If there's any doubt in your mind about the importance of B-segment crossovers, consider this: our review of the 2016 Mazda CX-3 arrives on your screen less than 24 hours after our first test of the 2016 Honda HR-V. Both of these vehicles are hugely important entries for their respective automakers. And while they take a similar shape and will compete head to head, the truth is, they're very different products. The HR-V is a knockout because of its excellent packaging and added versatility over Honda's own Fit and Civic. It's a wholly competent product, and we imagine it'll be one of, if not the best-selling vehicle in the class. In terms of being desirable for customers, it checks all the necessary boxes: frugal, functional, efficient, and affordable. Mazda takes a similar approach, but focuses instead on its key strength of offering cars that are great to drive, and look damn good. What's more, the CX-3 won't have to share showroom space as the HR-V does with the Fit – the all-new Mazda2 isn't slated for the US right now. Instead, the new CUV will serve as an entry point into the brand. Because of this, Mazda is betting big on the CX-3. That all starts with a product that's appealing to the eye. Design director Derek Jenkins says Mazda "didn't want to do the funky route" with its compact CUV – a nudge to the Nissan Juke and Fiat 500X, right there. Instead, the CX-3 uses the Kodo design language that Mazda has perfected since its production debut on the CX-5 in 2012. Across the board, the company's products look incredible, and the CX-3 is right at home amongst Mazda's latest beauties. Notice the long hood with a flowing character line that runs over the front fender and down the body side, chiseled off at the end with tight rear proportions and a small overhang. Huge arches draw focus to the premium 18-inch wheels found on our Grand Touring CX-3, but swallow up the 16-inch rollers used on lesser models. The glass area is kept to a minimum, but visibility from inside is still quite good. Details like the LED accents in the head- and taillamps look premium and aggressive. From all angles, this is an attractive crossover. It's a bold, dynamic entry in a class filled with cutesy, oddball, and bland designs. Underneath the CX-3 is the Skyactiv chassis found in the new Mazda2. At 168.3 inches long, 69.6 inches wide, and 60.7 inches tall, the CX-3 is smaller than the Mazda3 in every dimension except height. This translates to a compact, tidy crossover that's noticeably smaller than its big brother CX-5. Mazda2 influences stop there, though – the CX-3 doesn't use its new 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine. Instead, it relies on the tried and true 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four found elsewhere in the company's lineup, with 146 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Curiously, that's 9 hp and 4 lb-ft less than this engine's application in the …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||27 City / 32 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||146 @ 6000 rpm|
Get a surprisingly great rate
It's like a new car for the price of a clunker. Switch & save an average of $587* on car insurance.