At first glance, the interior may not impress, but when you remind yourself that this is a $20k vehicle, you can't help but be impressed. While the cloth-trimmed seats may seem perfectly at home, the soft touch-materials around the key touchpoints set it up to contend with much more expensive rivals. The infotainment is not overly extensive, but it includes all the basics and the controls are laid out smartly, with a touchscreen and rotary dials offering multiple ways to interact. Unfortunately, you'll feel your excitement wane once you move past the spacious front seats and realize that the second row is a little cramped, and the trunk is much smaller than you'd expect in this classification.
So long as you're seated up front, you'll have no complaints with the CX-3. There is loads of head- and legroom and the seats are extremely comfortable. The driver's seat is six-way manually adjustable and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column makes finding a comfortable position quite easy. Visibility is a bit hit and miss, though. The front windshield is broad and the high seating position provides a commanding view. However, the bold styling of the Mazda works against it here as the broad C pillars create large blind spots. After experiencing the front seats, you'll be disappointed by the rear ones. Limited legroom means that adults will not be comfortable here, and only smaller children will likely spend a long drive without constant complaints, which isn't unusual for this segment, though.
|Mazda CX-3 Trims||Sport|
|Headroom Front Seat||38.4 in.|
|Headroom Back Seat||37.2 in.|
|Legroom Front Seat||41.7 in.|
|Legroom Back Seat||35 in.|
|Shoulder Room Front||53.5 in.|
|Shoulder Room Rear||50.4 in.|
|Hip Room, Front||52.3 in.|
|Hip Room, Rear||49 in.|
In the past, the CX-3 offered a choice of several trims that also allowed you to upgrade the upholstery to leather. Nowadays, unfortunately, your only option is cloth, and the only color offered is plain black. This doesn't mean that it is low quality by any means, though. It is soft and comfortable, while still being durable and lasting, making it ideal for an everyday commuter or family car. On the plus side, the dash and door panels are not laden with hard plastics as is common in many base-model crossovers. The only upgrades available to the interior are door sill trim plates and all-weather floor mats, so if you simply cannot stand cloth-trimmed seating, this isn't the vehicle for you. Overall, construction is good and the materials are of higher quality than you might expect from this price point.
Even compact and subcompact crossovers are expected to supply ample amounts of trunk space. This is one of the main reasons so many shoppers prefer them over the more traditional sedan. However, with only 17.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, the CX-3 offers only marginally more utility than a midsize sedan. Both the Kona and HR-V have it beat in this department, with 19.2 and 24.3 cubic feet on offer with the rear seats in place, respectively. Still, the Mazda will dispatch with most daily requirements without too much fuss, including grocery shopping, transporting the kids to and from school, and even stowing some luggage for a trip to the airport. If you are planning a longer trip, you can increase the cargo capacity by folding down the rear seats, freeing up 42.7 cubes.
Given how small the cabin is, there aren't many viable small-item storage solutions. The door pockets are slim, and the rear bench doesn't get a pair of cupholders like those up front do. Still, the safest place to store anything bigger than a set of spare keys is the center armrest cubby. The glovebox could also be put to work for storing a tablet or a couple of mobile devices.
|Mazda CX-3 Trims||Sport|
|Trunk Width (Wheelhousings)||39.4 in.|
As a base model, the CX-3 Sport presents buyers with an excellent value proposition. For an affordable SUV, it receives a fair number of conveniences, including remote keyless entry and push-button start, while a 12-volt power outlet allows you to charge your smart devices. Finding a good driving position is easy with a six-way manual seat and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, while automatic climate control keeps the rest of the cabin comfortable. But there are larger concerns than just comfort and convenience, which is where the i-Activesense safety suite comes in. This comprises a rearview camera, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with night-time pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and cruise control. The only optional feature is a rear parking sensor, which can be added for $500.
Mazda keeps things simple with the infotainment suite on the CX-3, which is a good thing. The seven-inch touchscreen is intuitive and easy to operate, although a rotary dial is available for those that prefer a more analog approach. Standard features include AM/FM Radio, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. There is also a USB port and an auxiliary audio input jack. All audio is channeled through a set of six speakers. Unlike the standard features, there are no available packages or add-ons to augment the standard infotainment offering but, at this price point, you really shouldn't be disappointed.