Already a standout for its impressive fuel-efficiency, award-winning design, top safety scores, spirited driving dynamics and upscale amenities, 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 30 km/h. CX-3 joins several other vehicles in Mazda’s lineup as carrying this critical piece of safety equipment as standard, including the 2018 Mazda3 Sport five-door hatchback and CX-9 seven-passenger crossover.
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 GX trim is now available with a choice of manual or automatic transmission in front-wheel drive, and is paired with a 2.0 litre SKYACTIV-G engine. The CX-3 GX also comes standard with push button start, air conditioning, 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 GS replaces CX-3 GX’s 16-inch steel wheels with covers for 16-inch alloy wheels and upgrades the standard cloth seats to heated premium grade cloth seats. CX-3 GS also comes with automatic on/off headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Newly standard features for CX-3 GS include Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a heated steering wheel, and automatic climate control.
The Luxury Package escalates Mazda’s mid-trim model with a power moonroof, leatherette-trimmed upholstery with Lux Suede inserts, black soft touch front panel with red stitching and satin chrome band, satin chrome front and rear inner door handles and meter set trim, and front and rear door armrests and center console side accents in dark red with red stitching.
The newly created i-ACTIVSENSE Package adds Mazda’s range of active safety equipment, including Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), Smart Brake Support (SBS), Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), High Beam Control System (HBC), Distance Recognition Support System (DRSS), LED headlights with auto levelling, Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), LED rear combination lights with signature lighting, and color Active Driving Display (ADD).
Finally, the CX-3 GT builds upon the GS Luxury Package and includes Pure White or black leather with red accents and Lux Suede upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power driver’s seat, power driver’s lumbar support, 2-position driver memory seat, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights, LED daytime running lights, Mazda Navigation, BOSE premium audio with 7-speakers, advanced keyless entry, a full-color Active Driving Display head-up unit and paddle shifters.
The GT Technology Package tops off CX-3 with Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), Smart Brake Support (SBS) for highway speeds, Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW), Lane-Departure Warning System (LDWS), High Beam Control (HBC), Distance Recognition Support System (DRSS), Traffic Sign Recognition, and SiriusXM™ satellite radio with free 6-month subscription.
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” driving philosophy.
All CX-3 models come with a standard SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine that delivers a 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, paired for the first time with an efficient SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual transmission in the GX trim. A SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission is also available. 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.
The Mazda CX-3 available for the Canadian market has a starting retail price of Canadian dollars 19,995.