2019 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring Front Wheel Drive new car reviews

The Mazda CX-5 has been a GRM favorite for a while. At last count, we have two in the family–which is two more than the next popular crossover in the family.

The CX-3, though, hadn’t previously caught our eye. Is it just a jacked-up Mazda2 or its own unique animal? The Mazda media site makes a bold claim: “Creating the standard for a new era.”

The CX-3’s 2.0-liter engine now produces 148 horsepower along with 146 lb.-ft. of torque. The rest of the car got a big refresh for 2019 as well: new grille, new standard electronic parking brake, new center armrest, new seats, new available leather seating, new interior design, new wheel options, new packages and more. It’s like a new car.

The CX-3 lineup starts with the Sport: $20,390 with front-drive and $21,790 with all-wheel drive. The range tops out with the Grand Touring, our tester, that retails for $25,745 and $27,145, respectively.

The big question: Can the CX-3 replace the much-loved CX-5? Read the full review to see what our CX-5 owners had to say.

Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

I guess I should have known this, being an automotive journalist and all, but I totally thought the Mazda CX-3 was a slightly jacked and flared version of the Mazda3, seeing as how they both have 3 in their names. And I thought to myself, “Man, that 3 is a great car, and a little more crossover version would be awesome and more fun than the average crossover.”

But it turns out the CX-3 is actually a pumped version of the Mazda2, while the CX-5 is the ute version of the 3. Which, you’d think I already know since MY WIFE OWNS A CX-5 AND WE LOVE IT SO DEARLY.

Anyway, besides me being stupid, the CX-3 is okay, I guess. It’s a fun, zippy compact crossover that would be an excellent $25,000 car, except it’s like almost $28,000 when fully loaded. It’s well-equipped, but our CX-5 is even better equipped and was only a grand or two more than that.

So I guess when I thought that a utilized Mazda3 would be a great idea I was right all along, I just didn’t realize there was one parked in my yard. The CX-3’s inherent fun and usefulness is betrayed by its own price and need to stuff more features into a car of this class than the market really warrants.

Rick Goolsby Rick Goolsby
Events Manager

In comparing the Mazda CX-3 to my CX-5, I found them to be very similar. Fit and finish were the same. Power and handling were same. The only notable difference was how many people I could carry comfortably and how many bags of mulch and plants I could haul.

Overall I really liked the CX-3, but I would probably opt for a Mazda 3 hatchback or the CX-5 for more room.

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Comments
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T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
9/7/18 1:36 p.m.

I love that chromey deep red paint on these. I've seen it on some other Mazdas as well. Not sure what they call it, but it is a nice color. I usually don't like red cars.

 

EDIT: Soul Red Chrystal Mettalic looks like the color name. $595 option. http://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2017/06/09/mazdas-slick-new-soul-red-crystal-color-might-be-trickier-for-painters/

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
9/7/18 1:39 p.m.

I still don't know how I feel about these cars. a part of me is waiting for a slightly wrecked one to show up on co-part that is AWD cheap and make some sort of bizzare rally car out of it. The rest of me still knows its a mazda2 and I don't fit in it. 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
9/7/18 2:09 p.m.

I thought the CX5 was based on the 6.... eh, whatever. At least it looks decent.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
9/7/18 6:41 p.m.

I'm not interested in SUVs, I just like the paint. 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
9/7/18 9:20 p.m.

When will hot rodders start 'chopping' the tops of these cuvs?

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
9/7/18 10:11 p.m.
T.J. said:

I'm not interested in SUVs, I just like the paint. 

Mazda has the strongest red paint game this side of the alfa 8c. 

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
9/7/18 10:32 p.m.

It seems like the CX-3 is a great vehicle for its class, but I don't personally understand the point. Compare it to the Mazda3 hatch. They have the same ground clearance (within .1").  Cargo volume seat up, the Mazda3 has significantly more. Seats folded down their cargo volumes are within 3 cubic feet. Combined fuel economy numbers are within 1 MPG. Total passenger volume is 9 cubic feet in favor of the Mazda3.

Marketing (aka. cladding) and optional AWD is the only thing differentiating them. The overall styling is pretty darn similar. Seems like Mazda could have just offered a 3 with AWD and saved a lot of money in development, etc. The CX-5 is on the same platform, so presumably it would be easy to reuse parts.

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
9/8/18 7:39 a.m.

In reply to Snrub :

Look at what actually sells in the US and you have your answer. You are being far too clinical about the specs. Specs rarely sell a car to the layman.

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
9/8/18 5:13 p.m.
singleslammer said:

In reply to Snrub :

Look at what actually sells in the US and you have your answer. You are being far too clinical about the specs. Specs rarely sell a car to the layman.

I get that crossovers are the thing that sells. I don't understand how it's a crossover other than the cladding. Seriously, what am I missing? :)

chuyler2
chuyler2 New Reader
9/12/18 9:55 a.m.

I had a CX5 and CX3 as loaner cars within a week of each other while I was getting warranty work done on my CX9.  If it weren't for towing capacity I would absolutely trade in my CX9 for the CX5.  It's a great vehicle that is just the right size.  On the other hand, the CX3 is very small.  It would be the perfect city bruiser that you could dart around traffic with. Tall enough to see around other vehicles with enough suspension travel to plow through pot holes and patchwork.  Just like the Mazda2 though, if you don't fold down the rear seats all you can fit in the back is 2 grocery bags.  Adults also won't be very comfortable in those rear seats.  The steep angle of the rear hatch and high floor means nothing tall will fit and it's a narrow hatch opening.  I wouldn't want to attempt to move out of a city apartment with a CX3.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/12/18 10:21 a.m.
Snrub said:
singleslammer said:

In reply to Snrub :

Look at what actually sells in the US and you have your answer. You are being far too clinical about the specs. Specs rarely sell a car to the layman.

I get that crossovers are the thing that sells. I don't understand how it's a crossover other than the cladding. Seriously, what am I missing? :)

Nothing. You're just making the typical, contrarian GRM "it's not something that I would buy, so why does ANYONE else buy it" post that is very common.

Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes New Reader
9/12/18 2:35 p.m.

I either read it somewhere or somehow overheard it but the CX2 far outsells the Mazda3....at least the 3 sedan (does anyone buy a 3 sedan?) and most buyers are young women buying their 1st new car. 

CyberEric
CyberEric HalfDork
9/12/18 2:43 p.m.

My dad bought the 3 sedan! Ha, I didn't understand it, but apparently my mom couldn't see out the back of the hatch, and she has backed into several cars over the years, including my E36 M3 TWICE! And yes, backup camera didn't help. 

What's the price difference between a CX-3 and a 2.0 3 hatchback? 

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/12/18 3:19 p.m.
CyberEric said:

My dad bought the 3 sedan! Ha, I didn't understand it, but apparently my mom couldn't see out the back of the hatch, and she has backed into several cars over the years, including my E36 M3 TWICE! And yes, backup camera didn't help. 

What's the price difference between a CX-3 and a 2.0 3 hatchback? 

 

www.mazdausa.com devil

CyberEric
CyberEric HalfDork
9/12/18 4:04 p.m.

I'm too lazy! cheeky

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