Car Deal Canada

Is the Mazda CX-3 a Good Car

iStock.com/teddyleung

The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact SUV that packs a punch in a compact package. As the smallest SUV in Mazda’s lineup, it offers a unique blend of agility, efficiency, and practicality. In the crowded subcompact SUV market, choosing the right vehicle can be a daunting task, especially for Canadian buyers who have to contend with diverse driving conditions and weather patterns.


This comprehensive review aims to provide Canadian consumers with an in-depth look at the Mazda CX-3, exploring its strengths, weaknesses, and overall suitability for their needs. Whether you’re a young professional seeking a city-friendly commuter, a small family in search of a versatile daily driver, or a first-time SUV buyer, this review will help you determine if the Mazda CX-3 is the right choice for you.


By delving into key aspects such as performance, interior comfort, safety features, ownership costs, and consumer feedback, this review will equip you with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision when considering the purchase of a Mazda CX-3 in Canada. 

Get Pre-Qualified in Under 60 Seconds

All Credit Approved and 0 Money Down Options Available

 

Key Specifications and Features

The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact crossover SUV that first debuted in 2015 as a 2016 model year vehicle. Designed to offer a blend of sporty handling and SUV practicality, the CX-3 has undergone several updates and refreshes over its lifespan.

Under the hood, the CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available as an option. According to the 2022 Mazda CX-3 Owner’s Manual, the CX-3 has an overall length of 4,275 mm (168.3 in), width of 1,765 mm (69.5 in), and height of 1,550 mm (61.0 in), with a wheelbase of 2,570 mm (101.2 in).

The Mazda CX-3 is available in several trim levels, each offering a range of features and amenities. The base GX trim includes features like cloth upholstery, a 7-inch infotainment display, and a rearview camera. Higher trims like the GS and GT add leather upholstery, heated front seats, a Bose premium audio system, and advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

 

Driving Dynamics and Performance

The Mazda CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which provides smooth and responsive shifting. While the engine may not be the most powerful in its class, it delivers a satisfying driving experience, especially in the city and on winding roads.

One of the standout features of the CX-3 is its impressive handling and ride quality. According to Driving.ca, the CX-3 strikes a great balance between highway ride comfort and back-road agility, thanks to its well-tuned suspension and precise steering. The vehicle feels nimble and responsive, making it a joy to drive on Canadian roads, whether you’re navigating city streets or enjoying a scenic country drive.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Mazda CX-3 excels with an EPA-estimated rating of 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive models. Car and Driver notes that the CX-3’s fuel-efficient powertrain is one of its strengths, making it an economical choice for Canadian drivers who want to save at the pump.

When it comes to Canadian weather conditions, the Mazda CX-3 performs admirably. With its available all-wheel-drive system and well-balanced chassis, the CX-3 can handle snow and ice with confidence. The vehicle’s compact size and responsive handling also make it a great choice for navigating tight city streets and parking spots during the winter months.

 

Interior and Comfort

The Mazda CX-3 offers a well-designed and upscale interior that punches above its weight class. The cabin features high-quality materials, including soft-touch surfaces and tasteful accents, creating a premium ambiance that belies the CX-3’s subcompact size and price point. As Car and Driver notes, “The CX-3’s interior is one of the nicest in its segment, with impressive materials and an attractive design.”

While the front seats provide ample support and comfort for long journeys, the rear seats can feel a bit cramped, especially for taller passengers. However, the CX-3 compensates for its modest interior dimensions with clever packaging and ample headroom. Edmunds highlights that “the CX-3’s responsive steering makes it easy to guide through fast, tight turns, and the suspension soaks up bumps and ruts with ease.”

Cargo space is adequate for a subcompact SUV, with a 17.8 cubic feet capacity behind the rear seats and 42.7 cubic feet with the seats folded down. The CX-3 excels in practicality, with clever storage solutions and a versatile cargo area that can accommodate various lifestyle needs.

