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2016 Mazda CX-3: Tiny CUV Packs Plenty Of Fun

Crossovers suck! …said the average enthusiast, who might be looking to eat their own words in the near future. Crossovers have gotten a lot better, and a whole lot more engaging to drive. Exhibit M: The Mazda CX-3.

It’s a sub-compact CUV packing in a whole lot of driving enjoyment.

Do we wish there were more wagon options out there? Yes, no question.
Are there finally crossovers we can actually enjoy driving? Yes, absolutely.

The Mazda CX-3 is near the top of that list too, as long as you don’t have serious cargo space needs.

[Disclaimer: Mazda tossed us the keys to the CX-3 for a week and included a tank of gas. We drove the car hard and didn’t put much of a dent into that fuel gauge.]

  • JayP

    The CX3 gets really close to standard wagon/hatch territory.
    Its a good looking machine.

    • roguetoaster

      Concur. For reference:

      CX-3 168″ L x 70″ W x 61″ H 2,809lbs (min)
      Golf 167.5″ L x 70.8″ W x 57.2″ H 2,657lbs (min)

      It’s not a crossover, just a lifted hatchback in drag. At least we’re seeing the hatch return to mainstream favor, even if they had to rename the medicine to achieve that result.

  • Maymar

    The CX-3 might be an okay little machine, but the Mazda3 exists. Short of AWD (which I can gladly live without), there’s virtually no reason to buy the CX-3. It might be a little enthusiast-centric to point out the 3’s dynamic superiority (but then, if that’s meaningless to you, why are you shopping Mazda?), but the little CX is also more cramped and costs more. Uses more fuel too.

    They’ll sell a buttload of the things.

    • crank_case

      I hear a lot of mention of the 3 when people talking about the CX3, I guess the natural assumption is that it’s analogous with the 3 given the name, but it’s a bit of a sneaky switcheroo by Mazda and is actually a jacked up Mazda 2, which I believe has denied the US market the new 2 in the process. We’ve got a previous gen Mazda 2 as our main daily car, which my wife drives most the time, and it’s a great wee thing despite only 75bhp. A simple, honest car that does most the things you need really. If I could get a 2 with 143bhp, perhaps even 4WD but minus the increased ride height, that might be interesting, but then again: Fiesta ST exists.

      • Maymar

        I’ve got a ’14 2 as well, blessed with 100 North American-spec horsepower, wonderful little car. I found the CX3 felt rather bloated in comparison, although trying to hustle one after coming straight out of a Miata doesn’t help.

        But, as we don’t get the new 2, the 3 becomes the natural point of comparison, especially because it’s better in every way.

  • Scubie

    We’ve had a Mazda CX-5 since they were released here in New Zealand – 2012. We are blessed with the 2.2 turbo diesel – and absolute gem of an engine. I suspect the CX-3 will be equally enjoyable… I must check it out.

  • outback_ute

    I can’t believe how high the window line kicks up for the rear doors, children would have no hope of seeing out.

  • CraigSu

    I do wonder how that 147HP would be affected by adding another 300-500 lbs of passenger and gear.

  • 1977ChevyTruck

    My aunt and uncle have had one of these for about two months.

    I think it’s too small, but this replaced the Echo hatch they gave to their daughter, so I guess it’s an upgrade…

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