2019 Mazda CX-3 Review: Great for Commuting and Road Trips

The compact, crossover SUV is all the rage, and Mazda joined the fray with the CX-3 in 2016. The 2019 model is new and improved with a lot of tweaks that enhance the experience it offers to drivers and passengers alike. This compact crossover allows people to get into an SUV at a lower price without sacrificing a quality ride.


This car starts at $20,390, and the highest configuration goes for a little over $27,000. There are a lot of things added, and it costs just a little bit more than the 2018 model. None of the changes are major, but combined they make it a better vehicle when compared to previous years’ models.

What's new

Mazda gave this car a nice upgrade for 2019, including a stylish new exterior design. Features like a new inner grille, more chrome on the sides, and rear lights give the vehicle a fresh look. Inside there are more obvious changes, like larger front seats and the option of leather for seats and the steering wheel. Other changes give drivers more room with the console, and the parking brake is now electronic.


Besides an updated look, the CX-3 now boasts improved performance and safety features. Mazda adds its vectoring-control program to improve the steering and ride while the engine has a little more power. All trim levels offer better safety-related technology. For example, automatic braking up to 19 mph and the backup camera are standard on all trims. Bluetooth and a 7-inch color display are also standard on all models this year. Noise was a complaint in previous years, but Mazda has improved on this issue for the 2019-year model.

The powertrain

There is only one engine available for the CX-3, but Mazda has improved its horsepower. The engine is a 2.0-liter four cylinder that puts out 148 horsepower and 146 foot-pounds of torque, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option for those who are interested. Handling is improved through tweaks to the suspension and adding vector control.

Trim levels

CX-3 has three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.

Sport

The Sport trim package has 16-inch wheels, a spoiler, keyless entry and ignition, and 60-40 adjustable folding rear seats. A rearview camera, USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system are all standard. Other features include blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.

Touring

The Touring trim has all that the Sport offers and adds 18-inch wheels, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, heated front seats, and more. Drivers can use Internet radio apps through the decently sized infotainment center. An overhead console adds more convenience for storing small items. Automatic climate control and heated front seats are also standard.

Grand Touring

The Grand Touring trim adds more options, including adaptive headlights, chrome trim, leather seats, and a premium sound system with satellite radio and navigation. It adds pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and automatic high-beam lights to the safety features. Adaptive cruise control at all speeds is another bonus at this trim level.

Performance

EPA figures put this vehicle’s fuel economy at roughly 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The Sport trim level has paddle shifters on the steering wheel, so it’s easy to tweak the overall driving experience. Handling, steering, and overall driving fun are marks of the Mazda, and this model is no exception. It goes from 0 to 60 in a little over 8 seconds, which is fairly decent for an SUV. It can stop from 60 mph in 118 feet and can also do a quarter of a mile in 16.3 seconds, reaching 85 mph. All in all, not bad for its class!

Utility

This small SUV has big doors that open easily and widely, so it is quite easy to get in and out of the vehicle. There is plenty of room in front for the driver and one passenger, although it is small in the back. Fortunately, the back opens nicely, so moving gear around is easy. Behind the back seat, there is 12.4 cubic feet of space, which is a bit small for a vehicle of this size. Folding the back seats flat does boost this area to a slightly roomier 44.5 cubic feet of space.


As for the front of the vehicle, the redesigned parking brake adds more space to the console, which is a nice touch. There is also an added storage area beneath the redesigned armrest that creates more room for personal items. The 7-inch infotainment screen is intuitive for the most part, meaning there can be less distractions for the driver.

Conclusion

The excellent handling of the 2019 Mazda CX-3 makes it fun to drive. The only real drawback is the interior space. There is not a lot of room in the back seat, and the rear cargo area is relatively small as well. While space may be a drawback, this is a great vehicle for those who don’t need to carry along some larger items or gear. The fuel economy makes this little machine a great commuter, and it’s perfect for a fun road trip.


***Not all features come standard.