Mazda CX-3 – the car you don't need, but want

Mazda approaches the rejuvenation of its models more often than usual. These are more or less visible changes in design, technology or the gradual addition of equipment already offered in other models of the brand. The popular CX-3 also received such an improvement recently. We are testing it in the highest Revolution Top trim, with the Skyactiv-G 150 engine and four-wheel drive.

From the outside

Since I have private experience with this pre-facelift model, I will be able to compare how much Mazda has managed to improve this crossover.

There was no reason for major modifications on the outside, so only the radiator grille and the lower part of the bumper were changed at the front. The taillights have new graphics and new 18" wheel discs (with 215/50R18 tires) have been added. The design of the CX-3 is met with exclusively positive reactions, and I agree with them. Although it is a small car built on the basis of the Mazda 2 , its slightly higher chassis, plastic bumpers and overall more powerful shapes can create the feeling of a car at least half a class larger. Personally, I like the wavy shape of the lower edge of the side windows the most. I also like the overall look of the car, which on the one hand is nice, on the other hand it also exudes a certain degree of aggressiveness. However, I don't like the complicated C-pillar and the thick fender cladding. Red – the car's promotional color has already landed in the past. The current "Soul Red Crystal" paint is a bit darker and Mazda can be rightly proud of it.


The interior was not only cosmetically modified. The overall expression of the dashboard has not changed, only the details have been tweaked. The three circular vents remained in their place, but the chrome bar leading through the other rectangular vent was shortened. The center console did not undergo changes, but no stone was left unturned on the tunnel. I find the layout of the handbrake buttons, infotainment controls and automatic selector to be visually perfect. I like the leather stitching of the tunnel part and its connection to the small but functional armrest.

The interior upholstery of the doors is made up of a combination of hard plastics, artificial leather and suede reminiscent of Alcantara. This material is also found on the dashboard in front of the passenger and visually raises the interior to a higher level. If softened materials were used on the dashboard, the interior would be on par with vehicles of a similar class in the premium segment. The electrically adjustable seats covered with perforated leather already correspond to this.


Getting in is comfortable thanks to the higher construction of the car. The posture is low with the legs stretched forward in a sporty way. The range of steering wheel adjustment is sufficient, the pedals are ideally spaced, but the left leg rest lacks "plastering". The steering wheel fits nicely in the hand, but it could use a slightly thicker bezel.

The seats are more comfortable after the facelift, but they are still more suitable for slimmer figures. The space in the shoulder area corresponds to the external dimensions of the car. The space above my head and for my legs suited me. As well as the subtle armrest, despite the fact that it was not sliding or adjustable.

The small width of the front window complicates the view into the left-hand corner, despite the fact that the A-pillar is not too wide. However, I appreciate the large rear-view mirrors and the overall view to the sides.

The ergonomics of the individual control elements is fine, they are close at hand and logically distributed. However, it is necessary to get used to turning on the automatic function of the air conditioner with two rotary controls. I think one extra button wouldn't hurt. Automatic closing of the windows on all sides should already be standard in the top equipment.

Infotainment is the same as in other models of the brand. It certainly won't offend, but the time is slowly coming for its generational change. The addition of Android Auto and Apple Car Play support will definitely please, but for now at a considerable additional cost. However, I did not have the opportunity to try it in the tested model.

On the road

The CX-3 drove well even before the facelift. It provided above-average driving characteristics within its class and could be relied on. The current version has improved them even more. Although the chassis is as hard as before, the lateral tilts are less pronounced in my opinion. The car keeps its track excellently even during aggressive driving, where the connectable rear axle drive noticeably helps it in the turns. The chassis behaves in neutral for a very long time and is not upset even by the gentle bounce of the rear wheels on bumps. Driving can be a lot of fun, especially on wet surfaces. A switchable stabilization system would certainly help you enjoy the car even more. It does not intervene too early, but not late enough either, thus ruining the possibility of bringing the car to its limit naturally.

The sporty characteristics of the chassis are redeemed by its excessive hardness. A long drive, e.g. on a concrete road with regular fine joints it becomes a bit annoying after a while. Bigger unevenness can be heard and felt especially in the back seats.

The steering is very direct, properly stiff and without a hint of play around the center position. However, the number of turns of the steering wheel between extreme positions of 2.7 could be smaller. I appreciate the feedback from the front wheels, which is not often seen in cars of this category these days.

