2024 Mazda CX-3 G20 Evolve Review
Price & Equipment:8
Performance & Economy:7.5
Ride & Handling:8.5
Interior & Practicality:7.5
Service & Warranty:8
What we like:
  • Still handsome and fun to drive
  • Evolve spec brightens up the interior and is good value
  • More grunt than rivals
What we don't like:
  • Cramped rear seat and boot
  • Pricing has crept up noticeably
  • Service pricing isn't cheap
7.9DiscoverAuto Rating:

With 4,233 sales under its belt so far this year, the Mazda CX-3 is a big sales success story for Mazda Australia. While the company has made headlines recently thanks to the launch of its ‘Mazda Premium’ products like the CX-60 and CX-90, the reality is that cars like the CX-3 and CX-5 are keeping the company in second place on the new car sales charts in Australia and even though it’s been on sale for eight years, the CX-3 still does quite well for Mazda locally. It’s just been updated for the 2024 model year, so should you not beat them, but join them by considering the 2024 Mazda CX-3 G20 Evolve?

For the 2024 CX-3 range, Mazda Australia has introduced new model names, in line with most other Mazdas along with revised equipment levels across the range – the Pure has replaced the former Maxx Sport, for example . The mid-spec Evolve we’re testing here used to be called Maxx Sport LE, and adds a white and tan premium-looking interior to the otherwise-black CX-3 interior.

How much does the 2024 Mazda CX-3 Evolve cost to buy?

While the CX-3 range starts from $26,950 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Pure, we tested the mid-spec Evolve grade. It’s priced from $31,200 plus on-road costs (or around $35,500 drive away, depending on location) and there are two models above it in the Australian CX-3 lineup: the Touring SP and the Akari.

CX-3 Evolve standard equipment:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels with a spare-saver spare wheel
  • Dusk-sensing automatic LED exterior lighting with LED daytime running lights
  • Rain-sensing automatic wipers
  • Electric/auto-folding mirrors
  • Electric/automatic (front) windows with remote open
  • Remote keyless entry with push button start
  • Single-zone automatic climate control
  • Synthetic leather and suede upholstery
  • Six-way manually adjustable front seats
  • Leather steering wheel and gearknob
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen with control wheel on the central console
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
  • AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio
  • Satellite navigation
  • Bluetooth calling and audio streaming
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • 2x USB-A ports, 1x 12V socket
  • Cruise control
  • Rear centre armrest with cupholders
  • Auto-dimming rear mirror

CX-3 Evolve safety equipment:

  • Six airbags (2x front, 2x curtain, 2x front side)
  • Auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection
  • Low-speed reverse automatic braking
  • Lane departure warning with lane keeping assistance
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Auto high beam
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera

The CX-3 is currently unrated for safety by ANCAP as it was last tested in 2015 and its rating has expired.

CX-3 Evolve colour range:

  • Aero Grey Metallic (on our test car)
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Platinum Quartz Metallic
  • Jet Black Mica
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic (+$595)
  • Polymetal Grey Metallic (+$595)
  • Machine Grey Metallic (+$595)

The CX-3 G20 Evolve is only available with a white and tan synthetic leather and suede interior.

CX-3 Evolve rivals:

There are quite a few rivals to the CX-3 range – including the Nissan Juke, Volkswagen T-Cross, Hyundai Venue and Skoda Kamiq – but we consider the Toyota Yaris Cross GX (priced from around $35,000 drive away) and Kia Stonic GT-Line ($32,490 drive away nationwide) to be the closest competitors to the CX-3 Evolve. While the Yaris Cross GX features a hybrid drivetrain and more advanced safety equipment like adaptive cruise control and adaptive lane guidance over the Mazda, the CX-3 adds larger wheels, automatic wipers, LED exterior lighting, synthetic leather and suede trim and a head-up display.

The Stonic GT-Line is priced a good $3,000 less than the CX-3 and while the CX-3 has larger wheels, auto-folding mirrors, rear auto braking, a rear centre armrest, a head-up display and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, the Stonic adds adaptive lane guidance, a sunroof, LED front fog lights, roof rails, a rear USB charging port over the Mazda for less money. That makes it better value than the Mazda, in our opinion.

How powerful is the 2024 Mazda CX-3 Evolve?

Under the bonnet of the entire 2024 Mazda CX-3 G20 Evolve is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 110kW of power (at 6,000rpm) and 195Nm of torque (2,800rpm), which are healthy numbers in the light SUV segment – the Yaris Cross hybrid makes 85kW and the Stonic GT-Line just 74kW, for example. That engine is mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission and sends power solely to the front wheels – CX-3s used to also be available with diesel, manual and all-wheel drive options as well, but the 2024 update culled those options. The Yaris Cross is only available with a CVT automatic – in either front- or all-wheel drive – while the Stonic GT-Line comes with a seven-speed DCT in FWD only.

The ‘SkyActiv-G’ engine in the CX-3 has been with us for a while now – and hasn’t seen the updates given to the same engine in the Mazda3, including cylinder deactivation technology – and it’s a generally fine engine. It’s got good outputs for the segment and generally feels quite peppy for the segment, though it must be revved out to get the most out of it and higher in the rev range, it can be a touch loud – though it’s quieter than the Yaris Cross’ drivetrain, but not as refined as the Stonic GT-Line. At highway speeds, the CX-3 can feel a bit underpowered, but it’s faster than rivals and around town, it’s great.

The only available transmission in the updated CX-3 range is a six-speed torque converter automatic, which is made by Aisin. As you’d expect from a Mazda, it’s a generally pretty good transmission and definitely preferable to the transmissions used in competitors. Around town especially, it chooses gears well and unlike the Stonic GT-Line, you don’t have to wait for a dual-clutch transmission to decide which gear to choose and a clutch to engage when setting off.

