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2020 Mazda CX-3 Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?

Why Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-3?

Should You Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-3? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

As a subcompact crossover, the 2020 Mazda CX-3 looks sporty and modern. The crossover market is growing fact, and Mazda is hoping the CX-3 will rise to the top of the bunch. With good fuel efficiency, great handling, and many interior amenities, the CX-3 stands out. In addition, it has the versatility that many people seem to be looking for these days.

What's New for 2020?

2019 was a year in which the CX-3 was updated in many ways, so for 2020, nothing significant has been changed. In the previous model year, the CX-3 received new front seats, more high-end interior features, and a more elegant exterior. It also received upgrades to its engine and suspension. Mazda decided that for 2020, they didn't want to keep tweaking something that already proved to work well.

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Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-3 – The Pros

1. Available All-Wheel Drive

Whether people live in colder climates or often go on outdoor adventures, having all-wheel drive can be key in certain situations. The 2020 Mazda CX-3 is available with all-wheel drive to provide extra traction when needed.

Mazda's name for the all-wheel drive system is I-ACTIV AWD. It can detect loss in traction and can proactively redistribute torque. It's always working since it's continuously monitoring the situation. It can make changes nearly instantaneously, so drivers don't have to worry about deciding when to switch AWD on or off.

2. Strong Fuel Efficiency

Front-wheel drive versions of the CX-3 can earn an estimated 34 miles per gallon in the highway. When all-wheel drive is installed on the vehicle, highway mileage drops slightly to 32 miles per gallon. Numbers are equally strong when looking at city driving. A front-wheel drive CX-3 can achieve up to 29 miles per gallon in the city, and an all-wheel drive model can get up to 27 miles per gallon. For a non-hybrid, these numbers are pretty good.

3. Fun to Drive

Under the hood of the 2020 Mazda CX-3, there is a SKYACTIV-G two-liter engine. It has variable valve timing and four cylinders, and it generates 148 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Given the smaller body of the CX-3, this is enough power to make the vehicle feel quick to accelerate and light on its feet. The CX-3 definitely offers some excitement.

4. Upscale Cabin

The CX-3 feels refined and sophisticated. From the black trim to the storage compartments, everything seems to have a place. Push-button start is standard, and the automatic climate control system is easy to use. There are other vehicles that have more upscale features, but remember that the CX-3 has a relatively low starting price. The quality of the cabin is especially nice considering that attractive price point.

5. Streamlined Dashboard

Rather than putting a lot of different elements on the dashboard, Mazda has chosen to keep things simple. The idea that "less is more" really rings true with the 2020 CX-3. The touchscreen rises above the dashboard, which has a gently curving slope. A single controller has been placed on the center console, and there only a few other knobs that interrupt the clean lines up front. This streamlined approach enhances the peaceful feeling inside the crossover.

6. Great Infotainment System

In a CX-3, customers can enjoy using the seven-inch touchscreen. This is just the right size for a compact vehicle like the CX-3. Honestly, anything bigger would seem a little obtrusive, especially since the screen rises up from the console.

The infotainment system includes Bluetooth and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow for seamless smartphone integration. The system can play AM/FM radio, Pandora music, and Stitcher internet radio. Audio is broadcast via six speakers, and auxiliary and USB inputs can be used to hook up mobile devices.

Drivers and front passengers can use the touchscreen itself to make adjustments to music playback or change a setting. The system can understand certain voice commands as well. In an effort to improve safety, Mazda has installed audio controls on the steering wheel so people can keep their hands where they should be.

7. Advanced Driver-Assist Technology

Everything that one would imagine a modern vehicle to have is in place on the Mazda CX-3. There are three-point seat belts in every position, numerous air bags, anti-lock brakes, and a rearview camera. Mazda has taken things a step further, or multiple steps further depending on how you look at it. Numerous driver-assist systems are found on the CX-3, many of which are not commonly found on such budget-friendly vehicles.

Lane Departure Warning can alert drivers when they're veering out of a lane. Since the system knows when the turn signal is on or off, it'll only send out a warning when the lane departure seems like it's not deliberate. Blind Spot Monitoring can detect other vehicles in those hard-to-see spots, and this component comes with Rear Cross Traffic Alert so people can back out of parking spots more safely.

