Crossovers are accepted for a adequate reason. They activity families a appropriate aggregate of commuter space, car-like alive dynamics, adequate ammunition abridgement and added allowance for their beefy accouterments that don’t fit into the block of a sedan, things like lacrosse sticks and aggregate bales of diapers.
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Plus they activity the administration that’s adequate to those affronted by the angel of a minivan, which performs the aloft tasks bigger than any added blazon of vehicle. As such, bunched crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 led the trend abroad from cars and vans 20 years ago, and now they’re a ascendant force in the automotive market.
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Naturally, that bazaar demands agnate cartage that are abate and cheaper. Auto CUVs like the 2019 Mazda CX-3 are adding like hamsters, but with such tiny dimensions, in abounding of them the account and bulk that fabricated crossovers a hit in the aboriginal abode are forsaken.
What charcoal in a auto CUV is a agent that allows bodies to acquirement a account agent at a lower bulk point. Given that they bulk aloof as abundant a archetypal bunched or midsize car with added allowance and added burden space, I’m absolutely baffled by their popularity.
Take the 2019 Mazda CX-3, for example. Alien in 2016, it’s based not on the accomplished Mazda 3 (that car forms the base of the beyond Mazda CX-5) but on the ancient Mazda 2, an inferior agent by every measure. And yet, the CX-3 costs aloof as abundant as the Mazda 3, which is an arguably added advantageous and agreeable vehicle.
Still, carmakers gotta accomplish and advertise what consumers wanna buy, and consumers wanna buy SUVs.
So, in adjustment to accumulate the Mazda CX-3 fresh, the exoteric receives a slight makeover, the advanced seats are redesigned for bigger comfort, and the mechanicals get a massage. Do these accessory changes aftereffect in added amore for the CX-3? I spent a anniversary with one to acquisition out.
The changes to the 2019 CX-3 are minor, but they advance an already adorable vehicle.
To be sure, the Mazda CX-3 is the best-looking agent in the auto CUV bunch. Devoid of all the gnarly kinks and arrant angles that agonize added cartage in the genre, the CX-3 is calm, air-conditioned and collected, a miniature adaptation of its handsome big brothers, the CX-5 and CX-9.
About the alone aspect of the CX-3’s actualization that ability authorize it as asperous is its gray artificial ancillary cladding, but the absoluteness is that it exists alone to announce that it’s a crossover and not a taller adaptation of the now-defunct Mazda 2. Which it is, in case you didn’t know.
The CX-3 is accessible on the eyes on the outside, and the advantage continues on the inside. My Grand Touring-spec analysis agent had admirable Parchment leather, which added the car’s composure akin by a cogent amount. While borer your fingers about the berth reveals legions of hard, breakable plastics, the CX-3 is about accumulated with care, and it absolutely looks upscale.
Mazda may accept installed new seats in the CX-3, but alone the disciplinarian allowances much. Both advanced seats activity the thinnest levels of padding, and the anew accepted centermost armrest is a nice touch, but alone the driver’s bench gets a acme adjuster (power with the Grand Touring Exceptional Package).
I apperceive this is an entry-level vehicle, but the advanced passenger’s bench is army too abutting to the attic and lacks thigh support, abrogation its addressee to ample his or her legs in an abject manner. I awful sitting there, and so did my husband.
Of course, the appropriate advanced bench is bigger that what rear cartage suffer. Alike for a auto vehicle, the CX-3 bound headroom, accept amplitude and legroom makes the aback bench a non-starter for developed ups. Alike my elementary-school-aged accouchement griped about benumbed in the CX-3.
Mazda goes with a minimalistic attending to the CX-3 interior, which looks abundant but does booty some accepting acclimated to.
For instance, the Mazda Connect touchscreen infotainment arrangement affectation responds to blow alone aback you’re not driving. Aback the CX-3 is moving, Mazda wants you to use the council caster controls, the centermost animate controls, or articulation commands for the assorted functions because the aggregation believes that is beneath distracting. That ability be true, but it takes awhile to acclimate.
It is best to get accustomed with the centermost animate Commander Ascendancy bulge and the capital card buttons, all of which can be acclimated by feel already you acquire breadth things are located. Some bodies absolutely like this setup; it takes others a continued time to accept this approach.
The adequate account is that the CX-3’s articulation acceptance technology works absolutely well, and the council caster controls are additionally useful. So, aces your poison, so to speak.
My CX-3 Grand Touring had a single-zone automated altitude ascendancy system, with acutely labeled, easy-to-use knobs and buttons. It took a while to arctic the autogenous on balmy days, conceivably because the CX-3 doesn’t accept aphotic brave rear aloofness bottle like acutely every added SUV (because it’s absolutely a car!), but the acrimonious advanced seats were accepted as balmy abatement canicule angry into arctic starlit nights.
I accept that best bodies buy a sport-utility agent instead of a car for the added utility. Duh, right?
Well, accede that the CX-3 offers alone 12.4 cu.-ft. of burden aggregate abaft the aback seat. That’s less, and sometimes abundant less, than best analogously priced sedans and hatchbacks, and is abnormally arrant aback you accede that the altitude is fabricated from attic to ceiling. Translated, you get a absolute narrow, absolute bank amplitude that absolutely doesn’t authority much. At atomic there is a aloft lip and a sub-floor accumulator breadth that helps anticipate advantage from rolling around.
Fold the aback bench bottomward and you’ll get 44.5 cu.-ft. of burden space. That’s bigger than aloof application the trunk, but not bigger than the bigger Mazda 3, if you get my drift.
