Berwick Mazda is proud to announce the 2018 RACV Royal Auto winners for Australias best light car, small car and small SUV.
Winner: Mazda 2 Maxx
The tried and proven formula of the entry-level Mazda2 Maxx’s solid value in an easy-to-drive and live with package has given it the win this year.
Price in this category is very important, which goes some way to explaining why Mazda’s volume-selling Maxx is one of their cheaper models.
Built for the city, Mazda2’s interior is functional, the seats are comfortable, and most drivers will appreciate the simple, easy-to-use layout of the instrumentation and controls.
The Maxx gets a basic 1.5-litre SkyActiv engine but its power is delivered smoothly and efficiently by a six-speed automatic and the performance is still better than most others at this budget-focused end of the market.
While considering light cars, the Mazda2 does deliver one of the best driving experiences in the class.
The size of the cars in this category means buyers look for a higher level of safety to give more peace of mind and Mazda’s version of autonomous emergency braking is standard even on the base Maxx.
Winner: Mazda 3 Maxx Sport
Mazda fired a significant shot across the bows of the competition in July 2016 when it made a number of important safety features standard across the range. These include autonomous braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert – the latter being a particularly useful daily driving safety feature.
Some of the competition is still catching up on this aspect alone. However, this was just one of the reasons it nosed ahead of the pack in Australia’s Best Cars 2018. The Mazda3’s build and finish remains class-leading and, at $27,000 drive away, it’s as close to premium as you’ll get without paying premium small-car prices.
The driver’s relationship to the steering wheel, pedals and gearshift also remains best-in-class, making the Mazda3 very strong in the area of ergonomics.
Driving the Mazda3 Maxx Sport has also become a little more convenient and comfortable following an update in February 2018 when Mazda added rain-sensing wipers, automatic on/off headlights, dual-zone climate control and an electric parking brake.
The Mazda3 excelled with minimal fuel consumption, claiming 5.8L/100km. It’s important to note the Mazda3 still only requires 91 RON fuel, unlike some of its competitors that require the significantly more expensive 95 RON premium fuel and consume it at the same rate.
Winner: Mazda CX-3 Maxx
Australia’s SUV obsession has exploded in recent times and manufacturers are creating niches to cash in wherever they can.
The CX-3 is the undisputed king in this category, notching up multiple wins and a previous judges’ choice award since it was released to the market, and is the vehicle by which others in this category are benchmarked.
The CX-3’s 2.0-litre has 109kW and 192Nm, and is coupled to a slick-shifting six-speed auto in a combination that outshines. Add to that the best fuel economy and the CX-3 starts to look unstoppable.
Sharp pricing allows a smarter and more premium feel for the CX-3.
The CX-3 range is fitted with forward and reverse Smart City Brake Support. Additionally, Maxx grade and above get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-safety alert.
Inside, the CX-3 gets a modern and classy finish. Judges thought the command control for the infotainment system was first rate and easy to use, a much higher standard than you might expect from what is essentially a light vehicle.