The infotainment system, while not the most cutting-edge, is user-friendly and intuitive. It features a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The CX-3’s tech offerings strike a balance between functionality and simplicity, appealing to buyers who prioritize ease of use over an abundance of features.

 

Safety and Reliability

The Mazda CX-3 has earned impressive safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2021 model was awarded the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating, the highest honor from the organization, thanks to its superior crash test performance and advanced safety features.

In terms of reliability, the CX-3 has generally received positive feedback from owners. However, some common issues have been reported, including problems with the infotainment system, transmission hesitation, and premature wear on certain components. Proper maintenance and addressing any issues promptly can help ensure long-term durability and lifespan of the vehicle.

Real-world reliability ratings and consumer feedback from Canadian owners suggest that the Mazda CX-3 is a dependable and well-built subcompact SUV. Many owners praise its solid build quality, responsive handling, and overall value for money. With proper care and maintenance, the CX-3 can be a reliable companion for years to come.

 

Ownership Costs and Maintenance

When it comes to ownership costs and maintenance, the Mazda CX-3 fares well for Canadian buyers. According to CAREdge, the estimated maintenance and repair costs for the CX-3 during its first 10 years of service are around $7,172, which is lower than the industry average for popular SUV models.

The average annual repair cost for a Mazda vehicle, as reported by RepairPal, is $462, indicating above-average ownership costs. However, it’s important to note that these figures are based on averages and can vary depending on driving habits, maintenance schedules, and other factors.

When it comes to warranty coverage, the Mazda CX-3 comes with a 3-year/unlimited-kilometer new vehicle warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-kilometer powertrain warranty. This provides Canadian buyers with peace of mind and protection against potential issues during the initial ownership period.

To keep maintenance costs in check and ensure the longevity of your Mazda CX-3, it’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and use genuine Mazda parts. Regular oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections can help identify and address potential issues before they become more costly to repair.

 

Comparison with Competitors

The Mazda CX-3 faces stiff competition in the subcompact SUV market, with rivals like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR offering compelling alternatives. While the CX-3 stands out for its sporty handling and premium interior, it lags behind competitors in terms of cargo space and rear legroom.

The Honda HR-V, for instance, boasts a more spacious cabin and a versatile Magic Seat system that allows for various cargo configurations. It also offers better fuel efficiency and a more affordable price tag than the Mazda CX-3. However, the HR-V’s driving dynamics and interior quality may not match the CX-3’s level of refinement.

The Toyota C-HR, on the other hand, offers a bold and distinctive design, along with a well-equipped interior and a smooth ride. However, its underpowered engine and cramped rear seats may be dealbreakers for some buyers. The Mazda CX-3’s engaging driving experience and upscale cabin give it an edge over the C-HR in terms of overall driving pleasure.

Ultimately, the choice between these subcompact SUVs will depend on individual priorities. If interior space and practicality are top concerns, the Honda HR-V might be the better option. For those seeking a more engaging driving experience and a premium cabin, the Mazda CX-3 could be the way to go, despite its compromises in cargo room and rear legroom.

 

Canadian Consumer Reviews

When it comes to the Mazda CX-3, Canadian consumers have a lot to say. According to Reddit reviews, current owners praise the CX-3’s agile handling and comfortable ride quality, making it a joy to drive on both highways and winding roads. However, some owners have expressed concerns about the limited cargo space and slightly underwhelming fuel efficiency.

In expert reviews from Driving.ca, the CX-3 is commended for its premium cabin materials, responsive steering, and overall driving dynamics that set it apart from competitors. Complaints tend to focus on the tight rear legroom and the lack of advanced safety features on lower trim levels.

Real-life experiences from Mazda CX-3 owners in Canada highlight the vehicle’s reliability and low maintenance costs, with many reporting few issues even after several years of ownership. However, some owners have noted that the small size can be a challenge for larger families or those with frequent cargo-hauling needs.

