2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD new car reviews

The Mazda CX-3 is one of our favorite small crossovers. It carries people and their stuff in typical Mazda fashion. It feels a little lighter on its feet than the competition while offering a good value.

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Joe Gearin Joe Gearin

We’ve always been a fan of Mazda’s focus on driving pleasure. While other carmakers seem fixated on rushing to market with automated cars, Mazda still cares about those who would rather drive themselves. This holds true even with their “cute utes” as we found when we recently sampled their new CX-3 Grand Touring AWD.

As the name implies, this is the fanciest version of Mazda’s sporty little trucklet. Our CX-3 came equipped with heads-up display, rain sensing wipers, sat-nav, lane change departure warnings, radar guided cruise control, and even heated seats. Even with every feature under the sun, our tester still came with a window sticker under $30K. Luckily, even though our CX-3 packed a heavy load of equipment, Mazda didn’t forget about driving fun.

With accurate steering and a firm but comfortable ride, the CX-3 was a perfect mount to tackle L.A.’s asphalt jungle. In the urban cut and thrust, the little Mazda performed well, easily zipping in and out of openings in traffic. The little Skyactive 2.0 four is a bit strained, but the manumatic transmission does it’s best to keep the engine in it’s power band. Handling is superb for this type of vehicle, easily the best in it’s segment. The CX-3 continuously surprised us with it’s cornering aplomb, as it feels more like a sports sedan than a ute. Fuel mileage was decent too, returning an average of 26.6 mpg in very congested city driving.

About the only drawback we can find about the CX-3 Grand Touring is it’s size. Back seat leg room is adequate for small children only, even with a short driver behind the wheel. This one drawback may disqualify the spunky little Mazda from many shopping lists. The lack of rear legroom is a pity, as otherwise the CX-3 is a good looking, practical and fun little runabout.

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