Although technically the CX-3 is the smallest SUV Mazda makes, it shares space with the CX-30, which is slightly larger and more expensive. The CX-3 isn’t completely obsolete due to its close proximity to the CX-30. Its spacious cabin, easy-to-drive nature and cheeky exterior styling keep it ahead of other small crossovers. Although the CX-3 is slightly taller than the Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback, it still feels car-like. Its eager chassis also comes alive on twisty roads. The CX-3’s 146-hp four cylinder engine is the driving force, but it’s not very refined and all-wheel drives are more expensive. Some buyers may be turned off by the limited cargo and passenger space. However, those people could easily choose to upgrade to the larger, more spacious CX-30 without having to spend more.
What’s new for 2021?
Mazda has not made any changes to its smallest SUV in 2021. The CX-3 will enter the new model year exactly the same as 2020. Mazda announced that the CX-3 will cease production in 2021.
Pricing and Which One To Buy
It is simple to choose a CX-3 because its range was reduced to one trim level last year–Sport. The most prominent standard features are a touchscreen of 7.0 inches, automatic climate control and automated emergency brakes, blind spot monitoring, head-up display, and warning for lane departure. For an additional $1400, those who desire all-weather capability can add all-wheel drive to any CX-3. The upgrade reduces the CX-3’s highway EPA-rated fuel economy from 34 to 32 mpg.
Transmission, Engine, and Performance
Under the CX-3’s long nose is a 146-hp four cylinder engine. Although it’s not the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the segment, the Kia Soul Exclaim’s turbo-powered 1.6-liter turbo is the winner. However, our all-wheel drive test vehicle was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 8.1 seconds. Although the engine sounds sloppy at high speeds it adds an air of raciness that rivals don’t have. The Mazda CX-3 is a sporty offering that clings to Mazda’s sporting values and is undoubtedly the most athletic in its class. The CX-3’s fun-to drive character is made up of many elements. It has a lively chassis and well-controlled body roll. And it has a masterful suspension tuning that balances firm and soft. All of this adds up into a predictable driving experience that is easy to use and enhances control.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
The CX-3 is a great choice if fuel efficiency is your priority. Front-wheel drive models are rated at 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway by the EPA. All-wheel drive models have ratings of 27 mpg and 32 mpg respectively. The all-wheel-drive vehicle we tested returned 30 mpg. This is less than its EPA highway rating, but it’s comparable to most of its competitors.
Interior, Comfort, & Cargo
The CX-3’s impressively built cabin feels luxurious. It is also easy to get in and out of the car for a drive thanks to its simple driving position and comfortable seating. The CX-3’s rear-passenger space is small, making it less practical as a people-hauler. The cabin is a delight for those who love simplicity. Mazda chose textured plastics, soft-leather, and bright chrome detailing. Three large rotary knobs control the climate system. The CX-3’s cargo space is just as limited as its passenger space. It was at the bottom of both storage tests. We were able to fit three carry-on suitcases behind its back seat. It also had room for 12 when the rear seats were folded. The Mazda 3 hatchback, which is similar in size, accommodated five bags behind the back seat and fifteen with the seat folded.
Infotainment & Connectivity
The CX-3s are equipped with a 7.0 inch touchscreen infotainment system that is perched on the dashboard. The center console houses a rotary-knob controller that prevents screen smudging. It also eliminates the need to reach forward while driving to operate the system. The top of the instrument panel has a head-up display that displays information such as speed and navigation.