2018 Mazda CX-3 review
Our Rating


2017 Mazda CX-3 review

In the competitive compact crossover market, Mazda has thrown its hat into the ring with the CX-3. But can it dislodge its rivals?


The current car market has one segment that has, and is still, booming – the crossover sector – and it is one that shows no sign of slowing down as manufacturers continue to develop and build new models for it every year.

The compact area of the crossover segment is one that is expansive and wide-ranging, with almost every major manufacturer now wanting to have a slice of the pie – including Mazda.

With rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka X, the CX-3 has plenty of competition, but by taking inspiration from its larger sibling – the CX-5 – this model could very well prove to be a great option.

But can this model impress like many other Mazdas before it and be a genuine option in the crammed crossover market? We take a look…

Mazda CX-3 crossover
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The CX-3 we tested came with the 2.0-litre SkyActiv four-cylinder petrol that produces 118bhp and 204Nm of torque, which equates to a 0-60mph time of 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 119mph when paired to Mazda’s six-speed manual gearbox.

The petrol is more refined and exciting than the 1.5-litre diesel we tested alongside, but the diesel was more relaxing when cruising on the motorway. Here, the CX-3 came with front-wheel drive, but is available with intelligent all-wheel drive for that added grip and assurance.

Mazda CX-3 crossover

Ride & Handling

Mazdas are well-known for feeling much sportier than many of competitors, and that doesn’t change with the CX-3. As a genuine alternative to superminis or compact family hatchbacks, the CX-3 must be as exciting to drive or better, and it performs really well here.

It stops and steers better than most other rival crossovers when in town, although it is on the firmer side. Out of town, the sportier ride setup ensures that body roll is kept to a minimum and is much more fun to use than comparable options on the market – much like its larger CX-5 sibling.

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Mazda CX-3 crossover

Interior & Equipment

The CX-3 is well-sized for a compact crossover and the interior size complements that, as you get 350 litres of boot space, and when folding the 60/40 split rear seats down, you get 1,260 litres of storage. There are also many cubby holes and storage compartments throughout the cabin for added practicality. In terms of passenger space, the CX-3 fares well as rear passengers get plenty head and leg room.

The interior finish of the CX-3 is very upmarket despite its price point, as you get high-quality materials and lots of equipment from the base-level specification. Every switch and button feels much better than ones found in rivals.

Standard equipment for the CX-3 includes a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, a multi-functional leather steering wheel, satellite navigation, cruise control, heated and folding wing mirrors, daytime running lights, air conditioning and black cloth upholstery.

In the top-spec Sport Nav model we tested, there’s also get gunmetal grey 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, adaptive front lighting, chrome accenting on the grille and sills, reversing camera, a head-up display, a Bose surround sound system and a heated steering wheel – with the Safety Pack available as an optional extra.

Mazda CX-3 crossover


The CX-3 starts at a reasonable £18,495 when you consider the equipment and what the model has to offer – with many rivals not able to say the same. The Sport Nav model we had started at £20,795.

Depending on whether you go for the diesel or petrol, you should still return reasonable running costs, with the 2.0-litre petro we tested returning a quoted 47.9mpg and emitting 137g/km. Expect the diesel to come back with better, but that is still very good for a petrol-engined SUV.

Mazda CX-3 crossover


There are very few things wrong with the CX-3, as it drives well everywhere, has plenty of space and feels premium – despite the reasonable asking price. With the distinctive looks helping the CX-3 stand out compared to some of its more generic rivals, Mazda has done very well to make the model as appealing as possible. Crossover customers should definitely eye up the CX-3 as a potential option, as it does well in pretty much every category.

Test drive a new Mazda CX-3 today

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