01 Feb MAZDA CX-3
By Lacey Elliott
STYLING – Women want to look good behind the wheel, and we want the car we drive to excite us every time we see it. If we don’t like how it looks, taking it for a test drive is usually out of the question. There is no doubt that this sporty looking subcompact crossover turns heads of both men and women. I describe it as a perfect balance of aggressive and cute wrapped up in one great little package.
Mazda’s ‘Kodo’ design is powerful and sharp looking. Assertive headlights and a wide, forward stance make it look like it’s ready to pounce at any moment. I agree with Dan. Fluid lines bring it all together and looking at it from the side you can definitely describe it as ‘cutesy’. The good looks continue on the inside. Nothing in this segment comes close. The sweeping dash is well laid out and easy on the eyes. Splashes of color, large dials and plenty of soft touch points make this vehicle appear to cost more than it really does.
INTERIOR SPACE – I keep most of my personal belongs in my purse and toss that on an empty seat; keeping my cell phone and coffee cup close by. Lack of space is usually an issue in smaller cars and the CX-3 is no different. The cup holders are too close to my elbow and the rubberized pad for a phone won’t fit anything larger than the iPhone 6. I am smaller than Dan and found the front seat to be acceptable. The back seat however is another story. Adults will not be comfortable in the back seat, headroom is ok but legroom is extremely limited. A single or couple needing to run errands will find the trunk big enough for a few groceries bags but not room for much of anything else.
THE RIDE – The one thing that keeps popping into my mind to describe the ride feel of the CX-3 is spirited. It is super easy it is to dash in and out of city traffic or take a corner in their suburban neighborhood. On the winding highway roads going to Whistler for the weekend I was actually taken by surprise. This little SUV feels grounded and capable on every bend. Road and engine noise was to a minimum; something that Mazda has really improved on their vehicles the last couple years. Unlike Dan, I loved the supple suspension. The only transmission available is a very quick shifting and smooth 6-speed automatic. I was having so much fun on my drive not once did I wish I had a manual.
SAFETY – This AWD system is not going to be capable of off-roading. In my opinion, proper driving techniques matched with winter tires is more than adequate for Canadian winters. That being said, knowing my vehicle has AWD gives me a feeling of security. I feel more confident behind the wheel. Some Canadians will agree with me and find that the additional $2000 for the optional AWD will be worth it. If you are really looking for a sense of security and safety, the top of the line GT, priced at $31,020 comes standard with AWD and you can add on the ‘Technology Package’ for $1500. The tech package should really be called the safety package; it gives you blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and High Beam Control system.
TECHNOLOGY – The base model comes equipped with air conditioning, cruise control, push button start and rear view camera. The one feature I wouldn’t want to live without is heated seats and they come standard on the next trim level up, the GS. The GS also has a power moonroof and Leather wrapped steering wheel, parking brake and shift knob. Not needed, but they are features that really enhance my drive enjoyment. For a starting price of $26,220 this would be what I would spend my money on.
This spirited little crossover is top of my list in this growing segment. The Nissan Juke would be a close second. And it’s sporty handling that has me leaning more towards the CX-3. This vehicle would be a wonderful first vehicle for a couple or single that maybe has a dog and are thinking of starting a family one-day. A growing family can get into this vehicle very easily and upgrade into a large member of the Mazda line-up as they grow their own family.