The CX-3’s design is coherent and smart. Its shape seems to have sprouted upwards from that of the related 2 supermini like a well-watered rose bush, and yet the car, which shares the 2’s 2570mm wheelbase, doesn’t spread out to cover much more ground.
The 40mm difference in ride height, however, produces a more substantial presence and offers Mazda’s designers a larger canvas onto which they can apply the intricate creases and surfaces of the Kodo theme.
Mazda insists that the CX-3’s underbody, with a 29% ultra-high-tensile steel content, has the same torsional rigidity as that of a Mazda 3 hatch.
The suspension – MacPherson struts and a rear twist beam – is largely carried over from the 2, albeit in overhauled form. Having created higher roll centres for each axle, the engineers fitted firmer bushes and retuned the spring/damper settings to suit.
The steering, too, has been adapted, with a beefed-up electric power assistance motor and a 7% slower ratio than the 2 to better suit its size and higher centre of gravity.