 

Buying Tips and Recommendations

When it comes to purchasing a Mazda CX-3 in Canada, timing can make a significant difference in the deal you can secure. Generally, the best time to buy is during the end-of-model-year clearance sales, typically occurring in late summer or early fall. Dealers are more motivated to move inventory and may offer attractive incentives and discounts during this period. Additionally, keep an eye out for holiday promotions and special events organized by Mazda dealerships.

Deciding between a new or used Mazda CX-3 largely depends on your budget and preferences. A used CX-3 can be a cost-effective option, especially if you find a well-maintained model with low mileage. However, a new CX-3 offers the latest features, a full warranty, and the peace of mind that comes with being the first owner. Consider factors like your driving habits, desired trim level, and long-term ownership plans when making this decision.

For those interested in financing or leasing a Mazda CX-3, several options are available in Canada. Mazda’s in-house financing arm, Mazda Financial Services, offers competitive rates and flexible terms. Additionally, many banks and credit unions provide auto loans tailored to your specific needs. Leasing can be an attractive option for those who prefer lower monthly payments and the ability to upgrade to a newer model more frequently.

When negotiating the price of a Mazda CX-3, being well-informed and prepared is crucial. Research the market value of the specific trim and model year you’re interested in, and be ready to walk away if the dealership isn’t willing to meet your target price. Consider negotiating additional perks like free maintenance or accessories to sweeten the deal. Reviews and expert advice can also provide valuable insights into the CX-3’s strengths and weaknesses, which can aid in your negotiations.

 

Final Verdict and Recommendation

The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact SUV that delivers a compelling blend of style, driving dynamics, and practicality. Its strengths lie in its attractive exterior design, engaging handling, and well-appointed interior that punches above its class. However, it also has some notable weaknesses, such as a snug rear seat and cargo area, as well as a firm ride that may not appeal to all buyers.

Overall, the Mazda CX-3 is a solid choice for Canadian buyers seeking a well-rounded and fun-to-drive subcompact SUV. It excels in urban environments, offering nimble handling and a comfortable ride for daily commutes and city driving. Its fuel efficiency and affordable pricing also make it an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.

For young professionals and small families in need of a practical and stylish urban runabout, the Mazda CX-3 is an excellent choice. Its sporty character and premium interior ambiance elevate it above many of its competitors. However, those requiring more passenger and cargo space may find the CX-3 too confining and should consider larger SUV options from Mazda or other manufacturers.

Ultimately, the Mazda CX-3 is a well-rounded subcompact SUV that delivers a compelling combination of style, driving dynamics, and value. Its unique blend of attributes makes it a standout choice in its segment, especially for Canadian buyers seeking an engaging and efficient urban companion. As with any vehicle purchase, it’s essential to test drive the CX-3 and evaluate whether it aligns with your specific needs and preferences. 

 

Conclusion

The Mazda CX-3 is a compelling choice for Canadian buyers seeking a subcompact SUV that offers a perfect blend of style, performance, and practicality. With its sporty handling, efficient engines, and well-appointed interior, the CX-3 stands out in a crowded segment. While it may not be the most spacious option, its compact dimensions make it a joy to maneuver in urban environments.

As detailed in this comprehensive review, the CX-3 excels in areas such as driving dynamics, fuel efficiency, and safety features. Its affordable ownership costs and Mazda’s reputation for reliability further bolster its appeal. However, potential buyers should carefully consider their needs and weigh the pros and cons against competitors like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR.

The best way to determine if the Mazda CX-3 is the right fit is to experience it firsthand. We encourage readers to visit their local Mazda dealership and take the CX-3 for a test drive. This hands-on experience will provide invaluable insights into the vehicle’s performance, comfort, and overall suitability for your lifestyle.

We welcome readers to share their own experiences, opinions, and insights about the Mazda CX-3 in the comments section below. Your feedback can help fellow Canadian buyers make an informed decision and contribute to the ongoing discussion about this popular subcompact SUV.