Mazda Radar Cruise Control can adjust the vehicle's speed to maintain a set distance with other vehicles, and it can even bring the vehicle to a stop if traffic is very busy. Finally, Advanced Smart City Brake Support can warn drivers about potential frontal collisions and apply pressure to the brakes if necessary. Not only is it able to sense other vehicles in the CX-3's path, but it can also detect pedestrians.

8. Comfortable Front Seats

The sport seats in the CX-3 are relatively new, having been redesigned for the 2019 model year. They're soft while also being supportive, and this can help prevent fatigue and discomfort during long road trips. Since the driver's seat can be adjusted in six ways, everyone can find their favorite positions.

9. An Attractive Vehicle

With angles and curves in all the right places, the Mazda CX-3 looks fresh and inviting. It has a shark fin antenna mounted on the roof, dual exhaust outlets, and a roofline spoiler in the back. Rather than the standard black side mirrors and door handles, it has mirrors and handles that are body-colored. The LED Daytime Running Lights and headlights are very modern, and they help the CX-3 make a strong first impression.

10. Offers Versatility

In just a few seconds, the CX-3 can be transformed. The CX-3's rear seats are configured as a 60/40 split bench, so people can lower the whole seat down or just one side when trying to make more space for cargo. This versatility is one reason why crossovers like the CX-3 are so desirable these days.
Buying Tip: To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals,   Edmunds,   CarsDirect,   NADAguides  &  Motortrend. These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Reasons Not to Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-3 – The Cons

1. Cramped Back Seat

While the driver and front passenger can stretch out their legs with 41.7 inches of leg room, rear-seat passengers only have 35 inches of leg room. This is less than ideal for taller passengers. Even children and smaller adults may start to feel cramped after a long ride.

2. Not That Much Room in the Cargo Area

Behind the second row of seats in the CX-3, there is 17.8 cubic feet of space. This would be sufficient for most trips to the grocery store and for running basic errands around town. However, packing up a group of people with a lot of luggage might prove difficult with this Mazda model. Every vertical inch of space could be used up if there is a lot of gear to transport, and this could block the view from the rearview camera.

The rear seats can fold down, as previously discussed, and this would expand cargo capacity to 42.7 cubic feet. This is a much more reasonable number when people have large items to carry. Note that many SUVs will offer more interior space.

3. A Bumpy Ride

In general, handling is great in the CX-3. It's unfortunately not the case in every situation, though. When going over rough terrain, the suspension isn't really capable of smoothing out the ride sufficiently. The result can be a jarring experience. The good news is that most people looking at the CX-3 aren't exactly planning on going on epic off-road adventures. The most off-road action they may see is going up a dirt driveway, for example.

4. Loud Engine

Mazda hasn't taken many steps to dampen the engine noise. While sitting in the cabin, the sound of the engine revving can come through clearly. That being said, the CX-3 is on par in this category with many other affordable vehicles, as opposed to the luxury models that really make things quiet and peaceful in the cabin.

5. Only One Trim Level

The CX-3 comes in one trim - the Sport. This makes the decision process very simple and also limits people. If anyone was intrigued by the CX-3 but wanted navigation and leather seats in addition to many other features, it's not really an option. This may have been a misstep on Mazda's part.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition:

The Nissan Kicks is a fairly comparable vehicle. In several ways, the CX-3 stands taller than the Kicks, especially in terms of its handling and acceleration. Since the CX-3 comes with adaptive cruise control, smartphone integration, and rear cross-traffic alert, it has a more comprehensive package.

Many of the same comparisons can be made in a match-up between the Mazda CX-3 and the Jeep Compass. The Compass doesn't have those same safety systems that the CX-3 has as standard features. It doesn't have standard smartphone integration either, which could be a big reason why some customers who depend on their technology would turn to the CX-3.


It's hard to overlook how affordable the 2020 Mazda CX-3 is. When this factor is taken into consideration, it's clear that this vehicle would make for a great investment. It has a nicely appointed cabin, a solid infotainment system, and many high-end elements that one wouldn't necessarily expect in a vehicle being sold at this price.
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