As crossovers execute their steady coup over sedans, brands are in a race to provide value in the small, practical packages that good crossovers offer. And crossovers don’t get much smaller than the 2019 Mazda CX-3. It’s a pint-sized SUV with plenty of personality, packing excellent fuel economy and Mazda’s trademark driving dynamics into a stylish package. With a few practical updates for the coming year, it remains at the forefront of the subcompact crossover segment.
What's New for 2019
The 2019 CX-3 gets a substantial refresh, including both aesthetic and mechanical upgrades. The engine has been subtly retuned for a wider torque curve and a couple extra horses. On the interior, the cable-operated parking brake becomes electronic, which makes room for a new center console. Materials are fancier across the board (with a new option for all-leather seats), and more safety equipment is now standard. The exterior and suspension see a few tweaks as well.
Choosing Your Mazda CX-3
Under the hood of every CX-3 is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, part of Mazda’s SkyActiv line. It pumps out 148 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque, but the really impressive numbers are the EPA-estimated mileage: 29 miles per gallon city, 34 mpg highway, and 31 combined for front-wheel drive models. All-wheel drive (which is a $1,400 option on all trims) causes a two-mpg drop in all categories, but those are class-leading figures either way.
Where the CX-3 doesn’t lead the pack is cargo space. With 12.4 cubic feet of capacity behind the rear seats and 44.5 cubes with the seats down, the CX-3 has less than even the Mazda 3 hatchback. The rear seats are livable but compact.
The best seat is the one behind the wheel, where you can enjoy the responsive and retuned suspension and the new standard interior. Mazda is trying to pack luxury features into even their smallest cars, which means that all CX-3s have features like push-button start, power side mirrors, a rearview camera, and multiple USB ports. Infotainment options run through a seven-inch central display with voice commands but no touchscreen. More safety features are now included, like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an upgraded tire-pressure monitoring system.
Though the mechanical details don’t change, the rest of the options are doled out across three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.
The value sweet spot for the 2019 Mazda CX-3 is the Touring trim, which adds just enough luxury at a modest price increase. The better news is that the zippy handling is present across all three trims. If you love to drive, this is as good a crossover as you’ll find.
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