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
List Price Range
$16,450 - $22,998
Used CX-3 for SaleSee all for sale
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Overall||7.7 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
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
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.
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.
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.
Features & Specs
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.