Mazda CX-3 Maxx – Australia's Best Small 2WD SUV under $35,000
It’s back-to-back wins for CX-3 which, when launched in 2015, introduced a new concept to city-centric SUVs: brilliant build and finish quality in an affordable and great-driving small vehicle, attributes that have remained unchallenged.
As with other Mazdas, considerable effort has been made to optimise CX-3’s ergonomics. The toggle on the centre console is where most people’s hands fall, and it operates functions displayed on the screen, which has been placed high on the dash so the driver’s eyes don’t have to stray far from the road.
Although it’s a sprightly performer, CX-3’s fuel consumption doesn’t come back to bite you, using only 6.1L/100km. That puts it near the top of the category.
CX-3 is comfortably the best-handling baby SUV in this year’s awards. Its steering is pleasingly accurate, and the 2.0-litre engine and an intuitive six-speed auto combine to give CX-3 a nimbleness unrivalled in the category.
CX-3 is light even among this company, weighing in at only 1226 kilograms. This translates into one of its few downsides, as its overall size means it has significantly less space than the other two finalists.