Mazda is being a busy bee as of late. Recently, many of their models received a total exterior revision. Also, the interior and tech features of Mazda cars are astounding for vehicles within their price range, like the 2017 Mazda6. Furthermore, Mazda is not planning to start taking it slow any time soon. Their latest updated and refreshed vehicle is the subcompact crossover, the 2017 Mazda CX-3. This car went on sale first in 2015 as a 2016 model and is already returning for 2017. Special attention in this review for the 2017 updates, while discussing the car as a whole.
Starting with the global appearance of the car. Although it is a CX model, the 2017 Mazda CX-3 exterior has more in common with the Mazda3 sedan. Moreover, Mazda designs according to the KODO “Soul of Motion” design language. Mazda describes this as perceiving a car more like a living creature than a piece of metal. With their designs they attempt to create an emotional bond between car and driver, much like the bond between horse and rider. As a result, Mazda uses organic and flowing lines with soft, round curves, while retaining the angular outlines that are conventional in automobiles.
Nine exterior colours and four wheel types are available for choice.
The square, slightly diagonal headlights give the car a resilient expression. The CX-3 is quite wide and low to the ground. In combination with the sloping roofline the front of the car looks stealthy and dangerous, like a lion ready to attack its prey.
Moving to the side, the 2017 Mazda CX-3 has a dark outline that follows the bottom of the side. In the side skirts the outline slowly rises from front to back door and finishes with a chrome stripe. The side accurately shows the curvy lines that Mazda aspires to implement. The outline of the hood flows directly into the side and ends in a small point at the back wheel arch. Another curved line starts at the front window and bends lightly while traveling to the rear fender, like a small wave washing up on the shore.
The back of the car nicely connects all the organic lines. All in all, a fabulous design that truly lives up to the KODO design language.
New for 2017 are standard 18-inch alloy wheels for CX-3 Touring models. For 2016, these came only on the GT-M.
Some features seen before on the Mazda MX5 Miata are the tablet-like infotainment screen and round air vents. The European base model does not feature an infotainment screen, the US base model does.
The rest of the 2017 Mazda CX-3 interior is calm and futuristic. Many buttons are located around the driver’s seat, while the passenger’s seat remains slightly empty. Whereas the exterior is very round and swooped, the interior looks angular and sharp.
Leather seats are available on the highest trim, as is a BOSE sound system.
The automatic transmission is a stick shift and located next to it is a rotary knob for handling the infotainment. The heating and air conditioning have individual knobs, so no hassling with the infotainment screen will be necessary.
The rear seats are a bit higher than the front seats, so backseat passengers have a better view through the windshield.
In Europe, there are three available engines. There’s a gasoline SKYACTIV-G 120 2.0 liter engine, that can make 120 horsepower and can either be paired with an automatic or manual transmission. Next up is a SKYACTIV-D 105 1.5 liter diesel engine, good for 105 HP. The highest trim, the Grand Touring (GT-M), comes with a SKYACTIV-G 2.0 liter gasoline engine, also with manual or automatic transmission. This engine is good for 150 horse power and is four wheel driven.
The US gets a 2.0 liter four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine with Advanced Direct Injection. Four wheel drive or front wheel drive are eligible for choice and the transmission is a six speed automatic. HP is 146.
Standard tech features are Bluetooth phone connectivity for phone and audio streaming, a USB input, MZD Connect, Hill Launch Assist and keyless entry. Standard on higher trims is cruise control, light and rain sensors, parking sensors and on the Grand Touring a rear view camera. Also, Smart City Brake Support and Lane Departure Warning are available on the higher trims.
Standard on the GT-M is navigation and Active Driving Display, where the car’s speed is projected on the windshield. Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic alert, High Beam Control and Mazda Radar Cruise Control are standard on the European GT-M. In the USA they are combined in the i-Activsense package of safety technology and cost $1200 on the 2017 CX-3, a $700 drop since last year.
Price and sale date
Besides this, Mazda also offers a great list of accessories, ranging from a roofrack to a car cover and an interior lighting kit.
The 2017 Mazda CX-3 went on sale in July. US prices start at $19,960 for the base model Sport. The Touring edition costs $21,960 and the Grand Touring or GT-M starts at $24,990.
European prices vary per country, but the Sport starts at around €18,000. The most expensive Grand Touring costs around €30,000.