Mazda CX-3 Akari petrol FWD 2023 Review

CX-3 Akari – In the world of smaller urban style SUVs there are few cars more popular than the Mazda CX-3. I drove the Akari model last week and as an urban based SUV it works extremely well.

Mazda CX-3 Akari front front quarter 1 The CX-3 range is priced from a little under $27,000 dollars through to around $38,600 dollars plus the usual costs for the top spec Akari.

It was updated in June this year with a BOSE premium audio system, sliding glass sunroof, adaptive LED headlights and a 360-degree camera.

Powered by a 2.0 litre petrol engine that drives the front wheels through a 6 speed automatic transmission.  It drives nicely around town and there is enough power for longer drives as well.  Fuel economy is pretty good as well

The CX-3 Akari has a premium feel inside with heated leather front seats, climate-controlled air conditioning and a thick rimmed steering wheel.

Rear seats are tight as you would expect in a smaller SUV and boot space is enough for a couple of larger bags.

There is wireless Apple CarPlay but the control dial means that the use is more complicated than it needs to be.

Overall, the Mazda CX-3 Akari is a premium urban style SUV that is worth a test drive

This is a Motoring Minute

I’m Brianna Fraser


Mazda CX-3 Akari front bonnet 1

Mazda CX-3 Model Updates

Mazda’s best-selling light SUV updated its range in September to broaden its appeal. With a comprehensive update that introduces new safety features, equipment enhancements and signature Mazda technology to the entire CX-3 model range.

 Model range

For 2023, the line-up will comprise of the entry-level Sport, Pure, Evolve, Touring SP and range-leading Akari grades. Pricing ranges from $26,800 for the Sport to $38,620 for the flagship Akari, and all grades gain a significant uplift in equipment in addition to their already ample specification lists.

The latest update also offers an exclusively front-drive focused line-up, all powered by the tractable four-cylinder Skyactiv-G (G20) petrol engine and paired with Mazda’s own Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission.

CX-3 Sport

Replacing Neo Sport trim, the new Sport specification adds a generous array of standard equipment over and above its forebear, including 16-inch alloy wheels (previously steel wheels), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). Wireless Apple Carplay® is also added as standard across the range, along with wired Android™ Auto, auto-folding power mirrors and remote window control.

CX-3 Pure

Building on Sport is the CX-3 Pure, which replaces Maxx Sport and now offers highlights such as LED lights front and rear with Daytime Running Lights and High Beam Control (HBC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Driver Attention Alert (DAA) and a crisply presented heads-up display (HUD), enhancing safety and in-cabin comfort.

 CX-3 Evolve

The generously equipped Evolve grade (superseding Maxx Sport LE) represents the mid-point of the model range, and now adds 18-inch machined alloy wheels (previously 16 inches) as well as front parking sensors. Premium white leatherette and tan suede upholstery adds unique character to the Evolve’s interior.

CX-3 Touring SP

The CX-3 Touring SP (previously sTouring) introduces sportier styling with 18-inch black machined alloy wheels, a black painted roof and black leather and Grand Luxe suede interior with blue highlights. A black chrome signature wing and gloss black front grille are also new for 2023.

Inside the Touring SP, front seats with two-position memory function (driver), 10-way power adjustment (driver) and heating function are now fitted, while Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go function is added to the existing Advanced keyless entry and Traffic Sign Recognition features.

Mazda CX-3 Akari

At the very top of the range is the Mazda CX-3 Akari, which gains further luxury with immersive Bose ® premium audio featuring seven speakers and 18-inch black machined alloy wheels for 2023, in addition to the power sliding glass sunroof, 360-degree camera and adaptive LED headlights.

An attractive new Aero Grey paint hue also joins six other colours in a palette that can be specified regardless of grade, including Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Machine Grey Metallic, Polymetal Grey Metallic, Platinum Quartz Metallic, Jet Black Mica and Snowflake White Pearl Mica.

