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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2016 Mazda CX-3

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
August 18, 2015
4 min. Reading Time

Good things increasingly come in small packages, as subcompact crossovers like the 2016 Mazda CX-3 become more and more common in dealer showrooms. Although not quite as practical as their compact siblings, subcompacts are easy-to-park, inexpensive to operate, and offer a more rugged image than a traditional hatchback. In the case of the all-new Mazda CX-3, the Japanese automaker has also elected to go above and beyond when it comes to handling and style, creating an affordable utility vehicle that stands apart from many of its cute ute rivals.

Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2016 Mazda CX-3.

1. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Is An All-New Design

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 might look a lot like the hatchback version of the Mazda3 compact car, but in reality it rides on a platform that shared its development time with the upcoming Mazda2 subcompact hatch. Confused? Don't be: what's really important is that the all-new Mazda CX-3 embodies the best aspects of the brand's styling cues, providing a muscular, yet not over-the-top interpretation of what a crossover SUV should look like. At the same time, it's different enough from the next-closest Mazda hatchback - what with its boosted ground clearance and plastic cladding on the fender wells and rocker panels - that you won't confuse the two, even when parked side-by-side.

 Photo by Mazda

Photo by Mazda

2. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Is Considerably Smaller Than The CX-5

One thing to note about the current generation of subcompact SUVs - the 2016 Mazda CX-3 included - is that they aren't really intended to haul around the entire family. Although the Mazda CX-3 does offer seating for five, compared to its larger CX-5 sibling it doesn't have nearly the same level of second-row comfort, making it kid-friendly at best on longer trips. This speaks to the marketing angle associated with subcompact crossovers: namely, that they're intended to attract young couples intent on hauling stuff, not people, from point A to point B as they go about their busy lifestyles.

 Photo by Mazda

Photo by Mazda

3. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Delivers Hatchback Cargo Space

The 2016 Mazda CX-3's modest proportions extend to the cargo area, where you'll find 44.5 cubic feet of total luggage space with the rear seatback folded forward. This is in contrast to the CX-5, which delivers a more respectable 65 cubes overall - a story that also plays out when contrasting the Mazda to most other compact crossovers. This puts the Mazda CX-3 more in line with a compact hatch like the Volkswagen Golf when it comes to hauling, but it's still ahead of popular subcompact car options like the Ford Fiesta and the Chevrolet Sonic when carrying your gear.


4. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Features Skyactiv Power

Under the hood, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 comes with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes use of a high compression Skyactiv design along with the presence of direct fuel injection in order to produce 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. These numbers aren't quite at the same level as the 2.0-liter Skyactiv found in a number of other Mazda products, but the tightness of the CX-3's engine compartment forced the automaker to redesign a few key components and rob it of small amount of power. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability is the only gearbox offered with the SUV.


5. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Is A Fuel Efficient Commuter Option

A bonus of Mazda's decision to invest in the development of its Skyactiv series of engines - plus a focus on keeping mass as low as possible in the 2016 Mazda CX-3 - is excellent fuel economy. Front-wheel drive versions of the Mazda CX-3 turn in 29-mpg in stop and go driving and 35-mpg during highway cruising, while those equipped with the option of all-wheel drive are almost as frugal, boasting a rating of 27-mpg around town and 32-mpg on the highway. This places the CX-3 in the upper echelon of subcompact crossovers when it comes to efficiency.


6. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Can Be Had With All-Wheel Drive

The all-wheel drive system mentioned above that can be had with the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is called 'i-ACTIV.' What this means is that Mazda has included predictive software inside the CX-3's all-wheel drive feature that allows it to interpret sensor data regarding road conditions and driving style. As a result, the i-ACTIV system is able to shuttle torque from wheel-to-wheel in real time, enhancing traction not just when the road gets slippery, but also when driving in a spirited manner in a bid to improve handling. The i-ACTIVE all-wheel drive system also helps to reduce torque steer when accelerating the CX-3 off of the line.


7. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Is Actually Fun To Drive

Even without the option of all-wheel drive installed, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 enjoys a leg-up over almost the entire subcompact SUV segment when it comes to fun. The Mazda CX-3's suspension system - while not as sophisticated out back as it is in the Mazda3 hatchback - has been tuned to offer above-average feedback and grip, a philosophy that will put a smile on your face the first time you put it through its paces on a twisty country road. In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the only SUV in the CX-3's price bracket that can match it for fun factor would be the equally-lively Nissan Juke.


8. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Is Available In Three Trim Levels

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 starts out in Sport trim, which includes features such as 16-inch steel wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a folding rear seat, keyless ignition, the Mazda Connect infotainment system (with a 7-inch LCD screen), power windows and door locks, rearview camera, and keyless entry. Stepping up to the Mazda CX-3 Touring introduces a louder stereo system, a moonroof, 16-inch alloy rims, heated exterior mirrors, and an armrest between the front seats, while the CX-3 Grand Touring stands at the top of the crossover's line-up with automatic climate control, paddle shifters for the automatic transmission, a Bose stereo system, navigation, LED headlights, fog lights, and daytime running lights, and 18-inch rims.


9. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Delivers On Active Safety Gear

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 does a good job of giving budget-conscious buyers access to high end safety gear not typically seen outside of the luxury segment. The Mazda CX-3 Touring adds a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert to its list of standard features, while the Grand Touring complements that with adaptive headlights up front that move with the steering wheel to illuminate the path ahead. The motherlode, however, is found with the i-ACTIVSENSE package of features that can be had with the GT, as this includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking at low speeds, and a lane-departure warning system.


10. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 Is Affordably Priced

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 manages to slip under the $20,000 mark with the Sport trim's $19,960 MSRP. Moving up to the Touring increases the cost of the Mazda CX-3 to $21,960, with the Grand Touring model priced at $24,990. Adding all-wheel drive (which is available across the board) as well as various options packages can increase the price of the CX-3 to nearly $30,000, but that still leaves a very affordable range within which the crossover can appeal to individuals seeking an inexpensive daily driver with a dash more visual appeal than the standard hatchback.



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