2021 Mazda CX-3

MSRP $20,640

Ranked #2 in Subcompact Suv

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2021 Mazda CX-3 Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 19, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Holding its place as the smallest SUV in Mazda’s lineup, the CX-3’s ambitions are massive. The new Mazda CX-3 is one of the most interesting buys in an otherwise generic subcompact SUV segment. The small SUV boasts of an athletic nature, upscale interior, and trendy exterior styling to establish its place as the segment stalwart.

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Pros

Engaging and fun-to-drive

Exceptional fuel economy

Svelte exterior styling

Upscale interiors

Cons

Congested rear seats

Limited cargo space available for family

Unrefined engine

What's New?

Night Vision Pedestrian Detection is added to the safety suite


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$20640

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

top speed

114 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

148 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

146 lb.-ft.. @ 2800 rpm

transmission

6 speed shiftable automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11.6/10.4 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

101.2 in.

length

168.3 in.

width

69.6 in.

height

60.7 in.

curb weight

2851 lbs.

ground clearance

6.1 in.

capacity

passenger volume

86.3 cu ft.

cargo volume

42.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

1038 lbs.

payload capacity

989 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16.3 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Sport$20,640 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Mazda CX-3 in Ceramic Metallic color
Ceramic Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

6.6

Engine and Performance

8.8

Fuel Economy

8.4

Interior

7.3

Exterior

7.5

Safety

8.5

Competition

9.5

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.1

Overall Rating


The CX-3’s sporty stature and car-like dynamics make it a favorite buy. The 2021 CX-3 carries on that same promise, with a bunch of standard features to entice car enthusiasts. Mazda has put in great efforts to bolster the vehicle’s safety suite, design language, and refinement to give it an edge over its rivals like the Honda HR-V, the Toyota C-HR, and the Chevrolet Trax

2021 Mazda CX-3 SUV front view
2021 Mazda CX-3 SUV rear view

8.8/10
Engine and Performance

8.4/10
Fuel Economy

7.3/10
Interior

7.5/10
Exterior

8.5/10
Safety

9.5/10
Competition


2021 Mazda CX-3 Features

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 will be available only in a single trim level called the Sport. This simplifies the buying process for the customers, as they can select multiple options as per their incline. Front-wheel-drive is offered as standard, whereas buyers can also get extra all-weather traction by opting for an all-wheel-drive at an extra cost. Here is an overview of all the features that you would get from purchasing a Mazda CX-3.

Trim

Sport

MSRP (FWD)

$20,790

MSRP (AWD)

$22,190

Key Features

LED headlights with auto-leveling

 

16-inch Aluminum Alloy wheels

 

Automatic climate control with pollen filter

 

7-inch touchscreen

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

 

Mazda i-Activsense safety suite

 

Cloth upholstery

 

Remote keyless illuminated entry 

Which Trim should you buy?

Since there is only a single trim option on display, buyers don’t have many options to choose from. We recommend going for the AWD variant and adding in a couple of driver convenience features like rear parking sensors and a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror to the bucket list. The AWD variant is worth the upgrade for $1200.

2021 Mazda CX-3 Engine and Performance

8.8/10

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 quenches its hunger for power from a base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 engine. This engine is capable of punching the SUV with a power output of 148 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a friendly 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive for those smooth power shifts. You can either select the standard FWD or optional AWD drivetrain configuration.

 2021 Mazda CX-3 SUV angle view

This engine doesn’t shy away from providing those thrusts, although it may be a bit underpowered. Under heavy loads, the engine struggles a bit. Still, Mazda’s brand philosophy of sporting ethos applies very well to the CX-3 as well, as the engine is athletic enough compared to most rivals in the segment. The CX-3 breaches the 0-60 mph mark in 8.2 seconds and the SUV keeps its momentum steady to clock in the quarter-mile run in 16.3 seconds.

Models

2021 Mazda CX-3

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Chevrolet Trax

MSRP

$20,790

$21,220

$21,695

$21,400

Engine 

2.0-liter Inline-4

1.8-liter Inline-4

2.0-liter Inline-4

1.4-liter turbo Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic

CVT

CVT

6-speed automatic

Power 

148hp @ 6000 rpm

141hp @ 6500 rpm

144hp @ 6100 rpm

138hp @ 4900 rpm

Torque

146lb-ft @ 2800 rpm

127lb-ft @ 4300 rpm

139lb-ft @ 3900 rpm

148lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

0-60 MPH (sec)

8.2

8.6

11

9.3

Quarter mile (sec)

16.3

17.4

18.4

17.0

Top Speed (MPH)

114

125

111

116

The Mazda CX-3’s base powertrain establishes it as the top dog in terms of performance. Although these figures certainly won’t establish it as a performance horse, the CX-3 sits on top of its segment with its above-average speed and acceleration times. Its closest competitor is the Chevy Trax, which is still a second slower compared to the Mazda in the 0-60 mph run. Although the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR provide decent power themselves, they lag behind in the speed charts.

