When the Mazda CX-3 subcompact SUV was launched in 2016, we were immediately seduced by its dynamic drive and its design. However, we lamented the absence of the manual gearbox, even though the vast majority of buyers would still choose the automatic transmission.
It’s just that Mazda is a brand that’s all about driving pleasure, and it decided to finally offer a six-speed manual in the little CX-3 for the 2018 model year.
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No surprise here, the availability of this gearbox is limited to the base, front-wheel-drive GX trim, and allows the vehicle to boast a base MSRP of $19,995 before freight and delivery charges. In addition, fuel consumption goes up slightly, with city/highway ratings of 9.0 / 7.0 L/100 km for the manual transmission, compared to 8.2 / 6.9 L/100 km with the automatic. For the record, an automatic, AWD CX-3 has ratings of 8.8 / 7.5 L/100 km.
Amongst the other changes to the 2018 Mazda CX-3 is the addition of the company’s G-Vectoring Control software and—according to Mazda—improvements in noise, vibration and harshness as well as ride comfort, while the steering wheel and the trip computer display were redesigned. Some paint colours changed, too.
Also, the Smart City Brake Support system is now standard, and the GS trim now gets blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, a heated steering wheel and automatic climate control. It can also be equipped with the i-ACTIVESENSE package, which used to be a GT exclusivity.
The latter is now offered in a front-drive version, the all-wheel drivetrain being optional as is the case on the GX and GS trims. The GT also gets a 10-way power driver’s seat with position memory as well as a Technology Package that includes new electronic safety driving aids.