The Good The 2016 Mazda CX-3 impressed with handling that delivers on its "sport-tuned" promise and a responsive Skyactiv powertrain that's more zippy than its horsepower numbers would indicate. The compact also boasts more available driver aid and cabin tech than you might expect at this price point.
The Bad Positioned below an armrest in the Grand Touring model, the Mazda Connect's physical controller can be an awkward reach. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available.
The Bottom Line Small in stature and a tad light on utility, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 hustles to the front of its burgeoning segment on the strength of its looks, dynamics, interior polish and technology.
Tiny crossover SUV wows with big style, crisp handling
If you were in the market for a subcompact crossover not long ago, your choices were limited. If a Buick Encore,, or didn't strike your fancy, you were pretty well out of luck. Barely six months later, what was once a trickle of offerings has become a flood, including the , , , , and the Mazda CX-3 seen here.
The so-called cute-ute genre may be a suddenly crowded segment (sales volume is projected to just about quadruple inside of four years), but there should be no ignoring this little Mazda. That's because its smartly aggressive looks, premium interior, confident handling and excellent fuel economy add up to quite a value. (Click through my gallery below for tons more photos.)
We'll start with this Japanese confection's candy-coated shell. It's handsome and toned in a way that recalls its larger CX-5 brethren, yet it doesn't lift any design elements wholesale. Compared to segment-mates, the CX-3 has an unusually long hood and swept-back windscreen, pinched glass area and curvy sheet metal.
Ford's compact EcoSport crossover will start at $19,995
Its starting price is *very* competitive, since a six-speed automatic is standard.
2017 Mazda CX-5 earns IIHS Top Safety Pick+
Its headlights barely passed the test, but otherwise, the CX-5 was a solid performer.
2017 Mazda CX-9 picks up IIHS Top Safety Pick+
A little extra safety never hurts -- in fact, it's quite the opposite.
Hyundai teases Kona crossover one last time before June reveal
It'll include some tech not seen before on other Hyundai models.
Mazda readies three-row CX-8 crossover for Japan
Mazda already has a CX-9, and it's built in Japan, but it's not offered for sale there.
Updated 2017 Mazda CX-5 to hit dealers in March
Mazda's new compact crossover will wear a $24,045 base price tag.
Mazda CX-9 enters 2017 without raising starting price
Mazda also added a useful safety feature to the Touring trim's list of standard equipment.
Mazda teases all-new CX-5 crossover ahead of Los Angeles Auto Show
It's a little bit CX-9 and a little bit MX-5.
That dragon, rust: Mazda recalls 190,000 SUVs over suspension separation
Is there anything that water and salt can't screw up?
Mazda readies CX-4 crossover for Beijing Motor Show debut
New crossover will be exclusive to the Chinese market at launch, but Mazda will consider bringing it to other markets later on.
A total recall: Mazda calls back every 2014-2016 CX-5 crossover
Fuel leak concerns prompt automaker's move. Mazda says there have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue so far.