Mazda makes its entry into the fast-growing B-segment crossover market in Malaysia with the official launch of the all-new Mazda CX-3 this week by Bermaz Motors, the brand’s official distributor in Malaysia.
Spun off the compact version of Mazda’s modular SkyActiv platform underpinning the Mazda2, the CX-3 is sold in Malaysia as a CBU vehicle from Japan, despite much nearer AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) plant also producing the model. According to Bermaz officials, the Thai-built CX-3 has less than 40 percent local content, meaning it does not enjoy preferential tariffs under AFTA terms. By importing from Japan, Bermaz takes advantage of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and Japan to reduce its duty burdens.
Anticipated by many as a serious competitor to the Honda HR-V, the CX-3 has nevertheless inserted itself at a higher price bracket, with the only variant on sale in Malaysia asking for RM135,143.19 including insurance – higher even than Mazda’s own CX-5 2.0 GL 2WD and just RM3,000 shy of the Honda CR-V 2.0 2WD.
For the premium, Mazda has packed a high level of standard equipment into the CX-3, offering six airbags, leather suede upholstery, auto cruise, auto swiveling LED headlamps, front and rear fog lamps, keyless entry, heads-up display, tilt & telescopic steering, sunroof, and electronic stability control. The minimalist dashboard houses Mazda’s slick and sophisticated MZD Connect infotainment system consisting of a 7-inch LCD display, rotary control knob, and integrated with a reverse camera.
Up front, Mazda fits the most powerful engine among crossovers its size, fitting in the direct-injected 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G. Outputs are naturally class-leading, with 154hp on tap and 204Nm of torque served from 2,800rpm, which is impressively low (practically unheard of) for a naturally-aspirated petrol engine. The engine drives the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. Auto start/stop is fitted to reduce fuel wastage on idle.
Suspension architecture consists of MacPherson struts up front and despite having a rear torsion beam, Mazda engineers actually have provisions for all-wheel drive versions of the CX-3 that are not offered in Malaysia. In vehicles so equipped, the torsion beam curves upward at its mid-point to accommodate the rear drive shaft. Disc brakes are standard all-round, with the car sitting on 18-inch alloy wheels at each corner.
Like all new Mazda models, the CX-3 is sold with Bermaz Motor’s three-year warranty and free maintenance programme for stress-free ownership.