The claimed combined fuel consumption for the CX-3 is 6.3L/100km with claimed CO2 emissions of 143g/km – that’s versus just 4.1L/100km and 93g/km for the hybrid Yaris Cross and 5.4L/100km and 125g/km for the turbocharged three-cylinder Stonic. The CX-3 is rated for Euro 5 emissions and in our combined testing achieved 8.2L/100km. It has a 48-litre fuel tank and can run on 91RON regular unleaded fuel.

What is the 2024 Mazda CX-3 Evolve like to drive?

Based on the current shape Mazda2 – like most rivals, which are based on other light cars – the CX-3 G20 Evolve drives well and feels quite nimble. Plus, being a Mazda, it offers a level of fun just not found in competitors – well, since the Ford Puma was culled from Australia – with communicative steering, a nice chassis and a well tuned ride that can a touch firm, but it’s still quite comfortable. It’s not quite as comfortable as the Yaris Cross, though that car isn’t quite as nice to drive as the CX-3.

The CX-3’s active safety kit has been gradually improved with each model year upgrade, and now it’s quite competitive in the light SUV segment. While it doesn’t feature adaptive cruise control in the Evolve grade, nor any form of adaptive lane guidance (unlike all Yaris Cross grades or the Stonic GT-Line), the lane departure warning works well and the systems are well tuned and don’t feel intrusive when activated.

How comfortable is the 2024 Mazda CX-3 Evolve?

If you’ve stepped into any Mazda product for the past 10 years, the 2024 Mazda CX-3 G20 Evolve will feel quite familiar, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yep, we’d like to see features like a larger touchscreen and a digital driver’s display, but the CX-3’s cabin looks good for its age. As we’ve seen with previous CX-3 models, the cabin quality is good – there aren’t many soft touch plastics, but the switchgear looks and feels more premium than its rivals. Plus, the white and tan synthetic leather and suede trim adds more of an expensive feel to the cabin, and adds some needed colour too.

It must be said, however, that the CX-3’s cabin is not the most practical in the segment. The door bins are reasonable, as is the glovebox and box underneath the centre armrest, though the tray underneath the climate control isn’t huge and the configurable cupholders aren’t too big either. The CX-3’s front seats are quite comfortable and are manually height adjustable, but its visibility isn’t great thanks to the small windows at the rear. The things we do for style, eh?

Centre of the CX-3’s dashboard is an 8.0-inch touchscreen with the company’s older ‘MZD Connect’ software, which debuted in 2014. The system is a touch slow nowadays and does feel a bit dated, but the screen quality has been improved a bit compared to the older CX-3 models and it’s well featured. Plus, the wireless Apple CarPlay is quite easy to connect – and, let’s be honest, most people will just use smartphone mirroring anyway – but it’s a shame that Android Auto is wired only, the USB-A ports are slow-to-charge and there is no wireless charger.

The rear seat of the CX-3 is, like the front cabin, not the car’s best attribute thanks to a general lack of space for taller adults – this six-foot adult’s legroom was non-existent sitting behind my driving position, for example, but headroom was alright. The amenities on offer in the rear seat are reasonable with bottle holders in the doors, a central armrest with cupholders and one (not two) map pockets, though no charging ports or air vents. For child seats, there are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether points.

The boot of the CX-3 measures 264-litres with the seats up and 1,174L with them folded, which is smaller than the 390L boot in the Yaris Cross and 332L boot in the Stonic GT-Line. The boot features some side storage and a dual-level boot floor to cover valuable items, but that’s it for clever features. Under the boot floor is a space-saver spare wheel.

How much does it cost to service the 2024 Mazda CX-3 Evolve?

Like the rest of the new Mazda range, the 2024 CX-3 G20 Evolve is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty with five years of roadside assistance. The CX-3’s service intervals are once-yearly/every 15,000km – whichever comes first – and five years/75,000km of servicing costs $2,200 ($440 per service).

Toyota also covers its new products with a five-year warranty (that’s extended up to 7 years for the drivetrain if the service schedule and plan has been adhered to 10 years for the hybrid system if an annual health check is taken at a dealership), while Kia’s warranty is a seven-year/unlimited km coverage with up to eight years of roadside assistance (Toyota has no roadside assistance at all). Five years/75,000km of servicing for the Yaris Cross costs $1,250 ($250 per service) and five years/50,000km of servicing costs $2,173 for the Stonic – it has shorter 10,000km service intervals in addition to its higher service costs.

Should I buy a 2024 Mazda CX-3 Evolve?

Of course, it’s not the newest or most efficient offering in the light SUV segment, there’s still life left in the 2024 Mazda CX-3 G20 Evolve thanks to Mazda’s efforts in keeping it updated since its release. The Evolve is attractively styled, well finished and well equipped in the segment, while its engine makes it feel peppy in the segment as well. Plus, while it’s more expensive than it used to be, it still represents reasonable value for a light SUV.

Counting against the CX-3 are a small back seat and boot, a dated infotainment system and that it’s not available with a hybrid drivetrain. But all things considered, it’s not difficult to see why the Mazda CX-3 continues to be popular in Australia and we think that if you’re after a light SUV, it should definitely be on your test drive list. Despite its age, updates have kept it fresh and the CX-3 still holds a lot of appeal.

About The Author

Jake is the veteran automotive journalist in the DiscoverAuto team having been in the industry since 2017. His first word was Volvo, he nitpicks every piece of practical design and has an unhealthy obsession for cars that feature rain-activated headlights.

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