2018 Mazda CX-3 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Attractive and comfortable interior
  • Engaging driving experience
  • Impressive fuel economy for a crossover
  • Good selection of available driver aids and active safety features
  • Below-average cargo space
  • Tight rear seat
  • Suspension tuning may be too firm for some
Other years
Mazda CX-3 for Sale
List Price Range
$16,450 - $22,998

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Which CX-3 does Edmunds recommend?

The base Sport trim is a good bargain, but overall we recommend going with the Touring trim. The Touring adds useful safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, conveniences such as automatic climate control and proximity entry, and a few extra interior upgrades. These may seem like small things, but they all add up to improve the CX-3 experience, especially if it will be your daily driver for the next few years

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.7 / 10

For its third year, the Mazda CX-3 receives a handful of updates that improve on some of its best characteristics. In past years, we praised the CX-3 for being the most enjoyable vehicle in the subcompact crossover SUV segment to drive. For 2018, revisions to the suspension tuning promise an even sharper driving experience. There's also more sound insulation and added low-speed crash protection in the form of a standard automatic emergency braking system. And just like last year, the 2018 CX-3 also boasts an upscale interior, comfortable seats and high fuel economy.

The CX-3 does have a few shortcomings, though, such as a cramped back seat and below-average cargo capacity. If interior space is a priority for you, you might prefer the more versatile Honda HR-V. You could also check out the Jeep Renegade or Subaru Crosstrek for superior off-road capability. All in all, though, we think the CX-3 is a pretty appealing package.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Mazda CX-3 as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for 2018.

2018 Mazda CX-3 models

The 2018 Mazda CX-3 is available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The base Sport trim is actually nicely equipped, especially considering its price, but moving up through the trim levels gets you some desirable conveniences and nice luxuries. All trims rely on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (146 horsepower, 146 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

The CX-3 Sport comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, air-conditioning, push-button start, cruise control, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a USB input, app integration (including Pandora, Stitcher and Aha) and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player. Standard safety features on the base Sport trim include a rearview camera and Mazda's Smart City Brake Support System, which will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision as long as the CX-3 is traveling at less than 19 mph.

Moving up to the Touring trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, automatic headlights and automatic wipers. The interior is upgraded with cloth and faux leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity entry, automatic climate control and an overhead console with a sunglass holder. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard on the CX-3 Touring.

The top-tier Grand Touring gets a sunroof, LED exterior lighting (headlights, taillights, foglights, daytime running lights), leather-trimmed seats with simulated suede inserts, a head-up display, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, navigation, and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio.

The Grand Touring's sunroof and Bose stereo can be added to the Touring with the Preferred Equipment package. The Grand Touring can be upgraded with the Premium Package, which includes adaptive cruise control, higher-speed forward collision warning and automatic braking, lane departure warning, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, driver-seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel and a traffic-sign recognition system.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring (2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).

Since this test was conducted, the current Mazda CX-3 has received some revisions, including updated suspension tuning, a quieter cabin and additional standard safety features. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Mazda CX-3, however.


Performance is a CX-3 strong point. This is the most fun crossover to drive in this segment. Although it feels slow compared to most cars these days, it's actually "speedy" among subcompact crossovers. Handling is sharp and responsive, and it's easy to drive the CX-3 in the city.


Power is modest in the CX-3, as it is in most of its rivals. It's quick for the class, though, with zero to 60 mph taking 8.5 seconds.


The brakes offer excellent feel. They are firm enough to tell you there is good stopping power but soft enough for easy modulation at stoplights. Emergency braking power is about average, with very good stability.


Steering feels perfectly natural. It's nicely weighted, and there's good feedback through the wheel. The CX-3 turns in quickly without ever feeling twitchy and feels just as light and small as it is.


The CX-3 is lively and responsive to driver inputs. Midcorner bumps don't upset it. You'll forget about the stiff-ish ride on a curvy back road.


The quick-shifting automatic transmission is responsive. In low-speed driving, it can hunt around a bit, although Sport mode helps. The CX-3 is easy to maneuver in tight spaces.


Although we didn't test it, all-wheel drive is available on the CX-3, but it's meant much more as an aid in snow, mud and rain than for any kind of true off-roading.


