6-speed automatic with console shifter and steering-mounted paddles with sport and manual modes
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
Numberswise the CX-3 is one of the quicker cars in the class, although the engine never feels all that eager. It's not thrashy at high rpm, but it is pretty loud and never sounds great. When you first hit the gas pedal from a stop there is about a half-second delay, then it gets off the line well but not in an abrupt fashion. Upshifts are quick, and seemed a bit quicker with Sport mode engaged. It always upshifts at 6,500 rpm regardless of gear or mode. We tried manual shifting, too, and matched the best Drive mode time. With manual shifting you need to start the 1-2 upshift at about 6,000 rpm, though, because the revs will still rise after the shift and you need to stay out of the 6,500-rpm limiter. Power-braking (overlapping throttle and brake prior to launch to bring the revs up) improved times by about three-tenths, and it would even get a slight amount of front wheelspin. Manual shifting is via steering wheel paddles or the console lever (push forward for downshifts). It blips the throttle on downshifts and holds gears to a 6,500-rpm limiter in manual mode.
A reasonably good braking performance. The brake pedal was medium-firm with a short travel, which helped give the whole stopping experience more confidence. Nosedive was well-controlled and the CX-3 tracked perfectly straight every time. It exhibited considerably more ABS noise than most cars. You didn't feel the pulsing through the pedal but you could hear all the electronic actions going on to keep the tires from locking up. The first stop was the shortest at 121 feet, with the fourth stop the longest at 126 feet and the sixth and final stop at 125 feet.
Slalom: Stable, intuitive and quick with good steering feel but also lots of body roll. Better roll control would make this a sharper handler, but as small SUVs go, this is one of the best. Impressively easy to drive quick. Typical Mazda precision and control with minimal intervention from non-defeat stability control system (ESC). Skid pad: Grip feels reasonable, but truly this is just an exercise in working the ESC, which takes over the situation early. You can just plant the gas pedal to the floor and steer, whether with traction control on or off, and the ESC system modulates throttle and speed.