By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2019 MAZDA CX-3 PIC 1The Mazda CX-3 subcompact-sized Crossover continues to impress. And for the upcoming 2019 model year there are some improvement, the top model GT now a new electronic parking brake, updated, higher quality soft-touch materials, leather seating and GPS navigation. The heads-up display also now offers a turn-by-turn directions when a destination is entered. Incremental improvements make a good family CUV even better.

Note, the entry GX model comes in at an amazingly attractive price of only $20,795 with a six speed manual transmission, remote entry locking, push button start and electric windows. The GS model steps up with extra features at $23,095 with an automatic transmission and front wheel drive. The midrange GS with the Luxury and i-Active sense safety packages starts at $28,195. We tested a top-tier GT model that for 2019 arrives with as standard: revised color head-up display, power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory settings, a heated steering wheel, and traffic-sign recognition. The GT offers redesigned heated leather front seats, with 10-way power adjustment and memory for the driver. The plethora of standard features mean there are no need for options on the GT. The engine choice remains the same, a fuel efficient 2.0-litre Mazda SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine developing 148 horsepower, 2019 Mazda CX-3 Pic 2and 146 pound-feet of torque, the gearbox is as six speed automatic transmission with FWD or All-wheel drive.

Our GT tester came equipped with 18 inch  alloy wheels, push button start, 7-inch color touchscreen display with Mazda Connect, HDMI Commander, rearview camera, power moon roof, front heated seats, leather and Lux suede trimmed upholstery, full LED exterior lighting, navigation system, Bose audio with seven speaker package and climate control and the Active Driving display. Safety equipment on our CX-3 tester included. Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with stop and go Pedestrian detection, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), High Beam Control (HBC), Traffic Sign recognition, and Sirius XM Satellite radio.

Also added was the i-ACTIV AWD (All Wheel Drive) the only option was the smart looking Ceramic metallic paint at $450. The base MRSP for our tester came in at $30.795. With options, Freight and PDE, our tester’s final price came to $32,890. The cabin in our GT Model featured a sporty, interior, while everything looks well-made and durable looking. Quality is very high and the seats are comfortable and supportive.

There is space for four in this vehicle, however it is a tight fit for five tall adults. The rear bench seat is cozy and features a 60:40 splitting folding back seat. With the rear seat folded, there is 1,484 litres of cargo space in the CX-3 and a rear cargo cover.

On the road, the CX-3 six-speed automatic transmission delivers power to all four wheels via Mazda’s i-Activ intelligent on-demand all-wheel-drive system. Acceleration is good on highways, the SKYACTIV engines light weight, advanced engineering coupled with a well geared transmission means the CX-3 feels willing all the time. Yes, additional power would be nice for more top end torque, but nothing major here in terms of everyday driving.

The CX-3’s sport driving experience is enhanced by the Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system, which reduces engine torque, and adjusts steering and throttle inputs to add slight weight on the front wheels to make the steering feel firmer and more direct. The re-tuned suspension is taut, offering minimal body roll, while the responsive steering offers agile handling, the hallmark of all Mazda’s. There are paddle shifters and a Sport mode, which does ratchet up the response somewhat.

Downside are few, there is an absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability that will hopefully be rectified, but where the CX-3 shines is in the handling and ride comfort. The new suspension, chassis and NVH suppression have also noticeably improved the on road dynamics. Highly attractive with much to commend it, the CX-3 GT is ideal for its packaging and performance, arriving beautifully equipped with luxury. Safety and convenience features. Highly recommended for families and active singles everywhere.

2019 Mazda CX-3 Base pried from $20,795. CX-3 GT AWD Base MRSP $30,795. Plus options, Freight and PDE. Price as tested: $32,890.