2021 Mazda CX-3

MSRP range: $20,790 - $22,190
Edmunds suggests you pay$20,011

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2021 Mazda CX-3 Review

  • Attractive and comfortable interior
  • Engaging driving experience
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Good selection of driver aids and active safety features
  • Below-average cargo space
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Suspension tuning could be too firm for some
  • Forward collision warning system can now detect pedestrians at night
  • Part of the first CX-3 generation introduced for 2016

Most automakers sell a single model in each SUV category these days. But do some research on Mazda and you'll find it sells a pair of extra-small SUVs: the CX-3 and the CX-30. So what's the difference? Well, both models exhibit the brand's penchant for sleek styling, exciting driving dynamics and upscale interior design. But ever since Mazda introduced the CX-30 last year, the CX-3 has taken more of a supporting role.

As the new star, the CX-30 has a more modern and high-tech interior as well as a more diverse trim lineup. As it stands, the 2021 CX-3 is only available in a single, albeit well-equipped, trim level. The only option — besides color choice — is all-wheel drive. We still like the CX-3. It's less expensive and more generously equipped than the base CX-30. But if you want a more up-to-date vehicle, the CX-30 is the way to go.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
Mazda has gone to great lengths to give the CX-3 a premium look and feel that's beyond the norm. It has first-rate steering, praiseworthy handling and ride quality, and a cabin that looks grown-up. Though the CX-3 is shy on cargo and rear-seat space, its style and value might just make up for that.
Power is more than adequate for typical city driving, and the CX-3 has no issues merging with highway traffic. But once up to speed, passing on the highway, or even maintaining speed on longer uphill grades, requires near maximum throttle.

Despite the lack of power, the CX-3 remains one of the better SUVs to drive in the class. The CX-3's responsive steering makes it easy to guide through fast, flowing turns. But the tires howl even at very modest cornering speeds, putting a damper on how much fun you can have on a twisty road.
The Mazda distinguishes itself in the class with a firm but compliant suspension. Body control is excellent, and everything from speed bumps to high-speed highway dips are dispatched beautifully. Likewise, broken pavement doesn't really faze the Mazda.

Most people will find the front seats of the CX-3 agreeable and comfortable, though the seats come up a bit short on thigh and back support for larger-framed folks. Imperfect roads introduce a fair amount of road noise into the cabin. But that pales next to the noise the engine makes under hard acceleration.
A clean and minimalistic approach puts all controls within the driver's reach. The center display has touchscreen ability, and it's also controllable by an easy-to-use knob near the shifter. The screen thankfully doesn't wash out in sunlight. Visibility is generous when you're looking forward thanks to a low hood and thin roof pillars. Rear visibility is adequate.

Front passengers enjoy a relatively spacious interior with ample shoulder and legroom as well as room around the driver's hands. Adults seated in the rear have fairly tight legroom, especially if the front passengers are tall. But children should have enough room back there.
The CX-3 is at or near the top of the class with its intuitive and flexible infotainment interface, along with driver assistance niceties such as traffic-adaptive cruise control. There's no native navigation system, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment. We prefer these alternatives to the navigation systems in other Mazdas anyway — they offer better integration with your phone and more natural voice control.
Cargo space behind the rear seats is a bit on the tight side, even for this class of vehicle. That said, folding the rear seats from the cargo area is easy to do since the latch on the seatback is within arm's length. The rear seats don't fold completely flat but still go quite low.

Front passengers get bins in the center console that can double as cupholders, but not as very good ones — cans and bottles rattle about constantly. There's a tray for cellphone storage, but it's frustratingly small for the latest phones.

As for child duty, the CX-3's rear car seat anchors are visible and easy to access. You'll need to slide the front seats forward a bit to fit a rear-facing safety seat, but access through the rear doors is good for installation and removal.
The EPA estimates the front-wheel-drive CX-3 will get 31 mpg in combined city/highway driving, which is on par with competitors from Honda and Hyundai. With all-wheel drive, that number drops to 29 mpg. On our 115-mile mixed driving evaluation route, our front-wheel-drive CX-3 test vehicle returned 31 mpg.
Most small crossovers echo their subcompact car roots with swaths of hard plastic and uninspired styling. But Mazda has decided that small vehicles don't have to look or feel inexpensive. It's easily the most premium-feeling vehicle in the class. Overall, the CX-3 easily justifies its cost.
We can't imagine Mazda making anything that's not fun to drive. But the meek tires don't let you get the most out of the balanced chassis. And though the CX-3 is very satisfying at low to moderate speeds, the lack of power and noisy engine squash any desire for enthusiastic driving.

Both inside and out, the styling of the CX-3 is sophisticated and upmarket and without a doubt raises the bar for this class. But where other Mazdas tug at your enthusiast heartstrings, the CX-3 makes a much stronger case as a stylish, fun-to-drive urban runabout.

Which CX-3 does Edmunds recommend?

The CX-3's nonexistent options list makes it pretty easy to pick which one you want off a dealer lot. The only choices to make are exterior paint selection and whether you'd like all-wheel drive.

Mazda CX-3 models

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact SUV sold in a single Sport trim level with your choice of front- or all-wheel drive. It is driven by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (148 horsepower, 146 lb-ft of torque) paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features include:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Automatic wipers
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Automatic climate control
  • Height-adjustable driver's seat
  • 7-inch touchscreen with dial controller
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • Forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection (warns you of an impending collision with a vehicle or pedestrian and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
  • Lane departure warning (alerts you if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane)
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Mazda and the car in front)
Latest Mazda News from Edmunds
Top Picks for Special Finance Rates and Cash Offers for May 2021

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2021 Mazda CX-3.

