With its 2.0-litre petrol engine, the Mazda CX-3 isn’t especially quick. It took 15.2 seconds to pull the trailer from 30-60mph, almost a second slower than the Suzuki Vitara S. That’s not a huge difference, but the Mazda needed noticeably more revs than the Suzuki to build speed with any urgency.
But relatively steady performance is easy to live with when a car is as stable as the CX-3. At 60mph it was planted and in control, and at 70mph it was just as secure. The Mazda bullied the trailer in the lane-change test, completing the manoeuvre at increasing speeds without complaint.
It’s the CX-3’s practicality which lets it down, both as a car to live with everyday and when towing. There’s not a lot of space in the back seats and the upwards slope of the windowline makes for a claustrophobic feel. Boot space is very limited, too, so you’ll need to travel light.
Our practicality testers also found the electrics awkward to access; a small point, maybe, but it won’t seem so small if you are rushing to hitch up in the pouring rain.
In day-to-day driving, the CX-3 is great fun on a twisting road. But the ride is on the firm side, especially at low speeds.
From the driver’s seat – with or without a caravan behind it – the CX-3 is impressive. But it’s not as practical as the Suzuki Vitara.