First Look: 2016 Mazda CX-3

Oh come on! ANOTHER small crossover? Don’t we already have enough of them roaming our roads?” Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my reaction every time I hear another automaker introducing a new crossover into the already supersaturated American crossover/SUV market.

However, when Mazda announced they would be introducing a new small crossover to slot underneath the Mazda CX-5, the CX-3, I said: “wait, this could be something fun and interesting.” 

All Mazda vehicles are built with the “Zoom-Zoom” philosophy, which usually results in fun, dynamic, and engaging automobiles.

After all, this is the company that re-introduced us to the lightweight and nimble MX-5 Miata roadster, and the RX-7, which was powerful enough to challenge the legendary Porsche 911.

So, is the new Mazda CX-3 as fun and exciting as the rest of the models in the company’s lineup?

First Impression

This is not a crossover, it is an art piece on wheels,” was my response when I first saw the CX-3 crossover last year. Crossovers are designed for utility, not for beauty. In a segment filled with boring boxes on wheels, the CX-3 is like a shining beacon, attracting those who want something practical in a very stylish package.

The Mazda CX-3 has knockout exterior styling, a lush interior, and an engaging chassis.

Purely based on looks, the CX-3 is a winner. However, I am afraid the crossover does sacrifice a bit of practicality with its rakish roof-line and cargo space behind the second row seats.


The 2016 Mazda CX-3 comes fitted with a 2.0 L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 146 horsepower and 146 lb.ft.torque. Standard transmission is a six-speed automatic (manual transmission is not offered – sorry three-pedal loyalists).

Power is routed to the front wheels as standard or can be sent to all four wheels with an optional $1,250 AWD system.

What’s New

The Mazda CX-3 is all-new for 2016 and comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. All CX-3 trim levels come well equipped with a host of safety and luxury features.

The Mazda CX-3 sport has a starting price of $20,840 and includes the aforementioned 6-speed automatic transmission, Mazda Connect with 7-in touchscreen, push-button start, backup camera, and power windows and locks.

The mid-level Mazda CX-3 Touring ($22,840) adds leatherette and cloth heated front seats, a center armrest, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, blind-spot monitoring, and heated side mirrors.

Mazda CX-3 Touring owners can opt for the Technology Package ($1,410) which adds sunroof, adaptive headlights, head-up display, Sirius XM satellite radio, and rear cargo cover.

The top-of-the-range Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring ($25,870) adds leather-and-suede two-tone seats, paddle shifters, a 7-speaker Bose audio system, and full LED exterior lighting on top of the Touring’s technology package.

The i-ACTIVSENSE package ($1,920) available for CX-3 Grand Touring owners adds automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Left Headlight

2016 Mazda CX-3 Left Headlight


The Mazda CX-3 compact crossover will go on sale this fall as a 2016 model.

The base price of $20,840 might sound a bit expensive compared to its competitors like the Jeep Renegade and the Honda HR-V.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade Sport has a starting price of $18,990 with the manual transmission. Models equipped with the automatic transmission start at $21,685. The 2015 Honda HR-V starts at $19,995 with a manual gearbox. Models fitted with the automatic begin at $20,795. 

To be fair, all these prices are for front-wheel-drive models.

Regardless, I am still impressed with the Mazda CX-3.

Additional 2016 Mazda CX-3 Images:

Information and Image Source: Mazda USA

About The Author

I have been in love with cars since I was three years old. My obsession for cars began when my father took me out at night to name cars by just either their headlights or taillights. Since then, my love for cars has blossomed into a career as a motoring journalist and I am excited to take you guys with me on this high-speed adventure!

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