Get Approved Today

See if you qualify in under 60 seconds

Questions About The Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact SUV that offers a unique blend of agility, efficiency, and practicality. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available as an option. The CX-3 is available in several trim levels, ranging from the base GX to the top-of-the-line GT, each offering a range of features and amenities. These trim levels provide a variety of options for customization, allowing buyers to choose the perfect balance of features and price.

One of the standout features of the CX-3 is its impressive handling and ride quality. The vehicle strikes a great balance between highway ride comfort and back-road agility, thanks to its well-tuned suspension and precise steering. The CX-3 feels nimble and responsive, making it a joy to drive on Canadian roads, whether you’re navigating city streets or enjoying a scenic country drive. Its driving dynamics are often compared favorably to those of more expensive luxury vehicles, offering a premium driving experience at a more accessible price point.

Yes, the Mazda CX-3 is known for its excellent fuel efficiency. It has an EPA-estimated rating of 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive models. This fuel-efficient powertrain is one of the CX-3’s strengths, making it an economical choice for Canadian drivers who want to save at the pump. The vehicle’s Skyactiv technology contributes to its fuel efficiency, representing Mazda’s commitment to environmental sustainability without sacrificing performance.

The Mazda CX-3 performs admirably in Canadian weather conditions. With its available all-wheel-drive system and well-balanced chassis, the CX-3 can handle snow and ice with confidence. The vehicle’s compact size and responsive handling also make it a great choice for navigating tight city streets and parking spots during the winter months. Its traction control and stability systems further enhance its capability in challenging weather, providing drivers with additional peace of mind.

The Mazda CX-3 offers a well-designed and upscale interior that punches above its weight class. The cabin features high-quality materials, including soft-touch surfaces and tasteful accents, creating a premium ambiance. While the front seats provide ample support and comfort, the rear seats can feel a bit cramped, especially for taller passengers. However, the CX-3 compensates for its modest interior dimensions with clever packaging and ample headroom. The interior also includes a user-friendly infotainment system that integrates seamlessly with smartphones and other devices.

The Mazda CX-3 has a cargo capacity of 17.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 42.7 cubic feet with the seats folded down. While not the most spacious in its class, the CX-3 excels in practicality, with clever storage solutions and a versatile cargo area that can accommodate various lifestyle needs. The rear hatch provides easy access to the cargo space, and the low load floor makes it convenient to load and unload heavy or bulky items.

The Mazda CX-3 has earned impressive safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2021 model was awarded the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating, thanks to its superior crash test performance and advanced safety features. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring, among others. These features, along with the vehicle’s robust construction and airbag system, contribute to a safe driving experience.

The Mazda CX-3 has generally received positive feedback from owners in terms of reliability. While some common issues have been reported, such as problems with the infotainment system and transmission hesitation, proper maintenance and addressing any issues promptly can help ensure long-term durability and lifespan of the vehicle. Mazda’s reputation for building reliable vehicles is reflected in the CX-3’s performance in various reliability surveys and consumer feedback.

According to industry estimates, the estimated maintenance and repair costs for the CX-3 during its first 10 years of service are around $7,172, which is lower than the industry average for popular SUV models. The average annual repair cost for a Mazda vehicle is around $462, indicating above-average ownership costs. However, these figures can vary based on driving habits and maintenance schedules. Regular maintenance can help minimize unexpected repair costs and maintain the vehicle’s value over time.

The Mazda CX-3 faces stiff competition from rivals like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR. While the CX-3 stands out for its sporty handling and premium interior, it lags behind competitors in terms of cargo space and rear legroom. The choice between these subcompact SUVs will depend on individual priorities, such as interior space, practicality, or driving dynamics. Each model has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the CX-3’s engaging driving experience and upscale cabin may be deciding factors for many buyers.



