Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Compact CUV


Photo from Mazda
Although Mazda is one of the smallest automakers, it keeps cranking out cars that can go toe to toe with cars from the larger automakers. Case in point, enter the 2016 Mazda CX-3. A subcompact CUV, it combines the maneuverability of a small hatch with the extra height of a crossover. It also features optional all-wheel drive, Mazda's trademark sporty handling, and a stylish, sporty interior with a touch screen interface.

      Another welcome trait for the CX-3 is fuel economy. With front-wheel drive, you can see up to 31 mpg combined, while equipped with all wheel drive, you can see up to 29 mpg combined. Both numbers are at the top of the class, and made even better when you factor in that the CX-3 has enough power to get out of its' own way.

      The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact crossover available in trims of Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.

Photo from Mazda
      The base Sport starts with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlamps, dual exhaust outlets, rear roof spoiler, variable intermittent wipers, cloth upholstery, push button ignition, height adjustable driver seat, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, cruise control, a.c, Bluetooth, rear-view camera, 6-speaker audio system, voice controls, and a 7-inch touchscreen interface.

      The Touring adds heated mirrors, blind spot monitoring system with cross traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, front row center arm rest, leatherette and cloth upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

      The Grand Touring adds 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlamps, LED fog lights and tail-lamps, sunroof, upgraded instrumentation, head-up display, leather and synthetic suede upholstery, navigation system, auto a/c, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, rear cargo cover, and a 7-speaker Bose audio system.

      Optional only on the Grand Touring is the i-Activsense package that includes automatic high beam headlamp control, automatic wipers, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and a forward collision mitigation system with auto braking.

Photo from Mazda
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is equipped with a 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder engine rated at 146 horsepower and 146 lb. ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission option. Front wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is an option on all trim levels. In performance testing, my tester was able to do the 0-60 mph run in about 8.5 seconds, which is a faster than average pace for this class.

      Every 2016 CX-3 comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, and a rear-view camera. As noted earlier, the Touring adds a blind spot monitoring system with cross traffic alert, and the Grand Touring adds the i-Activsense package. In brake testing, the CX-3 was able to stop from 60 mph in about 122 feet, which is slightly better than average for the class.

      The 2016 Mazda CX-3's cabin shows great execution overall, with high quality materials and a design that conveys style and sophistication. The Grand Touring's large center mounted tach and integrated speedometer are easy to read and great to look at, the head-up display however looks cheap, and is pointless if you are a taller driver. Lower trims make do with a cheaper looking gauge cluster. All of the trims benefit from the 7-inch touchscreen interface. It has sharp graphics, and I like the back-up control knob on the center console.

      The front seats of the CX-3 deliver outstanding comfort for this class, with pleasantly firm support for long drives, and ample bolstering for more spirited drives. As with most subcompact crossovers, rear passenger comfort largely depends on who is sitting in front of you.
Photo from Mazda

      Cargo capacity is modest, checking in at 12.4 cubic feet of space, and 44.5 cubic feet with the seats folded down. That is with the standard stereo system. If you opt for the Bose system, the trunk-mounted subwoofer cuts the numbers down to 10.1 and 42.3 respectively.

      The CX-3 is certainly at the top of the class in terms of speed, rivaled only by the Nissan Juke. Handling is great thanks to precise steering and nimble reflexes. The engine sounds a little harsh above 4,000 rpm, but it gets the job done, giving you ample acceleration and smooth shifts with the auto transmission.

      In every day driving, the CX-3's ride is on the firm side, especially when you have the Grand Touring's 18-inch wheels. If you are considering that trim, you might want to check out the Touring, as the ride is likely to be better with the 16-inch wheels. Either way, it is hard to go wrong with this Mazda.

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