The subcompact SUV segment is a relatively new one to enter the US market, and Mazda’s CX-3 is an even newer arrival into it. While it has been out in Europe for some time, 2016 is the first year in which the CX-3 is available in the United States. Combining the utility of the larger Mazda CX-5 with the value and economy of the Mazda3 Hatchback, this little SUV is both versatile and exciting to drive.
What’s New in 2016
Top Ten Reasons to Buy a 2016 Mazda CX-3
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2016 Mazda CX-3 – The Pros
1) Superior Handling
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is one of the best-handling cars in the subcompact SUV segment. The sport-tuned suspension keeps the car level even through tight turns. The electric power steering makes it easy to maneuver the car even through tough corners.
2) Smooth and Quiet Ride
The Mazda CX-3, despite its sporty suspension, makes for a very comfortable ride even over potholes and rough terrain. It is also very well insulated against road noise, making for a very quiet cabin. The CX-3 successfully combines a comfortable ride with a sporty and exciting one.
3) SkyActiv Technology
The engine and transmission at the center of the Mazda CX-3 are exemplars of Mazda’s new SkyActiv technology. The 2.0-liter engine has a very high compression ratio to provide both improved power and improved fuel economy, and the six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission smoothly and responsibly applies that power. Both represent the next level of evolution of automotive technology.
4) All-Wheel Drive
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is one of the smallest vehicles that you can purchase with an all-wheel drive system. This all-wheel drive system is dynamic, which means that it automatically detects wheel slip and shifts power accordingly. This gives the CX-3 both the economy and value of a compact hatchback and the safety of an SUV.
5) Excellent Fuel Economy
The Mazda CX-3 is one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs available. Thanks to both its small size and the innovative SkyActiv technology, it is much more efficient than one would expect. It gets 29 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway, beating many other comparable cars.
6) Sport Button and Paddle Shifters
There are not many SUVs that make you feel like you are driving a sports car. The CX-5 comes standard with a Sport mode toggle that tells the transmission to let the car rev higher before shifting to the next gear. To give drivers more control, paddle shifters are mounted on the steering wheel to let drivers use their hands to shift the transmission gears manually without taking them off the wheel.
7) Interior Quality
The interior of the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is filled with high-quality materials. Soft touch materials and high-quality plastics make for a much more refined interior compared to the car’s competitors. Rather than just a cloth interior, both leatherette and a full leather interior are also available on the car.
8) High-end Infotainment
The infotainment on the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is state-of-the-art. It is controlled through a large touch screen or through a center console control knob that lets drivers keep their eyes on the road. A navigation system and a premium Bose audio system further raise the bar for subcompact SUV infotainment.
9) Advanced Safety Features
The Mazda CX-3 is kitted out with the most modern safety features to make for a safer drive. A rear view camera and Bluetooth phone integration system are both standard features on all CX-3s. Higher-end models can be equipped with modern technology like lane departure warning, Smart City Brake Support, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. This makes the CX-3 one of the safest compact SUVs on the market.
10) A Record of Safety
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2016 Mazda CX-3 – The Cons
1) Relatively Weak Engine
The 2.0-liter SkyActiv engine of the Mazda CX-3 is sufficient to get the car moving. However, it is weaker than many of the car’s competitors as well as Mazda’s own smaller Mazda 3. So drivers who are looking for more power may prefer one of Mazda’s competitors instead.
2) Cramped Rear Seats
The front seats of the Mazda CX-3 are very spacious and comfortable, but the same can’t be said of the car’s second row. It offers sufficient seating for children or shorter adults, but many people will feel constrained there. There are other cars in the same class that offer more room for passengers.
3) All-new Model
The Mazda CX-3 is brand new for the 2016 model year. It relies on technology that has already been proven in Mazda’s other vehicles, but it does not have a proven track record of reliability itself. Customers worried about first-year kinks should wait until they have been worked out for the 2017 model.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 competes with other subcompact SUVs like the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V. The Jeep has a more powerful engine and is less expensive than the Mazda, but it lacks the CX-3’s engaging driving dynamics. The HR-V, on the other hand, offers much more back seat and cargo room than either of the two other cars. However, its driving experience is uninspiring and it falls behind regarding fit and finish.
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is an all-new offering that is based on Mazda’s previously well-received vehicles. By occupying the middle ground between a hatchback and a compact SUV, it delivers both value and safety. These attributes are further enhanced by its high-quality interior and engaging driving dynamics. However, it can feel a little small and underpowered, especially to people who are used to larger SUVs. Overall, it is a top choice once you accept the limits of the subcompact SUV segment.