2019 Mazda CX-3 With Video
If your first thought when looking at the Mazda CX-3 is something along the lines of how small it is, well, you wouldn’t be alone. The CX-3 is the smallest of Mazda’s crossover lineup, and it’s actually based on the same platform as the Mazda 2, which is a really tiny car, but don’t let it’s size fool you! This guy is full of features that not only make it useful for your family, but also fun for you. Let’s go check it out.
Mazda First Launched the CX-3 in 2016, so it’s another car that hasn’t been on the market that long, and while the compact Mazda3 is still the companies top selling car, the CX line is gaining big ground.
This is Mazda’s Crossover utility line. They’re looking to strike a balance here between practicality, fun, and style and I think they’ve done a pretty great job. The CX-3 is the smallest of the line, followed the middle child, the CX-5, and the big Brother the CX-9, and while Mazda say that the two bigger models are directed towards working professionals and families who need cargo space, the smallest of them, the CX-3, is meant for the urban explorer, both in and out of the city. So If size and storage are what you need, those options are there for you, but this guy is small, and it’s meant to be so.
Now, like I was saying, I really like the looks of this car. It’s great. This is the GT model, which means that it comes standard with these 18 Inch Rims that really set off the look. The sharp nose looks great, and lends itself to the crossover look, while the car’s stance keeps it looking aggressive and options like LED exterior lighting come standard. It’s clean without being boring, and still a bit exciting with out begging for people to look at it.
To me, it’s certainly sportier looking than its bigger brother the CX-5, which to me clearly falls into the SUV camp, and more utilitarian looking than the brands top selling Mazda 3, which clearly falls into the compact car slot. They’ve really struck a nice balance here in the subcompact crossover market.
The CX-3 comes in a few different trims, they all have the same between 146 and 148 horsepower, 146lb feet of torque from a 2.0litre 4 cylinder engine, which puts it ahead of it’s main competitior the honda HRV, who comes in at 141 horse and 127 pound feet, but behind the fully optioned Hyundai Kona which gets you 175 horse and 195 foot pounds. In the base trim you can a 6 speed manual, which I think is great, and of course if you option up, you get a 6 speed auto, and in the GT, like we have, you get paddle shifters too.
All wheel drive is available all the way through the lineup, but comes standard on the GT, and All the models also come with Mazda’s G Vectoring Control system, which is supposed to both improve handling for the driver and comfort for the passengers by reading inputs form the driver and then adjusting engine output. Now, I’m not a professional driver, but from what I’ve heard in the industry, it really does work, and it’s cool that it comes standard.
Other stuff that you get standard includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto, (quick word about that, the early 2018’s didn’t come with either of these, but if you bought one you can take into your dealership and get it installed.) keyless entry, (quick word on this too, the key is small, which I like. I hate big bulky keys in my pocket, but this guy is slim and trim, just like the car it opens) and a rear view camera. Step up from there and you get options like Nappa leather, the aforementioned 18 inch wheels, heated seats, steering wheels and mirrors, Navigation, and again, only in the GT, a Bose premium sounds system with really sounds great. More on that in a bit.
Now here’s one feature that is definitely worth talking about, and that’s the price. The base model starts at just Under 21K, and this guy, the GT, with all the options you want and need, comes in under 33K out the door, which to me, is a really great value for everything that you get in such a good looking and capable car.
What’s even better, is the savings continue into daily use… We averaged 8.4L / 100 KM over a week of driving, which works out to 28 US Miles per gallon. Like I mentioned earlier, driving the CX-3 is great. Yes, it’s not crazy powerful, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s plenty peppy, and it handles like a dream, thanks to the all wheel drive and that G Vectoring Control system that I mentioned before.
