2018 Mazda CX-3 – Excellent Handling


The first time I drove a Mazda CX-3, was back in 2015, in Arizona, U.S.A. At its launch event, I was really impressed by its road manners and features – but a lot of time has passed, so is the CX-3 still as good as I remember?

To find out, I spent a week with one recently.

From a styling point of view, the CX-3 still looks fresh! It might have been out for a few years now, but every time I see them – and I do see lots of them, they are a great seller for Mazda – they look like a new model.

Step inside, and you’re greeted with an attractive cabin that is also reasonably well equipped, and decently comfortable. While the passengers in the front seats won’t have much to complain about in terms of space, the rear seat passengers aren’t given a generous amount of room; and nor is the trunk very spacious – but then, this is a subcompact crossover (CUV), so it was never going to be as commodious as a Chevrolet Suburban. In terms of features, it has a good infotainment system which is both a touchscreen and can be operated through an “iDrive” style controller, and it works really well. Build quality on most part seems good, except for the dashboard, which doesn’t meet up with the A-pillar properly. It looked as if my tester wasn’t properly put together, but apparently, they all suffer from it – someone didn’t do their measurements correctly when they designed the dashboard. This little flaw doesn’t effect the way this vehicle performs, and causes no nasty squeaks and rattles, but it is still annoying nonetheless.

Start driving however, and you’ll soon forget about the dashboard, because it is really very good to drive! Regardless of the model trim (GX, GS, or GT), all CX-3 come with the same powertrain, which is a 2.0L, four-cylinder motor that features 16 valves, and double over head camshafts (DOHC).

Max power output is 146 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque – which can be sent to either the front wheels or all wheels via either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. My tester was a FWD model with a manual gearbox, and I really enjoyed it!

Sure, this vehicle’s motor does not have a monstrous amount of power, but it is a willing motor, so if you use it properly, it is very rewarding. It is also very frugal, as I averaged 7.8 L/100km in my city and highway test – that is quite good.

Even better was its handling, because the CX-3 is one CUV that thinks its a hot hatch! So, if driving excitement is important to you, than this cute-ute might be the one for you.

The CX-3 is even priced well, starting from just $19,995.

So, should you go out and buy one? Well, if you can look past its misaligned dashboard, and you don’t need to carry four or five adults, then the CX-3 might just be your next vehicle.