Aero Grey looks particularly striking when paired with the sleek contrasting black roof finish on CX-3 Touring SP models. Alternatively, Touring SP is available in Platinum Quartz Metallic, Polymetal Grey Metallic or Soul Red Crystal Metallic – all in conjunction with the black roof.

Commenting on the latest round of updates, Vinesh Bhindi, Managing Director Mazda Australia said: “As the entry point into the Mazda SUV range, the CX-3 has a hugely important role to play. At this price point, buyers expect understated styling, extensive safety features, high specification and cutting-edge connectivity, which is exactly what our latest update delivers on.”

Mazda CX-3 Akari drivers instrument 2

2023 Mazda CX-3 model range pricing:

CX-3 Model GradeEngineDrivetrainMLP


G20 Sport


Skyactiv-G 2.0L PetrolFWD$26,800
G20 Pure


Skyactiv-G 2.0L PetrolFWD$29,300
G20 Evolve


Skyactiv-G 2.0L PetrolFWD$31,050
G20 Touring SP


Skyactiv-G 2.0L PetrolFWD$34,300
G20 Akari


Skyactiv-G 2.0L PetrolFWD$38,620

Mazda CX-3 Akari central screen 1

More Mazda CX-3 Akari thoughts

What is good?

  • Still stylish
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Good balance for urban SUV

What is not so good?

Also look at.

Smaller SUVs for the urban environment are plentiful.

Buyers could look at: Citroen C4, Toyota Yaris Cross, Nissan Juke, Kia Stonic, Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur, VW T-Roc.

Mazda CX-3 Akari profile

Mazda CX-3 Akari final thoughts

Overall, I’m happy with the Mazda CX-3 Akari.

It gets the balance between size, style, and performance about right.

It’s an ideal size for an urban SUV.

However, in some areas it shows it’s aged a bit. Even though there is wireless Apple CarPlay, the dial controls for the central screen means that some functions are more complicate than they could be with a touch screen.

The CX-3 is a pleasure and easy to drive though.

Mazda CX-3 Akari engine

Mazda CX-3


Mazda CX-3 Akari

Model Price$38,620 MLP*
Engine2.0L 4 Cyl Petrol
Drivetrain6 Sp SKYACTIV FWD
Battery Capacity / typeN/A
Power110Kw @ 6,000 rpm
Torque195Nm @ 2,800 rpm
Fuel ADR6.3L/100km Euro 5
Fuel on Test7.2 L/100k
Fuel capacity48L
Range (WLTP) / efficiency873km Max
Realistic range650km on test
Fast Charge / Home (240V)N/A
CO2 Emissions146g/km
0-100kmh/Top SpeedN/A
Servicing12 Mth / 15,000km – Capped
Warranty5yr/ Unlimited km
Roadside Assist5Yr. conditional roadside assist

*MLP Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options. RDAP means Recommended Drive Away Price (without options but including all other charges)

Mazda CX-3 Akari Interior front

Overall Rating    


Behind the Wheel8
Ride and Handling8
Fit for Purpose8
Style / appeal8
Value for Money8

Mazda CX-3 Akari front boot 1


 Mazda CX-3

Overall Length4275mm
Wheels18 X 7.0 Alloy
Tyres215/50 R18
Max ground clearanceUp to 160mm
Wading DepthN/A
Departure angleN/A
Turning Circle KTK10.6m
Boot Capacity Min264L
Boot capacity Max1174L
Battery WeightN/A
Kerb Weight1306kg
Payload (kg)434kg
GVM (kg)1740kg
Towing Capacity1,200kg
Tow Ball rating50kg

Mazda CX-3 Akari rear quarter 1

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Overall Rating
  • 7.9/10
    Rating - 7.9/10


Mazda CX-3 Akari final thoughts

Overall, I’m happy with the Mazda CX-3 Akari.

It gets the balance between size, style, and performance about right.

It’s an ideal size for an urban SUV.

However, in some areas it shows it’s aged a bit. Even though there is wireless Apple CarPlay, the dial controls for the central screen means that some functions are more complicate than they could be with a touch screen.

The CX-3 is a pleasure and easy to drive though.

About Rob Fraser 2486 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.