The 2018 Mazda CX-3 is just the perfect little subcompact crossover for the Mazda lineup as it comes with its own impressive credentials. The NHTSA gave it a five-star overall safety score. IIHS awarded the CX-3 a Top Safety Pick and rating. KBB.com’s expert rating lands it at 8.6/10 while the KBB.com consumer rating gave it a higher score of 9.4/10. Past awards include U.S. News & world report “2017 Best Car Brand” and EPA report raves that “it’s the most fuel-efficient auto manufacturer in the U.S.”
And, why wouldn’t it get great reviews? The 2018 Mazda CX-3 excels in driving dynamics, safety, and fuel efficiency.
Handling is one of CX-3’s biggest strengths, offering great steering feel and a buttoned-down chassis that makes it right at home on windy roads and razor-sharp turns. This popular subcompact has agile handling and obedient turn-ins giving exemplary riding and handling characteristics. But, that’s not surprising because that’s just the Mazda sporty engineering.
All 2018 CX-3s are powered by a 2.0-liter engine with 146 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. Its EPA fuel economy ratings are 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg in the highway for front-drive models, and 27 mpg in the city with 32 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive. However, choosing the all-wheel drive gets you a smaller 11.9-gallon tank instead of the larger 12.7-gallon one found in front-drive CX-3s
New for 2018
Again following the trend of other 2018 Mazda’s, the CX-3 includes low-speed automatic emergency braking and G-Vectoring Control system that comes standard on all trims. Cool new tech options include a full-color head-up display, power driver’s seat with memory settings, and a heated steering wheel. Mazda tweaked the steering and chassis to improve the CX-3’s ride comfort, handling, and quietness. And a new exterior color, Machine Grey Metallic, has also been added.
The interior continues to look upscale with its sleek subcompact design. Nothing looks sportier than a light tan interior with the black and red accent. The CX-3 has the Mazda’s weight-saving ‘SKYACTIV’ engineering template and its working wonders with streamlining its build processes and gilt-edging. The dynamics and ergonomics are spot on.
Let’s Break it Down
Standard equipment on the base CX-3 Sport trim includes cloth upholstery, two USB ports, a rearview camera, the MazdaConnect infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, low-speed automatic emergency braking and 16-inch alloy wheels. Forward-collision warning with city-speed automatic emergency braking is also standard for 2018. The Sport trim starts at $20,110 Base MSRP range.
Look up at the mid-level CX-3 Touring trim and it comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery with suede inserts, blind spot warning, keyless entry/start, heated front seats, automatic climate control, rear cross-traffic alert, and auto on/off headlights. The Touring Preferred Equipment package and that adds a Bose premium audio system, a sunroof, satellite radio and a cargo cover.
The range-topping CX-3 Grand Touring trim adds the top of the line features such as leather upholstery with suede inserts, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights, navigation, a head-up display, a Bose premium audio system, and paddle shifters as standard. pay a little more and opt for power-adjustable front seats and a heated steering wheel, as part of the Grand Touring Preferred Equipment package, which also comes with active safety and driver assistance features.
Did I mention the NHTSA gave the 2018 CX-3 a five (out of five) star overall safety score? It’s probably because all 2018 CX-9 models feature standard smart city brake support, a technology that can automatically apply the brakes in certain situations below 19 mph. That combined with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert also attribute to why the CX-3 has excellent safety ratings. Additionally, the i-ACTIVSENSE® suite including high beam control, hill launch assist lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, Mazda radar cruise control with new stop and go function, smart brake support, distance recognition support system and forward obstruction warning, the adaptive front-lighting system, and high beam control.
The 2018 Mazda CX-3 was created for those adventure seeking drivers that want more out of their driving experience. You will explore more freely and with peace knowing how it handles the windy roads and sharp turns. For a vehicle that starts at about $20,000, you get a whole lot of zoom. It’s definitely worth test driving.