It's difficult to produce a short-wheelbase, good-handling car that still delivers a decent ride. Mazda did all right with the CX-3, but rivals such as the Honda CR-V are smoother. The front seats are great, though, and other than a loud engine at full throttle, the CX-3 is pretty quiet.

Seat comfort

The front seats are fantastic. They are firm yet comfy, with good lateral support for cornering. We love the soft simulated-suede inserts on the Grand Touring model. The door armrests are on the hard side. The rear outboard seats are pretty plush, with a seatback that isn't too upright.

Ride comfort

Small pavement ripples are handled well, though some vibrations will enter the cabin. In previous models, we noted that the suspension could feel stiff-legged, but Mazda has made revisions for 2018 and promises that the CX-3 is smoother-riding now.

Noise & vibration

We already thought the CX-3 did a good job handling noise, especially for its class, although the coarse engine note at high rpm (from the 2016 test vehicle) was noticeable. This year's improvements should make the interior even quieter.

Climate control

The CX-3 relies on a straightforward system that uses clearly labeled dials for manual adjustments. Automatic climate control is now standard on the midlevel Touring as well as the Grand Touring.


We love the look and feel of the CX-3's interior, but not so much the usability of the infotainment screen or the cheesy head-up display. Front-seat space is decent, but rear-seat space is worse than in a Mazda 3.

Ease of use

A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard on all trims, but some functions require extra steps. The beautiful central tach and large digital speedo are pluses, but the head-up display seems like an afterthought. The front seatback adjustment lever requires a firm hand.

Getting in/getting out

The front doors are large and open wide, making it easy to climb in and out. The rear doors are reasonably sized and open wide, but entry is still tight and the raised rear bench means you have to duck your head as you hop in.


Front headroom is quite good, aided by low seat height (for a crossover). Rear headroom isn't bad considering the segment, and average-size adults should be fine. But the rear-seat area is tiny, and it can feel as if the front occupants are sitting on your lap.


The front roof pillars are slim, but thick side pillars can compromise the view, as when pulling out into a T-intersection. The rear pillars are blocky but have helpful triangle windows. A rearview camera is standard on all trims, and the CX-3 has large side mirrors.


Best-in-class build quality with excellent trim graining throughout. The simulated suede trim on the Grand Touring is a nice touch. The CX-3 generally feels solid, although the doors sound hollow and the headliner feels cheap.


Cargo space with the rear seats in place is just 12.4 cubic feet, or 44.5 cubic feet if you fold the seats forward. Other subcompact SUVs are a little roomier. Interior storage could be better as well: There's no center armrest bin, just a tiny square cubby.


Mazda's infotainment system is based around a rotary-dial interface, which is easy enough to learn but can require extra steps for some functions. Bluetooth is standard, as is some app integration, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't available.


