The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

The Auto Channel 2016 Mazda CX-3 Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By John Heilig
Senior Editor Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


MODEL: 2016 Mazda CX-3
ENGINE: 2.0-liter I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 146 hp @ 6,000 rpm/146 lb.-ft. @ 2,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 101.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 168.3 x 68.1 x 69.6 in.
TIRES: P215/60R16
CARGO: 10.1/42.3 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28.7 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 11.9 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 2,950 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Rogue
STICKER: $26,150 (includes $850 delivery, $2,090 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Mazda CX-3 is small. There’s essentially no difference between it and the Mazda3, except the 3 has a bigger engine and footprint. The CX-3 is classified as a compact car/crossover, while the 3 is classified as a mid-size.

After more than 30 years in this business, I must confess to few surprises or disappointments. The Mazda CX-3 qualifies on both points. For example, in general, the Mazda CX- series indicates an SUV, with the larger numbers – 5 and 9 – being a clue to size. So expected the CX-3 to be small, but not that small. And it isn’t an SUV (Mazda calls it a crossover), it’s a compact car. Actually, the Mazda3 I tested recently is more of an SUV since it’s a 5-door hatchback.

Yet, the CX-3 is good. The 2.0-liter four is buzzy and works hard. It’s rated at 146 horsepower, which is enough to propel the 2,950-pound car to illegal speeds. In addition, the 6-speed automatic works well. I enjoyed manually shifting using the shifter rather than paddles.

Because of its size, the CX-3 is maneuverable, especially in parking lots. Rear cross traffic is especially useful, and handy because the CX-3 is small and it’s hard to see over the vehicle next door and you can’t see what may be coming, often at excessive parking lot speeds.

Front seats are comfortable and offer good side support. The center arm rest between the front seats is small (no console hidden underneath) and must be raised if you have anything with any kind of height in the two cupholders.

There is a useful cubby at the base of the center stack that contains two USB connections, an sD slot and a 12-volt outlet.

I’m a fan of simple, so I liked the three-knob HVAC system that worked well, giving us the right temperature at the right location at the right fan speed.

A large speedometer dominates the center of the instrument panel. A small, almost useless tachometer with an inset showing which gear you are in. To the right is a configurable section with fuel level, outside temperature and fuel economy. A large infotainment screen is in the center of the dash. You can choose among the options with a controller knob located on the center console. Audio on/off and volume is a small, knob to the right of the controller.

The Mazda CX-3 has a decent cargo area for its size, plus a small flat area under the floor. The cargo area is lighted, and there are two tie-downs for securing cargo. The rear seats fold flat to increase the cargo carrying capability considerably.

Driving the Mazda CX-3 so soon after driving the Mazda3 did a disservice to the CX-3. The CX-3 is considerably smaller than the 3, and it’s noticeable in the difference in amenities and performance. However, the 3 we tested is also $4,000 more than the price of the CX-3, so….

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

The Most In-Depth Mazda Vehicle Shopper's Research - Anywhere!