2016 Mazda CX-3
  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Technology
  • Performance
  • Value
4.4

Summary

So how do I sum up the CX-3? If you want a stylish, fun and stupidly efficient crossover this is your choice.

Zoom-Zoom.  It’s not just Mazda’s cute little marketing slogan.  Zoom-Zoom defines Mazda’s mindset when it comes to the automobile.   So what does it mean?  It means: “Let’s inject some fun into this”.  That philosophy bleeds across all of their model range.  Fun doesn’t necessarily mean you need a 600 horsepower, highly strung and insanely expensive machine.  The Mazda way is a lightweight, highly toss-able chassis, direct steering and an added dose of efficiency. That is what the 2016 Mazda CX-3 accomplishes brilliantly.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Front Grille

Here’s the deal with the CX-3.  It is in essence a lifted Mazda2.  That means it joins the ranks of other lifted subcompacts like the HRV, Encore, Renegade and the 500X.  Why are these vehicles so popular?  Well because the average American buyer is severely allergic to hatchbacks.  So these compact crossovers were created as the antihistamine.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Rear Spoiler

So how is the CX-3?  Well it’s a quiet, comfortable, well built, fun and absurdly efficient machine.  The dashboard is very Audi A3 inspired but the Mazda, with its contrasting materials, actually pulls off the look better.

Styling wise this is one handsome machine.  It has Mazda’s signature grille, beautiful set of Active LED headlights along with taillights and if you take a few steps back…you can see some Audi Allroad in it.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Side Door

The interior space may look cramped from the outside but you can fit 4 full size adults in it with very little complaints.  The hatch area is decidedly small so don’t expect cram a massive stroller in there but it will handle your standard Sam’s runs with no problem.  The seats in our tester were wonderfully supportive and comfortable but it did lack power anything.  Which we found was rather annoying trying to adjust.

So does it actually ‘zoom-zoom’?  Where most other vehicles are rather sedate feeling during normal driving the 2016 Mazda CX-3 excels at it. This is not a vehicle you drive with sweaty palms at 10/10ths.  This vehicle is a blast driving at 5/10ths.  The CX-3 will put a smile on your face flinging it into a parking space or taking the long twisty route to work.  Sport mode really needs to be renamed to Zoom-Zoom mode because gives you added weight to the steering along with sharpening the drivetrain which adds to the smiles per gallon factor.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Side Driving Motion

This is probably one of the most fuel efficient vehicles I have ever driven.  It’s all due to the Skyactiv motor found under the hood.  It’s tuned for maximum efficiency in any given scenario and the results are stunning.  I have a lead foot and even with my dumbass it got 28.4 mpg in the city.  That is not a typo.   There are some issues worth mentioning. Mazda is concentrating on the Sky part rather than the Active part.  The numbers aren’t bad at 146 horsepower and 146 ft/lbs of torque but it sounds rather coarse and motor never really comes on cam.  It just well….kinda goes.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Front Quarter

While some of Mazda’s competitors are asking you to go places or some are just seemingly asking you to dream.  Mazda is telling you from the get-go that you will have fun in their cars.  I don’t know about you but that’s a manufacturer worth exploring.