Engine: Skyactiv-G 2-liter 4-cylinder
Transmission: Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed, sport mode automatic
EPA Ratings: 27/city, 32/highway, 29/combined
Base Price: $23,210
As Tested: $26,050
Overview: The Mazda CX-3 is an all-new SUV-like subcompact crossover. Despite its basic crossover-type profile, the CX-3 offers racier looks than some sports cars, and is another example of Mazda’s KODO design theme, which emphasizes lush curves, brawny shapes and forceful lines. Good-looking from any angle, the CX-3 radiates a sporty, athletic, adventurous appearance.
Capability is as important as looks — and it’s where the CX-3 shines. It delivers in terms of comfort, performance and overall ability — including an impressive list of standard equipment, even on the base model.
Interior: Despite some hard plastic, the CX-3 appears as upscale inside as it does outside. Helped by premium elements like contrast stitching, seat piping, substantial-looking controls and soft-touch surfaces, anyone who’s spent time in any recent Mazda will be right at home with the cockpit’s look and feel.
Behind the Wheel: The CX-3 is great fun to drive, handling tight quarters well with steering and suspension tuned for responsive handling and stability at higher speeds. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive enhances stability — especially in wintry conditions.
Smooth and quiet with good ride quality when cruising, the 146-horse, 2-liter engine leaps to life if and when needed, with more than adequate acceleration.
Bottom Line: Strong on style and value, with an extraordinary array of standard features, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is among the most impressive and enjoyable vehicles in this segment. It offers fun, comfort, handling, utility — and its own, unique brand of panache.