The subcompact market has been all the rage ever since the introduction of Mazda CX-3. Mazda joined the subcompact crossover race back in 2016 when they launched the Mazda CX-3. The car is now back with it's latest installment, the 2018 Mazda CX-3. The 2018 CX-3 is a conspicuous and spunky little car based on the Mazda 2 supermini.
First impressions of the car paint a very vivid portrait, with subtle changes like the new round-ish rear lights and inner grille design. The 2.0 SKYACTIV-G inline four-cylinder motor coupled with the 6-speed auto transmission is standard throughout the trim line. With the new 2018 Mazda CX-3, the automaker aims to turn the heat a notch higher.
8.4/10 Fuel Economy
Mazda appears to have aced the pricing of the CX-3 with the starting price of $20,110 for the base FWD, Sport trim.The newly refreshed interior is an aesthetic masterpiece with a number of small changes from the outgoing model. All these elements unite to make the 2018 Mazda CX-3 good value for money crossover.
2018 Mazda CX-3 Features
The crossover is offered in a total of three variants namely, Sports, Touring and Grand Touring. All three variants are available with an FWD or an AWD configuration. The standard 2-liter burner paired to a 6-speed auto gearbox is the only configuration available.
There are a host of optional packages on offer depending on the preferred trim. The mid-level Touring trim can be ordered with a Preferred Equipment package that adds Bose audio and a power moonroof over the standard equipment.
With the top end Grand Touring trim can be ordered with a GT Premium package, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, a heated steering wheel, a memory power driver's seat with power lumbar support, and traffic-sign recognition over the standard equipment.
16-inch alloy wheels
Height-adjustable driver seat
60/40-split folding rear seat
7-inch touchscreen infotainment system
app integration (including Pandora, Stitcher, and Aha) and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player.
In addition to or replaces Sport feature with:
18-inch alloy wheels
Automatic headlights and automatic wipers
Faux leather-trimmed seats
Heated front seats
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Automatic climate control and an overhead console with a sunglass holder
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert come standard
In addition to or replaces Sport feature with:
LED exterior lighting (headlights, taillights, fog lights, daytime running lights)
Leather-trimmed seats with simulated suede inserts
Steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles
Navigation, and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio.
The Touring variant clearly makes more sense according to us. It’s only around $2000 costlier than the base Sport variant. The extra money buys you creature comforts like heated seats and steering wheel draped in faux leather, a host of automatic features like climate control and proximity entry. You will also be able to score a set of bigger 18” alloy wheel which gives the car a meaner stance and looks.
2018 Mazda CX-3 Engine
Performance is a CX-3 strong point. This is the most fun crossover to drive in this segment. Although it feels slow compared to most cars these days, it's actually 'speedy' among subcompact crossovers. Handling is sharp and responsive, and it's easy to drive the CX-3 in the city. -edmunds
Engine and Transmission
The motor that does duty in the CX-3 is a 2.0L SKYACTIV-G DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder powertrain which is good for 146hp at 6000 rpm and torque of 146 lb-ft at 2800 rpm. It is paired with a 6-speed auto shifter.
2.0L SKYACTIV-G DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder
1.4-Liter I4 MultiAir Turbo Engine
1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC I4
6 speed Manual
146 hp @ 6000 rpm
160 hp @ 5500 rpm
141 hp @ 6500 rpm
123 hp @ 6000 rpm
146 ft-lbs @ 2800 rpm
184 ft-lbs @ 2500 rpm
127 ft-lbs @ 4300 rpm
125 ft-lbs @ 3500 rpm
A brief comparison of the Mazda with other vehicles in the same segment reveals that the vehicle sits comfortably on top or amongst most of its competitors in the power department. The Jeep Renegade is more powerful than the CX-3 but, It does come only with a manual shifter on the base variant which hurts its VFM appeal. At $20,110 the crossover seems to have produced a car that is easily the best VFM even on the base trim.
Kitted with a peppy engine that loves to revv all the way to the redline, this translates into a car that will accelerate to high speeds without much trouble. To our relief, the crossover does with a traditional 6-speed automatic shifter rather than a CVT. The gear shifts are a little too eager at times in the name of better fuel efficiency but they still complement the enthusiastic nature of the car as a whole.