The car is powered by a traditionally naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with a volume of 1,998 cm 3 , a maximum power of 110 kW at 6,000 rpm and a torque of 206 Nm at 2,800 rpm. It has a dignified expression and a nice raw sound. The power is dosed gradually and although it is a typical high-revving engine, it becomes more pronounced already from medium revs. It responds immediately to the instructions of the gas pedal, which is a rarity in today's era of turbo engines. However, it also takes some time to get to the higher revs, so it ends up being the same. However, in my opinion, the gradation of power with the rising hand of the tachometer is more pleasant and natural.

I expected a similar explosiveness from the engine as in the Mazda 6 with the 2.5 Skyactiv-G engine . After all, it is a car almost 2 classes smaller, but with the same automatic transmission and only 31 kW less power. The dynamics is sufficient, but it does not reach the Mazda 6 level. Perhaps this is due to the four-wheel drive and not the completely low weight of the car (1415 kg). Driving in the CX-3 is more reminiscent of its larger sibling , the CX-5 with the mentioned 2.5 liter engine .

The 6-speed automatic transmission gets along well with the engine and makes perfect use of its wide range of usable revolutions. It responds quickly and very gently to accelerator commands. A short hesitation is felt only when trying to accelerate sharply from low revs, when it is necessary to downshift by 3 steps.

I returned the car with an average consumption of 7.8 liters. To be honest, I expected less. I achieved the same consumption on the same routes with the Mazda 6 with the aforementioned "two and a half". In addition, the small tank of only 44 liters forces the driver to visit the gas station quite often.

In the city, depending on the traffic, I drove for 7, but also for 11 liters. Thanks to its dimensions, the car is agile and handles well, but I consider the turning diameter of 11.6 m to be too large. When parking, parking sensors in the front help, and in the back they are additionally supported by a camera. Driving in a convoy is facilitated by the adaptive cruise control with the Stop&Go function. I also appreciated the electronic parking brake with the AutoHold function.

I was able to really enjoy driving in the districts. It is very pleasant to drive in tight turns, when the car literally pulls you into the action and lets you feel the work of the chassis. For fast engine reactions and keeping it at the right speed (e.g. when exiting a corner quickly), it is advisable to use sports mode. I kept the consumption at a value of 7.6 l/100 km during brisk driving.

When driving on the highway, I was surprised by the above-average soundproofing of the interior in this category. Progress has been made not only in reducing aerodynamic noise, but also chassis noise. At higher speeds, the car is stable and there is no need to make direction corrections with the steering wheel. I was surprised by the use of a simpler lane keeping assistant that does not interfere with the steering. Engine noise is decently suppressed at highway speed, despite higher revs. Consumption at a speed of 130-140 km/h slightly exceeded the value of 8, at a stable speed of 100 km/h it settled at six.

In the following table, I present the engine speed at individual speeds in the sixth gear.

Speed in km/h RPM per min.
100 2100
110 2250
120 2500
130 2750
140 less than 3000

Practical side, equipment, price

From a car like the CX-3, you cannot expect an excess of space in the back, a voluminous luggage compartment or a large number of storage compartments in the interior. For myself, with my height of 185 cm, I can't sit comfortably, but a short journey can be survived. If a tall person is not sitting in front, the child in the back seat will not complain. A smaller bottle can be stored in the door and the mobile phone will find a place in the new compartments in the central tunnel. The space for sunglasses is primordial and the box in front of the passenger is also not full of space. However, I appreciate the location of the IsoFix mounts in an easily accessible place.

In the highest – tested Revolution Top equipment, the subwoofer of the BOSE audio system cuts out of the luggage compartment. Its volume was reduced to 287 liters. Honestly? It doesn't matter. It is enough for ordinary, but also larger purchases, if necessary, the rear seats can be folded down, which creates a flat surface.

The price of the tested model is EUR 26,690 + EUR 770 for red metallic + EUR 500 for navigation. Is the resulting price of €27,960 high? At first glance, yes, but it is hard to expect a low price for a car with a relatively powerful engine, 4×4 drive, automatic transmission and full equipment. However, with lower requirements, a decently equipped version can be bought for around EUR 22,000.


For a similar price, the Mazda 3 offers more space, a more powerful engine, better driving characteristics and lower fuel consumption. But if you still choose the CX-3, you won't regret it. But you must not need it, you must want it.