One-week vehicle loan was provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Fuel Efficiency: 29 city/35 hwy
|Best Suited For: Millennials, 20-somethings, commute
Notable Features: Sporty design, tight handling, nice interior
Links: Official site
When I was asked if I wanted to review the 2016 Mazda CX-3 I was a bit puzzled. I recently test drove the CX-5, which is considered a compact SUV (aka Crossover), so how could there be something even smaller than that? Apparently the CX-3 falls in the category of a subcompact SUV. Who knew?
2016 Mazda CX-3 Review — More Than a Compact, Less Than a Crossover
The CX-3 has a nice, sporty look similar to that of a hatchback. Yet, with a taller and longer body the vehicle sits a bit higher like a crossover would. Solid black panels break up the metallic paint color to give a bold, fresh design. It’s a sweet looking car perfect for young Millennials that want a reliable ride that still has some style and sass.
With a 2.0L engine, the CX-3 has plenty of power to get around and gets about 32 mpg. Steering and suspension are tight so you really feel the road. I only tried the sport mode briefly as it made the car much harder for me to maneuver. The engine noise is very noticeable too. As we drove on the freeway, my daughter asked, “Why do I have to turn the radio up so much?” since she couldn’t hear it over the road noise.
2016 Mazda CX-3 Review — Features
There’s also plenty of tech loaded on the CX-3. The first feature you’ll notice upon turning on the engine is the small plastic panel that opens on the dash. Current speed, cruise control, and distance to the car in front of you are projected onto this panel to help keep your eyes on the road and not looking down at the instrument cluster. Sometimes I really liked the display but other times it was more distracting than not.
There was also a control knob in the middle console, memory seats, heated seats, adaptive cruise control, HID bending headlights. As my teen pointed out, it would have been nice to have a dedicated radio tuner though. To turn the channel (which she typically does every two seconds), you have to navigate through a couple of different screens and then find the tuner or the pre-set stations. That’s easy enough unless you need to follow the map and directions. Then it becomes quite bothersome to have to fiddle with the screen so much.
2016 Mazda CX-3 Review — Interior Space
Both of the front seats are comfortable and roomy. The driver seat can go WAY back for those with long legs. As for the passenger seat, Frans liked the cushioning on the sides so he can do his man-leg “subway spread” thing comfortably. I never would have noticed that since I don’t usually sit like that 😛
You can fit 4-5 people in the CX-3 as long as they all petite and aren’t too picky about personal space. As for the trunk, well, there’s not too much cargo space and large shopping trips will likely need too spill over to the back seat. That means no shopping at Costco if you have 2+ passengers.
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a solid choice for any 20-something. They’ll get modern features, safety, and functionality but don’t have to be stuck in a ride that will cramp their style. For singles or as a commute car, the CX-3 would be a great companion. Once you hit 30 years old, though, you might want to keep looking. Once you drive it, you’ll know what I mean.