16.3 sec @ 83.3 mph
17.2 sec @ 80.0 mph
16.8 sec @ 80.9 mph
17.2 sec @ 81.3 mph
2.0L SKYACTIV-G DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder
1.4-Liter I4 MultiAir Turbo Engine
1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC I4
Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year
The CX-3 manages to do a 0-60 mph sprint in 8.6 seconds with a quarter mile stats of 16.3 seconds @ 83.3 mph. It is faster, sturdier and more planted than all of Its competitors. All of this can be attributed to Mazda’s clever and creative weight reduction techniques, firm chassis and fine-tuned suspension setup.
Ride and Handling
Mazda has truly triumphed the ride and handling of this crossover. The new chassis, updated steering, and a stiff suspension setup give the driver confidence to throw the car into corners with a relatively high speed and the car does so without breaking a sweat. The stiff suspension setup, which allows the car to be driven enthusiastically might turn into a cause of concern for some as it's not suited to everyone’s taste. Still, the ride is far from inconvenience.
The braking system on the CX-3 consists of 11” brake pads in the front 11.1” brake pads in the rear. The car is able to a 60-0 mph halt in under 117ft as a result of a relatively low curb weight. The stopping distance is around 10 ft shorter than any of the competitors despite some of them having a beefier setup.
Brake pads Rear(in)
60-0 MPH (ft.)
As a subcompact crossover, It's not naturally designed to tow stuff around. Taking the following into consideration, It still fares low when compared to the competition.
At the top of the list is the Jeep Renegade, its powerful motor and AWD ability makes it capable of towing a maximum of 2000 lbs. Then in the middle of the table are the Honda HR-V and the Ford Ecosport which can tow a maximum of 1500 lbs and 1700 lbs respectively. At the bottom of the list is the CX-3 which can only tow a dismaying 1000 lbs.
2018 Mazda CX-3 Fuel Economy
Once again, Mazda has done the trick with the CX-3’s with its frugal nature. The vehicle returns a hearty mileage of 29 mpg in City and 34 mpg on the highway, which is fairly frugal for a 2-Liter motor.
The Mazda CX-3 sits comfortably at the top of the table as far the fuel efficiency is concerned. It is then closely followed by the Honda HR-V with stats of 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.At the bottom of the list is also the most powerful car in the segment, the Jeep Renegade returns a pitiful mileage of 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which is a good 5 mpg less than the CX-3.
2018 Mazda CX-3 Interior
Even in its Sport model, the monotone black-cloth upholstery looks good, and upping the ante to the Touring model's Leatherette and Lux Suede or the Grand Touring model's leather/Lux Suede seats with second-color piping sweetens the deal into luxury territory. With the GT you also get soft-stitched material over the gauge hood. The cockpit is geared toward the driver in what Mazda calls its 'Head-up Cockpit' concept. -Kelley Blue Book
Seating and Comfort
As soon as you enter the CX-3, the first thing that strikes is how conveniently everything has been placed. The ergonomics of this car are spot on and if one has to go by what the manufacturer says, the front seats have been given a redesign to make it even more comfortable and wider. The dashboard has also been ornamented with faux suede appliques.
Even after the redesigned front seat, the seats fail to achieve the sweet spot that one desires. When compared to rivals, the CX-3 falls short on all dimensions be it at the rear or the front which reveals a major shortcoming. There’s no denying the fact that the car could’ve easily done with a roomier cabin for the passengers.
Passenger Volume(ft cube)
Fabric upholstery is standard in the base trim of the 4-doored cross, while leather or leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel are available as you move up the trim level.
Mazda has equipped all the CX-3s with a 7-inch infotainment screen laden with the Mazda Connect system. An old-school rotary knob is also present to prevent the screen from getting smudged and effectively banishing the need to lean forward while driving. The absence of Android auto and Apple Carplay might also be a cause of concern to some.
Some of the salient interior features that are standard are:
Six speaker audio system
7” infotainment screen
Low-speed automatic emergency braking
An optional HUD is also on offer
Full set of LATCH connectors to hook child seats
Blind spot monitoring system with rear traffic alert
Adaptive cruise control
Unfortunately, the cargo space on the Mazda CX-3 is a major pitfall. It offers the least cargo space amongst all its rivals. Space becomes even lesser when the optional Bose sound system is present.
