Mazda CX-3 Research

The Car Connection Mazda CX-3 Overview

Rankings

The Mazda CX-3 is a compact crossover SUV that might be the most car-like of all the vehicles now occupying that niche. It deftly blends hatchback, wagon, economy-car and, yes, crossover traits, though in utility it lags, due to a small cargo area and light-duty, all-weather all-wheel drive. It went on sale in 2015.

With the CX-3, Mazda has a subcompact crossover to complete its line with the larger CX-5 and CX-9 crossovers. Rivals include vehicles such as the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, and the Chevrolet Trax.

For 2018, Mazda added low-speed automatic emergency braking to all CX-3 trim levels, an important safety feature that's becoming commonplace among small cars.

MORE: Read our 2018 Mazda CX-3 review

The CX-3 is on a mission to deliver Mazda road manners and styling in a package that's as safe and roomy as other small crossover SUVs.

The CX-3 wears a shape that's much more interesting than that of the bigger CX-5. It's more heavily sculpted, with narrow headlamps linked to the grille by slim strips of brightwork. The arced shoulder lines meet between the doors in a complex intersection of surfaces, and the rearmost pillar is black, giving the CX-3 the appearance of a floating roofline. From the back, the car has an Italian flavor, evoking some recent Alfa Romeo shapes. The cabin is adorned sparsely, with just a dash-mounted screen and round climate controls and vents breaking up the expanse.

The CX-3 gets its power from Mazda's newest 2.0-liter inline-4. Output is rated at 146 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission available in the CX-3, and the little crossover returns solid fuel-economy numbers, with the front-drive version seeing 29 mpg city, 35 highway, 31 combined, according to the EPA. The all-wheel-drive version is rated at 27/32/29 mpg.

All-wheel drive with active torque control is available on the otherwise front-drive CX-3. In either configuration, the crossover has good handling from its combination of electric power steering and front-strut and rear-torsion-bar suspension. Underlying those basics is a strong body structure with lots of high-strength steel for less flex, more precise control, and low weight.

The CX-3 is short in overall length (168.3 inches) and wheelbase (101.2 inches). It's very close to the dimensions of the Honda HR-V, but while Honda's placed a best-in-class marker on interior space, Mazda's cockpit isn't as roomy. Drivers will enjoy the CX-3's high driving position and even higher seating position for the people riding on the CX-3's three-person rear bench, while rear-seat leg room and cargo room are on the lean side.

The IIHS called the CX-3 a Top Safety Pick+ and federal testers agreed with a five-star overall score.

Like the new Mazda 3, 6, MX-5, and CX-5, the CX-3 offers the Mazda Connect infotainment system, which includes a 7.0-inch center display, a knob-type controller, smartphone connectivity for phone and audio steaming, and an available head-up display for the driver. Other features include 18-inch wheels and leather and sueded upholstery, and of course the optional all-wheel-drive system.

The CX-3 didn't change much for 2017, its second year on sale. Bigger, 18-inch wheels are now standard on mid-grade Touring models and Mazda reduced the price of its active safety feature suite—however it's still only available on top Grand Touring models.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
November 19, 2015
2016 Mazda CX-3 AWD 4-Door Touring

was great till a small pebble got into my raditor and put the car on the side of the road.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
LOved it until a small and i mean very small pebble flew into the raditor and the car is still in the shop- not a scratch on the vehicle, this so called pebble has put the car at around a 2,000.00 price tag- + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
November 3, 2015
For 2016 Mazda CX-3

Mazda CX-3 - elegant, stylish and a little bit cheeky!

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I imagine that the 2016 Mazda CX-3 will be as perfect in every way as my 2015 model. Nigel, as mine is lovingly called, is my first new car and my first Mazda. Bearing in mind that I will be retiring in a few... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection
6.5
Expert Rating
Most Recent Rating
Ready to connect with local dealers?
Get Your Price
Stay up-to-date
Get updates about this model emailed to you.
  • New car reviews for this model by our editors
  • News including price changes, new models, or recall info
  • New incentives and rebates that are being offered for this vehicle