The Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover SUV has undergone its first round of thoughtful improvements, treating drivers to an impressive value with available features they might not find in vehicles costing twice as much.
Newly standard for every trim level is Smart City Brake Support, which can automatically apply the brakes in emergency situations below 19 mph. CX-3 joins several other vehicles in Mazda’s lineup as carrying this critical piece of safety equipment as standard, including the 2018 Mazda3 compact sedan and 5-door and CX-5 compact crossover SUV.
CX-3’s driving experience is complemented by Mazda’s exclusive G-Vectoring Control, which uses the engine in conjunction with steering and throttle inputs to minutely reduce engine torque, putting more weight on the front wheels and making the steering feel more linear and direct. As a result, the driver is able to gain more confidence and control behind the wheel.
The entry-level CX-3 Sport trim comes with standard cloth seats, power windows, power remote door locks, power mirrors, two USB ports, backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio pairing and MAZDA CONNECT, among a long list of other features. MAZDA CONNECT features a standard 7-inch, full-color display that combines infotainment and diagnostic functions in one place, controlled through voice commands, a touchscreen while at standstill or the Commander control knob when the vehicle is in motion.
The mid-level CX-3 Touring replaces CX-3 Sport’s standard 16-inch alloy wheels with 18-inch wheels and replaces cloth seats with leatherette and Lux Suede upholstery. CX-3 Touring also comes with Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, heated front seats and heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Newly standard features for CX-3 Touring include auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic climate control.
The Touring Preferred Equipment Package escalates Mazda’s mid-trim model with a BOSE Premium audio system with seven speakers, power glass moonroof, SiriusXM satellite radio with a 4-month subscription, HD Radio and a cargo cover.
Finally, CX-3 Grand Touring builds upon the Preferred Equipment Package and includes Parchment or black leather with red accents and Lux Suede upholstery, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights, LED daytime running lights, Mazda Navigation, a full-color Active Driving Display head-up unit and paddle shifters.
The GT Premium Package tops off CX-3 with Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support for highway speeds, Lane-Departure Warning, High Beam Control and all-new features that include a 6-way power driver’s seat, power driver’s lumbar support, 2-position driver memory seat, heated steering wheel and Traffic Sign Recognition.
While many improvements can be seen in the cabin, some of CX-3’s greatest changes can only be felt from behind the wheel such as revised suspension bushings, new front lower control arms, recalibrated dampers and new engine mounts, all designed to benefit CX-3’s already class-leading chassis dynamics. Further, the 2018 CX-3 comes with improved door seals, thicker rear glass and sound suppression mats added underneath the floor and dashboard for a more refined, “Mazda Premium” experience.
And, because Mazda’s engineering team doesn’t believe in waiting for major redesigns to implement changes that benefit consumers, throttle and transmission responsiveness have also been improved, complementing Mazda’s “Jinba Ittai”—horse and rider as one—driving philosophy.
All CX-3 models sold come with a standard SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine that delivers a 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, paired with an efficient SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard; Mazda’s predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is available on every trim level, feeding information from 27 sensors found in CX-3 to predict road conditions and send power wherever it’s needed without the unnerving drivetrain reactions or slipping that can be felt in some competitors during inclement conditions.