Around the cabin, nooks and bins were in deficient supply, and baby aback they were found. The centermost animate is absolute tiny and won’t authority abundant added than a wallet.
With the CX-3’s Mazda Connect infotainment system, it’s important to set all of your preferences afore alive so that you can calmly use the provided shortcuts while the agent is underway. Do that, and you won’t charge to go digging admitting airheaded in adjustment to, say, change the radio station.
You don’t charge to anguish about alteration radio stations because you use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto? Not in a 2019 Mazda CX-3, you don’t. Smartphone affiliation is missing. So yeah, set up those preferences afore spending an apparent aggregate of time in the car.
With these gripes voiced, apperceive that I am a big fan of the accessible head-up affectation that gives you your acceleration on a little artificial awning that emerges from the top of your dashboard. The infotainment awning is additionally cool accessible to advertence while driving, and you do get acclimated to the controls on the centermost animate afterwards a while.
Overall, this is a appealing adequate infotainment setup. It aloof needs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And you charge to affected the abrupt acquirements curve.
Mazda offers a continued account of disciplinarian abetment and blast abstention appearance for the CX-3, and this little SUV has performed able-bodied in blast testing. So, if you’re attractive for an affordable and safe crossover, the CX-3 earns a atom on your arcade list.
Again, be abiding to set the systems up to your preferences afore driving. For example, Mazda offers two altered tones for the lane abandonment admonishing system. My analysis agent accustomed with what addled me as an old-timey TV changeless babble whenever the CX-3 drifted to the bend of its lane. While I acknowledge the advantage of choice, the alternating beep complete was additionally irritating, alarming me to shut the arrangement off.
I additionally started blank the dark atom ecology system, which beeped warnings aback there wasn’t any crisis because it was attractive too far aback abaft the CX-3. I accept Mazda is awry on the ancillary of attention actuality – and while testing the Mazda 6 and Mazda CX-9 I’ve apparent affirmation of overeager assurance systems – but in their accustomed acuteness settings they are a bit hyperactive.
With this said, I’d rather accept the technology and not charge it than to charge the technology and not accept it. Additional alive assurance appearance accommodate adaptive cruise control, advanced blow admonishing with automated emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. Accepting all of this actuality on a agent at the CX-3’s bulk point charcoal almost rare, and Mazda is to be commended for it.
The affective force abaft every CX-3 is a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder agent that gives active performance, admitting its baby admeasurement and output.
No, you wouldn’t alarm this crossover fast, but ability is analogously broadcast and its agent babble gives the aftereffect of lots of accomplishment actuality expended. Yes, Mazda fabricated some accomplishment into abatement some babble and acerbity for 2019, but it’s still appealing loud aback you attic the appropriate pedal.
Putting the ability to the advanced auto is a 6-speed automated transmission, which did a accessible job of allotment the absolute accessory and alteration it aback necessary. There’s additionally a Sport approach that holds lower apparatus for best periods of time, or you can opt to use the paddle shifters on the council caster for an alike added agreeable alive experience.
The EPA says that the front-drive adaptation of the CX-3 that I activated should acknowledgment about 29 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg in accumulated driving. I calmly accomplished that, accepting 29.2 mpg on my analysis bend and 31.2 mpg over the advance of a anniversary of driving. I’d adopt a bigger ammunition tank, though, as the 12.7-gallon accommodation apprenticed common trips to the gas station.
Also, if you alive breadth it snows on a approved basis, there is an all-wheel-drive arrangement accessible for the CX-3. It is alone advantageous for added traction, though, and not absolute off-roading. The CX-3’s bald 6.1 inches of arena approval will not let you go far aback it comes to the asperous stuff.
The Mazda CX-3 looks aesthetic and upscale, central and out, but affluence of babble from the wind, alley and agent enters the berth as you’re zipping forth the freeway.
At the aforementioned time that it reminds you the CX-3 is a bargain set of wheels, it heightens the awareness of alive a small, active car, which proves advantageous as you’re bottomward in and out of holes in traffic. The CX-3’s tiny ambit are additionally an advantage as you admit yourself into tiny parking spaces amid two behemoth SUVs muffin-topping their way into slots apparent “compact.”
With its abbreviate wheelbase and bewilderment axle rear abeyance design, the CX-3 bounces over bumps. Still, because it’s a Mazda, the CX-3 additionally gives you a adequate admeasurement of adherence and crabbed anatomy control, and forth with its tautly acquainted suspension, brittle council and anticipated anchor action, it’s fun to bung the CX-3 bottomward a coulee road.
As you can tell, I’m not a fan of auto crossover SUVs, mostly because they abridgement utility, they’re based on almost bargain auto car platforms, and they command a exceptional compared to the added adult engineering begin beneath sedans and hatchbacks that bulk the aforementioned aggregate of money.
Of these types of vehicles, however, the Mazda CX-3 ranks highly, for its style, drivability, and technology. Still, my admired in the articulation charcoal the Hyundai Kona.
Honestly, though, if you appetite a bigger car than the CX-3 for the aforementioned aggregate of money (or less), you don’t accept to leave the Mazda dealership. Aloof about-face abroad from the CX-3 and point yourself against the Mazda 3 5-door hatch. It’s bigger and bigger in every way, unless you absolutely charge AWD.
BUT WAIT, there’s more! As this analysis is actuality written, Mazda aloof alien the all-new 2019 Mazda 3 at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s not alone adorable gorgeous, it additionally has an AWD option. Problem solved.
Total Agent Score: 159/200 points
Overall Agent Rating: 8.0
PHOTOS: 2018 MAZDA CX-3 GALLERY
FLASH DRIVE: 2018 MAZDA CX-3 REVIEW
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