How well does the 2021 Mazda CX-3 handle?

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 offers decent performance that makes its parent brand proud. The engine pumps out enough power to navigate city traffic. At low speeds, the base inline-4 engine feels smooth and steady. However, raise the speed bar and the engine starts feeling jittery and noisy, dampening the overall fun and comfort factor. 

Accelerating up to highway speeds or maintaining momentum on uphill gradients requires every bit of effort from the engine. Nonetheless, the CX-3’s smooth steering offers precise feedback for control in every tricky, curvy situation. The body roll is extremely composed and the suspension maintains a fine balance. All these excellent handling elements make the CX-3 one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs in its segment.

2021 Mazda CX-3 Braking Performance

Every CX-3 SUV comes standard with ventilated 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS on each wheel. The 11-inch front and 11.1-inch rear brake rotors inspire a sense of confidence in the driver. The SUV responds in a jiffy whenever you push the brake pedal. The 2021 CX-3 halts from a speed of 60 mph to a full stop within a distance of 126 feet.

Models

2021 Mazda CX-3

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Chevrolet Trax

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

11.5

11.8

NA

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

11.1

11.1

11.1

NA

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2851

2906

3300

3124

60-0 MPH (feet)

126

121

133

124

There is cutthroat competition in the 60-0 braking performance section among all the SUVs in this head-to-head. The Honda HR-V has the final laugh with the best braking distance in its class of 121 feet owing to its lightweight and large rotors. The Mazda finishes a respectable 3rd, only a few feet more than its rival. Rival Toyota is in the last place while the 124 feet Chevrolet Trax is right after Honda HR-V.

2021 Mazda CX-3 Fuel Economy

8.4/10

The CX-3’s frugal fuel economy is one of its main selling points. The SUV encounters fewer gas stops than your average SUV, which makes it even more appealing to cash-conscious buyers. The 2021 Mazda CX-3 returns 29 MPG in the city, 34 MPG on the highway. This equates to a combined 31 MPG. With its fuel tank capacity of 12.7 gallons, the vehicle offers a decent range of 368 miles in the city and 431 miles on the highway. The AWD variant sees a drop in MPG figures, down to 27/30/29 MPG in the city/highway/combined respectively. 

Models

2021 Mazda CX-3

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Chevrolet Trax

MPG (City)

29

28

27

26

MPG (Highway)

34

34

31

31

MPG (Combined)

31

30

29

28

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

12.7

13.2

13.2

14.0

Range (City/Highway /Combined, in Miles)

368/432/393

370/449/396

356/409/383

364/434/392

The 2021 CX-3 is the most fuel-efficient SUV in its class. The HR-V marginally edges the CX-3 out in the driving range thanks to its larger fuel tank. The Chevrolet Trax and the Toyota C-HR offer a poorer economy than the other two but their large fuel tanks help close the gap in terms of driving range.

2021 Mazda CX-3 Interior

7.3/10

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 justifies its low-budget value by offering an impressively detailed cabin design that looks upscale for its price tag. Mazda decorates the interiors with textured plastics, soft fabric, and some chrome detailing. All the controls are well within the reach of the driver thanks to the minimalistic design language. The black-themed interiors look classy in our opinion. As standard, you get cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, urethane steering wheel, power windows, and keyless entry.

 2021 Mazda CX-3 SUV cockpit area

The front seats are spacious and comfortable enough and are a great place to be in if you are planning on a long drive. The legroom is just enough to fit in your leg snugly, and the headroom is just enough to give you a great commanding view. The rear seats can be a hassle to be seated in for tall passengers owing to the limited legroom. The rear seats can split in a 40/60 fashion. 6-way and 4-way manual adjustments are given for the driver and passenger respectively. 

 2021 Mazda CX-3 SUV seats

Models

2021 Mazda CX-3

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Chevrolet Trax

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.4/53.5/41.7

39.5/56.8/41.2

38.1/49.0/43.5

39.6/54.1/40.8

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.2/50.4/35

38.3/54.5/39.3

38.3/52.5/31.7

38.8/52.8/35.7

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

17.8

24.3

19.1

18.7

The 2021 CX-3 is a stingy SUV when it comes to available cargo space. The SUV offers 17.8 cubic feet of space behind its rear seats, which maximizes to 42.7 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded. Thus, the CX-3 can fit in 3 carry-on suitcases with the rear seats upright and 12 of them with the rear seats folded. 

