Mazda CX-3 Akari Oz 03

We’re set to get the Mazda CX-3 in July; reportedly, the Honda HR-V competitor will only be available in a single variant form, one that’s “very highly specced” – the CBU-from-Japan offering will be a front-wheel drive 2.0 SkyActiv-G automatic with six airbags and Mazda’s head-up display as standard, among other things.

Ahead of its arrival here, the five-seat SUV has arrived in Australia, where it goes on sale in a choice of four variant grades, two engine and two transmission types as well as in front-wheel and AWD configurations.

Engine choices for that market are the 1.5 litre SkyActiv-D diesel (103 hp at 4,000 rpm and 270 Nm at 1,600-2,500 rpm) and 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G petrol (146 hp at 6,000 rpm and 192 Nm at 2,800 rpm), and these are paired with either a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic or SkyActiv-MT six-speed manual transmission.

Mazda CX-3 Akari Oz 09

The Australian model range starts with the entry-level CX-3 Neo, followed by the CX-3 Maxx, CX-3 sTouring before levelling out with the range-topping CX-3 Akari. Pricing starts from AUD$19,990 (RM56,400) for the Neo manual right up to AUD$37,690 (RM106,350) for the Akari diesel.

The 2.0 petrol is available in front-wheel drive guise with both transmissions, and in AWD, in automatic-only form with the three higher model grades. No entry-level Neo variant for the oil burner, which in FWD is only available in Maxx trim and in AWD, in sTouring and Akari variants. All diesel models are automatic transmission-only.

Plenty in the way of kit, so it’ll be interesting to see just where our Malaysian-spec vehicle will sit in the order of things when it finally arrives (it should have most of the sTouring kit).

Save on the Neo, which is really entry-level as its tag suggests, there’s MZD Connect and its seven-inch touchscreen, with navigation, Internet radio integration, a reverse camera and six speakers (four for the Maxx) in the mix. All four grades feature cruise control, six airbags, dynamic stability control, traction contol push-button engine start, hill launch assist and rear parking sensors.

Higher-level models (the sTouring and Akari) get keyless entry, LED headlamps, tail lights, foglamps and DRLs, auto headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, an Active Driving Display and automatic air conditioning. The two top models ride on 18-inch wheels (215/50 tyres), while the Neo and Maxx variants go with 16-inchers and 215/60 rubbers.

The Akari gets the bells and whistles – it has a powered sunroof, high beam control and lane departure warning, which the other models in the range don’t have. There’s also advanced blind spot monitoring, smart city brake support and rear cross traffic alert, which are available as cost-options for the Maxx and sTouring. The Akari can also be specified with a pure white leather/black suede interior.

Mazda CX-3 Akari

Mazda CX-3 sTouring

Mazda CX-3 Maxx