Subcompact crossovers have become a popular choice for many buyers who like the idea of an SUV-type vehicle, but don’t want anything with too large a ‘footprint.’
Certainly, subcompact crossovers tick that particular box, though shopping for one might be a little confusing because some automakers don’t like to use the word ‘subcompact’ in case the buyer perceives the vehicle as being too small. With its CX-3, Mazda is honest with us and does use the term subcompact.
Compact crossovers are relative newcomers to the utility vehicle field and only a few years ago, there were hardly any on the market. Today, there’s a wide selection out there at all kinds of price points, including luxury products.
The award-winning CX-3 is getting a major update for the 2019 model year with several new features and some enhanced elements of the vehicle. There are some tweaks to the exterior styling, which make the little rig even easier on the eye.
Switching to an electronic parking brake has created space for a newly redesigned centre console and the reliable SKYACTIVE-G 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine has been refined. Mazda set out to deliver a heightened feeling of elegance, driving performance and efficiency with its 2019 CX-3.
The responsive two-litre engine has better fuel efficiency for 2019 and is rated at 148-horsepower, more than adequate for a vehicle in this class. Front-wheel drive is standard and Mazda’s i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is available on some models. Two transmission choices are available depending on which model the buyer selects. There’s a manual 6-speed and a 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode. It’s good to see Mazda offering a manual gearbox, as many models in this class don’t have that option.
Trim/powertrain levels include GX, GS and GT in ascending order of equipment level. MSRP prices range from $20,795 to $30,795 and the MX-3 is now available at Signature Mazda at the Richmond Auto Mall.
Inside the car, there’s new sound insulation to further refine the ride and noise levels. Even the entry level vehicle has tire pressure monitoring, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, power windows, remote door locks, power mirrors, push-button start, two USB ports and Bluetooth for hands-free calling. Thus the basic vehicle is quite luxurious at its very reasonable price and as you move up the model range, things get even better. This may be a small vehicle, but at the top of the range, it’s surprisingly luxurious.
The top-of-the-line GT has full leather seating with pleated piping that looks very spiffy. It also has a 7-speaker Bose premium sound system, satellite navigation with a large colour display screen, 10-way power driver’s seat with memory and suede door trim inserts. The ambiance is surprisingly good for what is still a very affordable subcompact crossover.
Although larger families would probably go for a mid-size crossover if roominess was critical, but the CX-3 should easily fit the bill for young families or couples planning road trips or wanting to carry outdoor sports gear around. It’s easy to park and maneuver around town, which makes it a perfect choice for the urban environment.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: 4-door, 5-occupant subcompact crossover
ENGINE: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 9-seconds
FUEL ECONOMY: Approx. 7.5-litres/100 km combined rating
PRICE: Base vehicle, $20,795