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Despite its age, the Mazda CX-3 is a high watermark for light SUVs. But can it still take the fight to one of Drive’s new favourites in the segment, the Ford Puma?
The Ford Puma is the smallest SUV the brand offers, starting off from $29,990 plus on-road costs for the eponymous base-level Puma specification, though an ongoing $31,990 drive-away deal is available. Our tester came fitted with the $1500 optional Park Pack that adds semi-automated parking assistance (among other tricks including adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring) and the $2000 optional panoramic sunroof.
The base-level Ford Puma is pricier than many of its light-SUV rivals such as the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Venue, Nissan Juke and Volkswagen T-Cross, but it does come with some neat features as standard. You do feel as if you’re getting a value-led deal, with features such as satellite navigation, wireless phone charging, auto high beam, rain-sensing wipers, LED ambient interior lighting, digital radio, and some nifty LED puddle lamps that display a puma cat.
There are also 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch Sync 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as massage seats – certainly an oddity at this price point.
The entire Puma range is powered by a 92kW/170Nm 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power is sent to the front wheels.
This is the base level of Ford's SUV range which also includes the medium-sized Escape and large off-road oriented Everest.
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport LE on test is one of the cheaper variants in the range, though it adds some key visual enhancements over the Maxx Sport. Notably, the LE gets swanky cream leatherette seats with coffee-coloured synthetic suede inserts, black side mirror caps and unique 16-inch alloy wheels.
It costs $27,640 before on-road costs, but also features a $30,490 national drive-away offer at the time of publishing. The entire range comes standard with safety kit including autonomous emergency braking, six airbags and a 7.0-inch touchscreen, though this Maxx Sport LE also gets blind-spot monitoring, native satellite navigation, and unlike other variants, comes as a six-speed automatic only.
Like many cars in the segment, Mazda bases the CX-3 on passenger car underpinnings. The CX-3 is shares some of its underpinnings with the Mazda 2 but can be had in front- or all-wheel drive (though the Maxx Sport LE is front-wheel drive only). The CX-3 Maxx Sport LE is powered by a 110kW/195Nm 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The CX-3 is the smallest SUV Mazda offers and pricing kicks off just below $23,000 for the entry-level CX-3 Neo manual. Larger models in the Mazda SUV range include the CX-30, CX-5, CX-8 and CX-9.
#CX3 #Puma #SmallSUV
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