Canadian consumers have praised the CX-3’s agile handling, comfortable ride quality, and premium cabin materials. However, some have expressed concerns about the limited cargo space and slightly underwhelming fuel efficiency. Overall, many owners report high satisfaction with the vehicle’s reliability, low maintenance costs, and overall driving dynamics. The CX-3’s popularity in Canada is a testament to its ability to meet the needs and preferences of a diverse range of drivers.

The best time to buy a Mazda CX-3 in Canada is typically during the end-of-model-year clearance sales, which usually occur in late summer or early fall. Dealers are more motivated to move inventory and may offer attractive incentives and discounts during this period. Holiday promotions and special events organized by Mazda dealerships can also be good times to purchase. Additionally, shopping during these periods may provide opportunities to negotiate a better deal, as dealerships are often eager to meet sales targets.

The decision to buy a new or used Mazda CX-3 depends on your budget and preferences. A used CX-3 can be a cost-effective option, especially if you find a well-maintained model with low mileage. However, a new CX-3 offers the latest features, a full warranty, and the peace of mind that comes with being the first owner. Consider your driving habits, desired trim level, and long-term ownership plans when making this decision. It’s also worth considering the potential savings from purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle, which often comes with an extended warranty and has undergone a thorough inspection.

Mazda Financial Services offers competitive rates and flexible terms for financing or leasing a Mazda CX-3 in Canada. Additionally, many banks and credit unions provide auto loans tailored to your specific needs. Leasing can be an attractive option for those who prefer lower monthly payments and the ability to upgrade to a newer model more frequently. When considering financing or leasing, it’s important to compare offers and understand the terms and conditions to ensure that you choose the best option for your financial situation.

When negotiating the price of a Mazda CX-3, being well-informed and prepared is crucial. Research the market value of the specific trim and model year you’re interested in, and be ready to walk away if the dealership isn’t willing to meet your target price. Consider negotiating additional perks like free maintenance or accessories to sweeten the deal. Reviews and expert advice can also provide valuable insights to aid in your negotiations. It’s also beneficial to visit multiple dealerships to compare prices and negotiate from a position of strength.

The Mazda CX-3’s strengths lie in its attractive exterior design, engaging handling, and well-appointed interior that punches above its class. However, it also has some notable weaknesses, such as a snug rear seat and cargo area, as well as a firm ride that may not appeal to all buyers. The CX-3’s sporty nature and design-focused approach may be perfect for some, but those looking for a more spacious and comfortable ride might consider other options in the subcompact SUV segment.

The Mazda CX-3 is an excellent choice for young professionals and small families in need of a practical and stylish urban runabout. Its sporty character and premium interior ambiance elevate it above many of its competitors. However, those requiring more passenger and cargo space may find the CX-3 too confining and should consider larger SUV options. The CX-3 is well-suited for those who appreciate a vehicle that offers both a dynamic driving experience and a sense of luxury.

The Mazda CX-3 is a well-rounded subcompact SUV that delivers a compelling combination of style, driving dynamics, and value. Its unique blend of attributes makes it a standout choice in its segment, especially for Canadian buyers seeking an engaging and efficient urban companion. However, it’s essential to test drive the CX-3 and evaluate whether it aligns with your specific needs and preferences. The CX-3’s balance of performance, style, and practicality makes it a strong contender in the competitive subcompact SUV market.

For more information on the Mazda CX-3 and to locate your nearest Mazda dealer in Canada, visit the official Mazda Canada website. Here, you’ll find a comprehensive dealer locator, detailed vehicle specifications, and the latest updates and promotions. The website is a valuable resource for potential buyers and current owners alike, offering a wealth of information about the CX-3 and the broader Mazda lineup.

We recommend checking out reviews and articles from reputable automotive publications such as Consumer Reports, MotorTrend, and The Car Guide for further insights into the Mazda CX-3. Additionally, you can reach out to Mazda Canada’s customer service team by phone or email for any additional questions or assistance. Online forums and social media groups dedicated to Mazda owners can also be a great source of information and community support for both prospective buyers and long-term enthusiasts.

Get Approved Today

See if you qualify in under 60 seconds