What is it: Mazda's smallest crossover utility aims to stand out from competitors by delivering the brand's sleek styling, accented with brushed metal and swooping curves. Inside, too, Mazdaone-ups this utilitarian set with upscale trim and high-quality leather/faux suede that looks like it belongs in a higher-end car. No surprise, then, that the CX-3 is one of the pricier utilities in its class.
Base Price: $27,355 As Tested Price: $29,615
Highlights: Our Grand Touring CX-3 with the Premium Package is about as loaded as you can get one of these pint-sized utilities. It comes with a suite of advanced safety and convenience tech including radar cruise control, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert; the heated steering wheel makes it more fun to keep your hands where they belong.
Our Opinion: The diminutive CX-3 almost falls into the category of 'personal crossover;' there's room enough for four (maybe even five), but everyone feels VERY close. It's actually smaller inside than most of its competitors, particularly in the cargo area. On the flip side, Mazda has bestowed the CX-3 with near-luxury interior trimmings -- leather-trimmed seats contrast with faux-suede inserts in the door panels, and the upholstered dash trim is accented by brushed-metal accents that appear to be actual metal. So you end up with a cabin that's smaller but nicer to look at than a comparable Honda or Toyota...your needs will dictate your tradeoffs.
The fact it's a Mazda guarantees the CX-3 will be at least entertaining to drive, and that's the case. It's not fast, but Mazda sticks with a traditional six-speed automatic versus the continuously variable transmissions found in most of the competition. As a result, the CX-3 is far more entertaining to run to redline whether the shift paddles are used or not. Likewise, it can be flung through corners and curves with abandon, the only tradeoff being a stiff, choppy ride courtesy of the short wheelbase and firm suspension.
Its tight dimensions will probably keep it from ever achieving the sales status of its well-rounded CX-5 big brother, but the CX-3 at least gets the 'semi-luxurious subcompact driver's crossover' niche all to itself.
--Andrew Stoy, digital editor
Options: Premium Package including radar cruise control, smart brake support, six-way power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, lane departure warning, high beam control, driver seat memory, traffic sign recognition ($1,435), frameless auto-dim mirror ($325), roof rack/side rails ($300), rear bumper guard ($100), door trim sill plate ($100)Post taken from the site: AutoWeek