Overall7.7 / 10

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2018 Mazda CX-3.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great fun for the $$. 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Tourin
Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Traded a 2005 Mazda 6 with 110k and was looking at the New 3's with the 2.5l engine but this one caught my eye. Never liked the Crossovers much but this was different. The style is great and the features are what I expected for much more $$ in other brands. For a great run around car this is nirvana. 35+mpg so far, Bose sterio, safety features +++, phone, tablet friendly. Cruising around Vegas in traffic or 70+mph this car is awesome and a lot of Fun. Extremly responsive in city, and quiet on highway which I did not expect. Back seat and cargo are a bit small, but 99% of my driving is alone so no biggie for me. The lack of middle armrest is a bit weird but the center controller is awesome. If you are in the market for a Crossover, Do yourself a treat and give this car a test drive. For 26k you just cant beat it. Zoom Zoom
CX 3 Ideal For Me
Dave S.,02/22/2018
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
It has a smooth, firm ride, and the steering is responsive. The CX 3 handles curves, corners, and turns extremely well. Cannot wait to take it on winding country roads and scenic drives when I travel far enough away from Chicago and suburbs. The compact SUV size makes this the perfect urban ride that can handle starts and stops. Very good burst when light goes green. This is a useful vehicle that can also be fun to drive for distances. Interior and dash design are awesome, IMO. Everything is within reach, and the center strip knobs below the gear shift make it easy to operate the stereo, the sound, the station, the XM channels, or any of the modes this 7-inch tablet style screen offers. Screen visibility is very good. Back up camera imaging is crystal clear. Blind spot and lane warning signals provided on side mirrors, with accompanying beep sound when other vehicles are getting close in other lanes. Stereo system is excellent, with 7-speaker Bose sound system. I purchased the AWD due to winter conditions that come and go here. But the CX 3 does not seem confined by this, as it drives and handles like a FWD in stable weather, while AWD kicks in when snow and ice are present. I am enjoying the CX 3 very much, and look forward to several more years owning this. BTW, the CX 3 boasts a sporty appearance, with smooth flowing sides, an elegant front, and well designed rear with easy hatch and dual exhausts.
CX-3 A fun fun sports car. Love it.
Michael M,02/13/2018
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
CX-3 A fun fun sports car. Not much storage, so think of it more as a fun car than a family car.
A Peppy Small Car with Some Quirks
Jean Berko Gleason,05/12/2018
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
The 2018 CX-3 (Grand Touring AWD) has fairly comfortable, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, and is reasonably zippy, given its small engine. My problem as a short person is that even at its highest point, the driver's seat does not allow me a good view out. I'm sitting on two pillows, and still have problems with visibility. Its safety features are excellent, in particular its radar controlled cruise control. It will maintain a constant distance between you and the car in front of you. Fuel economy is good and the gauges will tell you what your average and current fuel consumption are. On the down side, Mazda needs to hire some human factors engineers who will consider how actual drivers will deal with the impractical features dreamed up by the style guys. First among them is the maddening rear hatch. First, it has no inside release; worse yet, the only way to get it open is to feel around under the edge of the door for a flat little panel (one of two) that must be depressed. Press the wrong one and you simply lock up the whole car. To find the right one you need to take off your gloves and feel around for it. Forget having the kid at the market load your groceries for you. The car also does not have Android Auto, or Apple Auto, so you are stuck with a clunky navigation system that won't respond to voice commands while you are driving. I just use my Bluetooth phone and Google maps, but, of course they don't show on the Infotainment screen. I finally gave up and paid the dealer hundreds of dollars to install Android Auto. I'm an extremely small person (about 5 feet tall) and I find the visibility quite poor: the rear window is too small; the outside mirrors are huge and block my view; the door and window pillars are thick; the side windows begin too high on the doors and are too small. Sitting in the driver's seat, the hood is invisible to me--it's like driving a bus, but you have to remember that your bus has an invisible expanse of hood in front of it. My final negative is that the fuel tank is tiny, giving the car a comparatively small driving range, even though gas mileage is good. It's a good looking little car, and has some great features, but since I find it hard to see out of it and have to fumble with the rear hatch a couple of times a day, I have not grown fond of it. I'm hoping the Mazda CX-30, due out soon, has overcome some of these design flaws. If not, I will go with a car that has better visibility and a way to open and close the rear hatch without either magic fingers or a step stool.


Our experts like the CX-3 models:

Smart City Brake Support System
Stops the car automatically if an impending collision is detected at speeds below 19 mph.
Blind-Spot Monitoring
Monitors traffic in the adjoining lanes and alerts the driver to vehicles in blind spots.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Alerts the driver to oncoming cars that may not be visible when backing out of a driveway or parking space.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    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 Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2018 Mazda CX-3

Used 2018 Mazda CX-3 Overview

The Used 2018 Mazda CX-3 is offered in the following submodels: CX-3 SUV. Available styles include Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Touring 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A), and Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Mazda CX-3?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Mazda CX-3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Mazda CX-3 Touring is priced between $16,450 and$20,275 with odometer readings between 13502 and57098 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring is priced between $20,000 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 9552 and55073 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Mazda CX-3 Sport is priced between $17,989 and$20,995 with odometer readings between 3857 and27713 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 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) 2018 Mazda CX-3 for sale near. There are currently 19 used and CPO 2018 CX-3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $16,450 and mileage as low as 3857 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned 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 Used 2018 Mazda CX-3.

Can't find a used 2018 Mazda CX-3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda CX-3 for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $22,204.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 5 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $17,226.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda CX-3 for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $9,096.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 5 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $18,635.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 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.

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