When the Mazda CX-3 launched in 2015, it didn’t take long for this subcompact crossover to stand out as one of the most enjoyable vehicles in a quickly growing segment. And it wasn’t hard to see why either. After all, this crossover is essentially a Mazda2 that sits up a little higher. With more competitors joining the group, however, Mazda wanted to make sure its subcompact CUV stayed ahead of the pack. That’s where the updated 2019 Mazda CX-3 comes in adding a fresher look and some new interior content.
2019 Mazda CX-3 Exterior
Mazda’s KODO design language is remarkable in that it looks just as good on small cars like the Mazda3 and Miata as it does on the mid-size CX-9 crossover, and the 2019 Mazda CX-3 is one of the best applications of this styling. The 2019 Mazda CX-3 gets even more attitude with relatively minor enhancements such as a redesigned grille, darker fog light bezels, chrome and piano black exterior accents and a new 18-inch wheel design for this GT trim level.
The CX-3’s proportions are sleek and sporty with a long hood and short overhangs, while the body lines – including the sweeping front fenders – are absolutely gorgeous. Finishing off the sporty look, the CX-3 comes standard with dual, chrome-tipped exhaust outlets, and this tester was finished in Mazda’s signature Soul Red exterior color, which is now available on all trim levels and not limited to just the Grand Touring.
2019 Mazda CX-3 Interior
Mazda made some subtle updates inside the 2019 Mazda CX-3 as well, although most of the changes were added content lower trim levels including standard armrests for front and rear occupants, electronic parking brake, red accent rings on the HVAC vents and suede-like accents on the door panels and instrument panel. The Grand Touring gets revised seats that are now full leather with no suede inserts, and it still comes standard with navigation, Mazda Connect infotainment system and the Active Driving Display head-up unit, which for 2019 can now be optioned up to the Sport and Touring trim levels.
No matter which trim level you choose, the CX-3’s interior is accented by a mix suede and metallic accents, and this tester was equipped with the new GT Premium package ($710) that adds includes heated steering wheel, Traffic Sign Recognition, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and seat memory positions.
As you’d expect from a subcompact vehicle, what you gain in easy urban mobility you sacrifice interior space, and the 2019 Mazda CX-3 is no different. Interior space can get a bit cramped when it comes to rear passengers, so don’t expect five adults to fit comfortably in this vehicle; realistically, that back seat is either intended for younger (and shorter) kids. Despite its limited rear-seat space, the CX-3 can accommodate a decent amount of cargo, including as much as 12.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and up to 44.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
2019 Mazda CX-3 Powertrain
To go along with the interior and exterior, the powertrain also received some minor upgrades with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G direct-injected four-cylinder being delivering better torque delivery, reduced internal friction, and improved efficiency (although fuel economy remains the same). This has resulted in a slight bump in horsepower (148 compared to 146), while the 146 lb-ft of torque carries over. The six-speed automatic transmission is a carryover, and it helps give this FWD CX-3 EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway**.
While that is decent fuel economy (better than rivals such as the Chevrolet Trax), the best reason to buy a 2019 Mazda CX-3 is its amazing ride and handling. The suspension tuning gives this 2,809-pound (for the FWD model) crossover nimble handling, and the electric power steering is light in low-speed driving and more responsive at higher speeds. Bottom line is that this is the crossover you buy when you have to trade the Miata for a couple of kids.
This sporty dynamic is great for enthusiast who want a crossover, but it does limit how rugged the CX-3 can be. While subcompact rivals like the Jeep Renegade and Subaru Crosstrek both offer 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the CX-3 has just 6.2 inches. You can’t really knock the CX-3 for this trait, and it actually helps this Mazda stand out from the crowd with a feel that is more like a sporty hatchback than a small crossover.
2019 Mazda CX-3 Safety
The 2019 Mazda CX-3 has received a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the new model year also brings added safety features like blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert. New for 2019, the CX-3 Grand Touring now comes standard with Smart Brake Support System with collision warning, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop and go, Lane Departure Warning, high beam control and Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection.
2019 Mazda CX-3 Overall
If you’re looking for a small that is fun and functional, then the 2019 Mazda CX-3 is a solid choice. This subcompact CUV has a starting price of $20,390*, while the Grand Touring FWD starts at $28,225; factoring in the handful of options and the amount of standard content found on this tester, the as-tested price of $28,225 is a great deal.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Mazda dealership and test drive the 2019 Mazda CX-3 today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.