Average user rating: 5.0 stars
1 total reviews
5 star reviews: 100%
4 star reviews: 0%
3 star reviews: 0%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 0%

Trending topics in reviews

    Most helpful consumer reviews

    5/5 stars, Zoom Zoom
    Bleau-Smith Alma,
    Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
    It is easy to handle and in to drive. I had one in 2016 and bought a Mazda 3 and went back to. CX3. They are full of safety features without having to pay a lot of money. And right now Mazda has some very good financing programs

    Features & Specs

    Base MSRP
    MPG & Fuel
    29 City / 34 Hwy / 31 Combined
    Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.7 gal. capacity
    5 seats
    Type: front wheel drive
    Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
    Inline 4 cylinder
    Horsepower: 148 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 146 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm
    Basic Warranty
    3 yr./ 36000 mi.
    Length: 168.3 in. / Height: 60.7 in. / Width: 69.6 in.
    Curb Weight: 2851 lbs.
    Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 17.8 cu.ft.
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    Build Your CX-3
    At a Glance:
    • 1 Trims
    • $20,790starting MSRP


    Our experts’ favorite CX-3 safety features:

    Blind-Spot Monitoring
    Warns if a vehicle is lurking in your blind spot and beeps if you signal a lane change in that direction.
    Smart Brake Support
    Warns if a front collision is imminent and applies the brakes automatically if the driver does not respond in time.
    Lane Departure Warning
    Alerts the driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane without signaling.

    NHTSA Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars

    The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

    Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
    Side Crash RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Side Barrier RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
    Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover13.8%

    IIHS Rating

    The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.

    Side Impact Test
    Roof Strength Test
    Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
    Moderate Overlap Front Test

    Mazda CX-3 vs. the competition

    2021 Mazda CX-3

    2021 Mazda CX-3

    2021 Mazda CX-30

    2021 Mazda CX-30

    Mazda CX-3 vs. Mazda CX-30

    The Mazda CX-30 effectively replaced the CX-3 when it came out for 2020. The subcompact CX-30's entry-level trim is a little more expensive than the CX-3, and the two share a similar level of content. The true differences manifest at the CX-30's higher trim levels, which offer features you can't get on the CX-3, such as heated seats and leather upholstery. There's even a peppy turbocharged engine on the options list. If you have the extra budget, the CX-30 is the way to go.

    Compare Mazda CX-3 & Mazda CX-30 features 

    Mazda CX-3 vs. Honda HR-V

    The HR-V offers the one thing the CX-3 doesn't: a roomy, passenger-friendly interior. The cabin of the HR-V is spacious enough that four adults can fit without squeezing. A range of rear seat configurations make for excellent storage space too. The choice really comes down to whether you like the style and excellent handling of the CX-3 more than the HR-V's practicality.

    Compare Mazda CX-3 & Honda HR-V features 

    Mazda CX-3 vs. Toyota CH-R

    One of the most evocative vehicles in the small SUV segment is the Toyota C-HR. The C-HR lives and dies by its aggressively styled exterior, which forces a compromise on cargo space and interior room. These downsides, along with an anemic engine and front-wheel-drive-only powertrain, keep it from fully rivaling the CX-3.

    Compare Mazda CX-3 & Toyota CH-R features 


    Is the Mazda CX-3 a good car?

    The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 CX-3 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.7 out of 10. You probably care about Mazda CX-3 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the CX-3 gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg to 31 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the CX-3 has 17.8 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Mazda CX-3. Learn more

    What's new in the 2021 Mazda CX-3?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Mazda CX-3:

    • Forward collision warning system can now detect pedestrians at night
    • Part of the first CX-3 generation introduced for 2016
    Learn more

    Is the Mazda CX-3 reliable?

    To determine whether the Mazda CX-3 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the CX-3. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the CX-3's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

    Is the 2021 Mazda CX-3 a good car?

    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Mazda CX-3 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2021 CX-3 and gave it a 7.7 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 CX-3 is a good car for you. Learn more

    How much should I pay for a 2021 Mazda CX-3?

    The least-expensive 2021 Mazda CX-3 is the 2021 Mazda CX-3 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $20,790.

    Other versions include:

    • Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A) which starts at $22,190
    • Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) which starts at $20,790
    Learn more

    What are the different models of Mazda CX-3?

    If you're interested in the Mazda CX-3, the next question is, which CX-3 model is right for you? CX-3 variants include Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), and Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A). For a full list of CX-3 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 2021 Mazda CX-3

    2021 Mazda CX-3 Overview

    The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is offered in the following submodels: CX-3 SUV. Available styles include Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), and Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A).

    What do people think of the 2021 Mazda CX-3?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Mazda CX-3 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2021 CX-3 5.0 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2021 CX-3.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Mazda CX-3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 CX-3 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our Review Process

    This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

    We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

    What's a good price for a New 2021 Mazda CX-3?

    2021 Mazda CX-3 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

    The 2021 Mazda CX-3 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $22,255. The average price paid for a new 2021 Mazda CX-3 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) is trending $2,244 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $2,244 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $20,011.

    The average savings for the 2021 Mazda CX-3 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) is 10.1% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 14 2021 Mazda CX-3 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburn area.

    Which 2021 Mazda CX-3s are available in my area?

    Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2021 Mazda CX-3 for sale near. There are currently 14 new 2021 CX-3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $21,965 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2021 Mazda CX-3. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $3,000 on a used or CPO 2021 CX-3 available from a dealership near you.

    Can't find a new 2021 Mazda CX-3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Mazda for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $11,502.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 2021 Mazda CX-3?

    Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

    Check out Mazda lease specials