Reviews

2017 Mazda CX-3 Walk Around


In a world of near-lookalike crossover models, the CX-3 is simply stunning, visually. Mazda’s designers appear to have adopted a goal of minimalism, but there’s nothing dull about the CX-3.

The body features sheetmetal transformed into a blend of sensuously flowing shapes and mildly complex forms. Taken as a whole, the end result comes across as both athletic and elegant, complementing the CX-3’s cabin, which is sportier in theme than most vehicles of this sort. Its stylish exterior makes excellent use of Mazda’s Kodo design language, developed some years ago.

Interior

Stepping inside, you can be excused for thinking that you’ve entered a Mazda3 hatchback. A tastefully laid-out dashboard, augmented by soft-touch components, helps deliver a premium look and feel. Climate controls appear sturdy, the steering wheel looks simple and modern, and instruments are clear as well as informative. In short, the interior is elegant and tasteful, to an extent not typically seen in smaller crossover SUVs.

On the negative side, the monochrome gauges have a low-budget, excessively basic look. Mazda’s head-up display, standard in Grand Touring models, lags in crispness, too.

Considering the CX-3’s compact exterior dimensions, cabin space is decent enough, depending on where you’re sitting. Up front, two adult males get sufficient head, leg, and shoulder room. Back-seat accommodations are less inviting. Legroom is about the same as BMW’s 3 Series, but the CX-3’s sloping roofline sharply reduces head space for back-seat riders.

Out back, the cargo floor is flat and rear seats can fold down to expand available space. Despite the tailgate angle, cargo volume comes to an acceptable 12.4 cubic feet, growing to 44.5 cubic feet with rear seatbacks down.

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