to this list) all come together to complete my checklist for a vehicle of above-average safety standards.

On start up, the CX 3 gives a nice surge of power (the sound of which is effectively dampened in the cabin, I must note) coming from the 2.0 litre, four-cylinder engine. Naturally aspirated, the engine cranks out a pleasing 115 kW and 204 Nm of power to the front wheels. Boasting a 6-speed automatic gearbox, the CX 3 shifts through gear changes with ease and minimal fuss, making it one of the slicker gearboxes I have reviewed thus far. Engine efficiency is maximised and fuel-consumption reduced through the brilliance of Mazda’s Skyactiv Technology, and Alistair notes that as a result, the CX 3 has proven to be an affordable vehicle to drive.

Driving the CX 3 is a pleasant, smooth and hassle-free experience, with the vehicle showing superb handling and great feedback from the electric power steering. A nice sense of gravity creates the feeling of solid road-holding ability, and both bumper-to-bumper traffic and open freeway were a pleasure to navigate.

Mazda is a brand that has shown great innovation and expansion recently, and – as Alistair notes is the reason for his involvement in the industry – the growth of safe, reliable and efficient vehicles at affordable price, remains their philosophy. Current specials running at the Mazda Eastrand Dealership (as well as standard sales for the CX 3) are inclusive of a 3-year/Unlimited kilometre factory warranty, a 3-year Roadside Assistance plan as well as a 5-year Corrosion Warranty. For more, click on : Mazda Eastrand


By Desh Bechan