With their raised ride heights, available all-wheel drive and versatile natures, subcompact crossover SUVs provide many of the advantages that people expect from a bigger crossover SUV. But they also do it without unnecessary added size and expense. And in this "small" but growing segment, the Mazda CX-3 stands out as a particularly enjoyable example.
Specifically, the Mazda CX-3 maintains the company's fun-to-drive ethos. It's not especially powerful, but this Mazda's brisk acceleration, crisp handling and responsive powertrain make it entertaining to drive, even if you're simply commuting to work. Other perks include a quiet ride at highway speeds, excellent fuel economy, comfortable front seats and solid build quality. The few downsides to the diminutive crossover are somewhat expected: Rear passenger room and cargo capacity are both meager compared to what you'll find in a few rivals.
Current Mazda CX-3
Three trim levels are offered for the CX-3: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Standard features on the Sport include air-conditioning, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and a six-speaker audio system. The Touring counts keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring and heated front seats among its perks, while the Grand Touring trim's highlights include a sunroof, a navigation system and an upgraded audio system. Advanced safety features, such as forward collision mitigation, are available only on the Grand Touring trim.
The sole engine offered on the Mazda CX-3 is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder with 146 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque, and it comes matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, and all-wheel drive is optional on all trim levels. Fuel economy is impressive, with the CX-3 rating around 30 mpg in mixed driving.
In reviews, the Mazda CX-3 has impressed us with its premium feel. It's Mazda's smallest and most affordable crossover, but there is no feeling of cut corners. The interior boasts quality materials and solid build quality, along with comfortable front seating. (The rear is a bit cramped for adults.) The latest technology is available, too; the top trim offers adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system (with automatic braking) among its options. Underway, the CX-3 feels poised and light on its tires thanks to its quick and precise steering, well-tuned chassis and on-point powertrain.
As subcompact crossover SUVs go, the CX-3 is certainly one of our favorites.
Used Mazda CX-3 Models
The Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover debuted for 2016. Since then, there have been no major changes.
Read the most recent 2018 Mazda CX-3 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mazda CX-3 page.