2016 Mazda CX-3 GT Review

Check out the full article from Autos here.

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 GT made an impression from the very beginning, and that lustre never really faded.

This is a Goldilocks car, and I just happen to be Goldilocks.

Not only did the initial impressions of the high-quality interior and stunning exterior design carry on throughout the six-month test, but we also had the joy of seeing one of our predictions for this segment come true. In our long-term test arrival story back in May we mentioned that sales for the segment were down 9.5 percent year to date, and postulated that perhaps people were waiting for the HR-V and CX-3 to make the jump. We were right. With the HR-V and CX-3 picking up 7,000 and 5,000 sales respectively, plus the Subaru Crosstrek picking up an extra 1,100 sales, the segment is now upwhopping 48.7 percent.

I waited a couple of weeks to pen this wrap up, as I wanted to see if I would miss the little Mazda in that time, or if I’d be happy as soon as I was in the next thing, a thing with big horsepower and a fancy stereo. I do miss it, and that should be an indication of how good the CX-3 is. My four-year-old daughter misses it too, but she also misses the pet rock she lost in February.

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The CX-3 is aimed at a particular bracket: one I happen to fit squarely into, even as round as I am. It’s a city-sized AWD that drives and handles like a car – and a good car at that. It’s maneuverable and easy to steer which is a boon in our condo parking garage. The size is adequate for our young family and the flexibility of the hatch meant I achieved a few Ikea runs without any drama. These were trickier when I had to bring Maddie with me. If you have one child this car is well-sized. Two and it might get cramped. If you like to carry a large stroller the trunk won’t do it.

The driver’s seat is infinitely better to be in than any other, with a lack of height adjustment making the passenger seat uncomfortable for taller folk. The back seat is really for children or frenemies only with limited leg room even if the high roofline makes for decent headroom. The lack of amenities like a covered console and armrest, plus the absence of a pull-down armrest (and therefore cupholders) in the back seat means the CX-3 is unlikely to enamour the non-driving members of your family quite the same way as your driving members.

Equally frustrating was the inability to turn on the rear reading light independently of the front.

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It’s fair to say that Mazda’s focus for the CX-3 was myopic. Most of this car’s development was done from the driver’s seat. And the rewards for that effort are immense – so long as you’re the driver.

Automatic high beams, cornering lights, and the head-up display are all high-tech features that make driving at night or low light far easier. The LED headlights, foglights and taillights are all features of this GT trim only (lower trims get halogen lights) but we were impressed by their performance and by their day-time visibility. Not to mention the sleek and attractive light signature.

We’ve raved consistently about the handling of the CX-3 and will continue to do so.

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