Most of the hatchbacks and SUVs offer more cargo space compared to the CX-3, so there is definitely room for improvement for Mazda here. Honda HR-V is the most spacious of the lot booths in terms of interior passenger volume and cargo capacity. But when it comes to the front row Toyota offers 43.5-inches of legroom. Some of the standout interior features in the 2021 Mazda CX-3 include:

  • Automatic climate control with air filter
  • Cloth upholstery 
  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seats
  • Manual tilt and telescopic steering column
  • Keyless entry
  • Push-button ignition

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 has a standard 7-inch touchscreen with crisp graphics and an intuitive Mazda Connect system and a rotary knob to access the touchscreen builds an intimate connection with the driver that couldn't be achieved with fully digital units. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration seamlessly connect your digital world to your infotainment screen. Other features like Bluetooth, voice recognition, and USB Ports are also part of the tech suite. A 6-speaker sound system plays your favorite tunes in harmony while you cruise around in bliss. Some of the standout infotainment features in the 2021 Mazda CX-3 are:

  • 7-inch touchscreen 
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Voice command
  • Bluetooth
  • 6-speaker sound system

2021 Mazda CX-3 Exterior

7.5/10

In terms of design, the 2021 CX-3 absolutely aces it with its snazzy aesthetics. Being the smallest SUV in Mazda’s lineup, it borrows many visual cues from the Mazda 3, which recently won the award for the car design of the year. Its cheeky exterior styling looks visually very appealing, in stark contrast to most boxy SUVs that you find on the road. 

 2021 Mazda CX-3 SUV 

The Koto design language features largely here, which brings to the table a signature U-shaped grille with four chrome bars on the inside. The full LED headlights complement the athletic stance of the SUV. Car enthusiasts can also add a rear spoiler and roof rails for that extra coolness factor. Apart from the above, you also get standard 16-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights.

Models

2021 Mazda CX-3

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Chevrolet Trax

Curb weight (lbs)

2851

2906

3300

3124

Length (inches)

168.3

170.4

172.6

167.2

Width (Inches)

69.6

69.8

70.7

69.9

Height (Inches)

60.7

63.2

61.6

64.9

Ground clearance (inches)

6.1

7.3

5.9

6.2

Wheelbase (inches)

101.2

102.8

103.9

100.6

The 2021 CX-3’s compact exterior dimensions and light curb weight grant it the nimble handling dynamics that it is known for. The 6.1 inches of ground clearance allows the CX-3 to venture off the road on some occasions, although keep in mind that the SUV isn’t completely off-road oriented. The C-HR is the biggest SUV of the lot but it sits a little low. Honda HR-V on the other hand is more balanced in terms of dimensions which explains its high interior room. As for the Chevrolet Trax, it has the shortest wheelbase in the competition. Some of the standout exterior features in the 2021 Mazda CX-3 include:

  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • Roof-mounted "shark fin" antenna
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Adaptive front-lighting System
  • LED headlights

2021 Mazda CX-3 Safety

8.5/10

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is also the top dog in terms of safety. For starters, the CX-3 earned the top 5-star safety rating from the federal agency NHTSA. It also grabbed the Top Safety Pick+ award from the safety agency IIHS. Mazda's i-Activsense suite of safety features has been standard on the CX-3 lineup since 2020. The safety suite adds standard safety features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Some of the standout safety features in the 2021 Mazda CX-3 are:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Day and night pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Head-up display
  • Stop-and-go adaptive cruise control
  • Rear parking sensors

2021 Mazda CX-3 Competition

9.5/10

2021 Mazda CX-3 vs 2021 Toyota C-HR

The Mazda CX-3 and the Toyota C-HR are familiar foes competing for a top spot in the subcompact SUV segment. CX-3 deals the first blow with its better performance and acceleration specs than the Toyota. The C-HR fights back against the CX-3 by offering a similar fuel economy. However, the differences begin to show up as you step inside the cabin. The Mazda has more rear legroom, which makes it more comfortable for rear passengers. The CX-3 also offers more cargo room to store your luggage and handles better, making it the deserved choice over its Toyota contemporary.

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Mazda CX-3 vs 2021 Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is one of the most versatile SUVs in its class, offering a class-leading cargo capacity and commodious rear headroom and legroom for the backseaters. The Honda HR-V also boasts of sporty ride quality, however, the CX-3 just edges ahead thanks to its better agility. The CX-3 also includes a plethora of standard features and offers more technology than the HR-V. Both are priced at a similar price range, so it all comes down to preference. If you want a great family hauler, pick up the Honda HR-V. If you only want a fun ride, the Mazda CX-3 is a stellar choice.

2021 Honda HR-V

 

2021 Mazda CX-3 Final Verdict

The Chevrolet Trax is a decent buy in the subcompact SUV class. While it offers similar power to the Mazda, the latter just beats it in terms of speed and acceleration. Mazda’s stellar MPG figures also give it an edge over the Chevy. The Chevy Trax redeems itself by offering more cargo space and rear legroom for your family. Both the SUVs offer a great list of standard features inside to appeal to every driver. The 2021 CX-3 is available at a lower base price than the Chevy Trax; so we will definitely pick the stylish CX-3.

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