Flash Drive

Flash Drive 2017 Mazda CX-3

Model Tested: 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

The handsome 2017 Mazda CX-3 is compact and highly fuel efficient.

Engine: 2.0-liter I-4, 146 horsepower 146 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive

EPA Rating: 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway/29 mpg combined

Base Price: $26,240

As Tested: $28,810


Sport and regular operating modes

Paddle shifters

Excellent hwy fuel economy—our best was 34.3 mpg

Agile, sporty handling

Handles more like a tall sport sedan than a bulky SUV

The rear view resembles  a compact sport wagon, but the roof design hampers cargo space.

Fair amount of highway road noise

Easy to park and maneuver in tight city spaces

Blind spot monitor

Lane keeper

Smart Braking

Nimble and confident off road


Stretch-out front legroom

Front seats almost touch back seats when all back

Driver seat height pump

Ample headroom

Good outward visibility

Three temperature heated front seats

The front seats are soft and comfortable with ample leg and head room.

Thick, contoured, leather-wrapped steering wheel

Very good steering wheel auxiliary controls

Tilt/telescopic steering column

Lots of rear door wheelwell intrusion

Tall, wide rear floor hump

Nice sound system with Bose speakers 


Rear hatch doesn’t open quite enough for tall people

Flat cargo deck

Removable main floor for extra depth/space

Short wheelbase and roof design affect cargo space

There is more room underneath the removable cargo deck. The split seats fold almost flat.

Split, folding rear seats

Medium to small front door bins

Medium, non-locking glovebox

Nice, top of dashboard location for navigation screen

One seatback storage pouch

Four grab handles

Visors have small center slide-outs

Overhead sunglasses holder

WOW Factors:

Excellent safety features

Rain sensing wipers

Much appreciated heads-up display

The heads-up display is small but a great feature.

Great fuel economy


Cheap, cardboard-like headliner

Limited cargo capacity

Rear seats very tight if fronts aren’t moved up

Bottom Line:

The compact, crossover SUV Mazda CX-3 was all-new for 2016, so the 2017 model is essentially unchanged. Mazda got it right the first time, so there wasn’t any need to change. The CX-3 is agile and fun to drive. The safety features and fuel economy are excellent. There are size and content compromises inherent with the compact, affordable package.