The car feels like it’s planted in the road. It’s comfortable through the corners without giving up any of it’s stickiness. There’s an option to switch to sport mode, but I didn’t feel much notable difference, and you can also shift it manually or with the paddles, but again, without a clutch I’m not really interested. Just put it in gear and go and you’ll have plenty of fun. Now, that I said, would I balk an more performance oriented version of the CX-3? Who would, right? Well, the slightly larger CX-5 is available with a turbocharged 2.5L engine and I couldn’t help but wonder if Mazda had considered something like this for the CX-3, but I was told there are no plans at this time, but hey, a guy can dream right? I’m also talking with Mazda about getting into that turbo’d CX-5 in the coming months as well, so we’ll see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be, but for now, the CX-3 holds its own just fine.
The interior is great. Comfortable seats, spacious enough cockpit for the size of the car, and really well laid out instrumentation. Nothing is too cluttered or busy, everything you need is really easy to find, and the fit and finish are more than on par for cars in this category.
The infortainment system is good. You navigate it all through one of these wheels like so many new cars have, and while I don’t normally love these, this one is pretty good. The placement of it is basically perfect, right where my hand falls when using the arm rest. The other controls there are helpful too, with a buttons to take you straight to menus for music, Navigation, or a home screen. These help you get around the tech quite a bit quicker. The master volume knob is also right there, and while it might seem like a strange place to put it’s actually perfect, and I never found it to be out of reach or awkward. I got used to all these controls really quickly, and of course they’re all available on the streering wheel as well. Stereo is great. The speakers are from Bose which gives the system a both a high end sound and vibe, and the bluetooth connection is one of the most seamless I’ve ever used. These things can be finnicky, but not this one. I connected my phone once when I first got the car, and it’s never missed a beat since.
All in all, it’s pretty great interior that adds to the driving expeience, but there are couple of things worth mentioning that I can’t let go. the CX-3 has a heads up display… Now, I’m not a huge fan of these, maybe you are, but they just feel like a distraction to me, and I was a bit disappointed to find out that I couldn’t turn this one off and lower the screen. You could manually turn it off the readouts, but the screen itself stayed in place, which kind of bugged me. As well, when cycling through my favorites on the radio presets, I found the system to get a big laggy, and took a second or two for the station being displayed to actually catch up to what I was hearing.
And I have to talk about this centre console. The Arm rest position is good, but it’s whats under it that bothered me… The storage compartment here is just wide open. Not that you should be keeping anything valuable in your car anyway, but you certainly can’t hide anything in here, and the cupholders are terrible. I’ll give them points for the idea, It’s this kind of modular space where you can fold out the cupholders, or remove them if need, as if they were trying to make the space more functional should you want to use if for something other than beverage containers. When you do put a cup in here though, it just doesn’t feel secure at all. Yes, cupholders in the doors, but ehhhh, who uses those, right?
Moving on, rear facing car seat test, yeah, not great….about 25 inches from the back of the front seat to the glove box, but again it’s a small car, so temper your expectations accordingly. Without a car seat in the back though, it’s not bad at all, plenty enough leg room both front and back with the seat set in the middle.
When you first look at the space behind the reat set, it looks really small, and I was pretty doubtful I’d be able to get everyhing in there for the trunk test, again, we’re talking a stroller, diaper bag, backpack, 2 bags of groceries, and a soccer ball, but once I removed the rear shelf I was surprised at how well everything fit. Behind the second row you’ll find 408 litres of space in the GT which is a bit less than the lower trims, they have 452 litres. Fold those back seats down and the GT goes all the way up to 1484 Litres, yeah, more than extra 1000 litres, and the lower trims get 1528 litres of space. Now, that’s a little less space than it’s competitors the Jeep Renegade, Subaru Crosstrek, and Nissan Rogue, but those all seem to land a little more on the SUV side of the line than the CX-3, and for the same reason, I’d bet they are a tad less fun to drive. Also worth noting, the CX’3’s seats fold basically flat, so again, really practical, smart, and usable.
So yes, lots to like about Mazda’s littlest crossover. It’s fun, it looks great, it provides enough utility for you do almost anything you need, and the price is right.
So is it right for your growing family? Well, if you value a goodVALUE and you want good looks, reliable tech, and fun daily driver, and you don’t need a tonne of space day in and day out, the CX-3 is an excellent choice! Until next time, for family wheels.ca, I’m Scott.