Behind Second Row(cube ft.)
Second Row Folded (cube ft.)
It has an awful 12.4 cube ft. of space behind the second row in comparison to the segment leader Honda HR-V which has 24.3 cube ft. Unfortunately, the sob story continues when the second-row seats are folded to create space as the CX-3 falls well short of the segment leader at around 44.5 cube ft. as compared to 58.8 cube ft in the Honda HR-V.
2018 Mazda CX-3 Exterior
Mazda designer Ken Saward says the goal of the CX-3’s exterior is a car that is “genuinely beautiful while practical.” No question that Mazda nailed the "beautiful" part. The coupe-like cabin and long hood evoke classically sporty proportions, and the flowing lines and distinctive grille all look good here. -Kelley Blue Book
Dimension and Weight
Smaller and lighter than most of Its competitors, which although helps the CX-3 to achieve a laudable fuel economy, it hurts the legroom and headroom of the passenger, especially at the rear. Taller folks may find it cumbersome to sit and move around due to barely adequate space at the rear. As the vehicle sits closer to the ground, you can forget about any hard off roading even on the AWD variants.
Track width(in) F/R
Some of the exterior features are:
The new round tail lamps
18" alloy wheels from the mid-level trim onwards
Black window frames
LED daytime running lights
Heated and power adjusted mirrors
Optional Moonroof on the mid-level touring variant
Sunroof standard on the top end variant
2018 Mazda CX-3 Safety
Mazda has ensured that there are no compromises with the safety on the CX-3. The car has scored the maximum of 5 stars in all crash tests conducted by NHTSA. The IIHS ratings achieved label it as ‘Good’ in all crash tested sectors and awarded It the Top Safety+ accolade.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
ABS And Driveline Traction Control
Side Impact Beams
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Smart City Brake Support Forward Collision
Low Tire Pressure Warning
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
Airbag Occupancy Sensor
Rear Child Safety Locks
Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
NHTSA Crash Test
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver
Overall Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger
Combined Side Rating Front Seat
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Small overlap front driver side
Small overlap front passenger side
Moderate overlap front
Head restraints & seats
Crash Avoidance & Mitigation
Front Crash Prevention
2018 Mazda CX-3 Competition
Mazda CX-3 vs Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade is a small but ferocious crossover. It follows the peculiar Jeep design language which makes for a gorgeously styled car. It is significantly more powerful than the Mazda CX-3 but its almost 100 lbs heavier as well.The room on the inside and cargo space is also much better on the Renegade.
The fuel ratings on the Renegade is far less than what the CX-3 offers. Folks who desire better on-road performance and a frugal yet sporty enough motor but can live with the compromised room for passengers are better off with the CX-3.
Mazda CX-3 vs Honda HR-V
The Honda HR-V is based on the FIT platform. The styling on the car is the complete opposite of exciting. The engine is not powerful enough and It is paired with a sloppy CVT which worsens the situation even further. The driving dynamics of this car are just not appealing enough. The interior on the CX-3 is also much better.
The only thing better on the Honda is the space on the inside and It also has a few quirks down Its sleeves such as the Magic Seats. All in all, the CX-3 is the clear winner here in our honest opinion.
Mazda CX-3 vs Ford Ecosport
The Ford Ecosport is a relatively new offering from Ford in the Compact SUV segment. The styling appears to be archaic. The inline 3-cylinder engine is grossly underpowered and suffers from major turbo lag. The Mazda CX-3 blazes past the Ford Ecosport in all possible terms. Ford needs to do a whole lot better to even be in the picture with the Mazda CX-3.
2018 Mazda CX-3 Final Verdict
The new 2018 Mazda CX-3 is an absolute delight to drive. The driving dynamics are spot on, the interior ergonomics hit the sweet spot and the engine is peppy and responsive. The sort of shabby interior quality and poor passenger space is something that the potential owners will have to live with. However, the family and space-centric drivers will be left disappointed after taking a drive.
Frugal engine with impressive mileage
Engaging driving dynamics
Cramped rear bench
Narrow boot space
New tail lights
E-brake instead of the conventional wire operated parking brake
G- vectoring control programming now integrated
Firmer suspension and steering
New 18 low profile tires
Titanium Flash Mica
Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.