The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Driving Notes

Driving Mazda's 2016 CX-3

January 28, 2016, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Photo by Mike Antich.
Photo by Mike Antich.

Is it okay to have fun in a company vehicle? If you define fun as experiencing the pleasure of driving, then the answer is yes, and the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3 fits the bill.

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a new entry in an expanding niche of the automotive market – subcompact crossover SUVs.

The CX-3 body type is a five-door hatchback, with a seating capacity for five occupants. The CX-3 model AF test drove was equipped with the optional i-ACTIV all-wheel drive drivetrain.

The first thing that stood out about the CX-3 was its squat muscular stance with large diameter tires and attractive exterior styling.

The CX-3 is lower than Mazda’s best-selling CX-5 and has a shorter wheelbase length of 101.2 inches. However, this body size makes the CX-3 easy to maneuver in urban traffic, giving it an agile, nimble feel, producing that fun-to-drive sensation. In addition, the i-ACTIV all-wheel drive (AWD) system provides a stable, sure-footedness, which I was able to test during recent inclement weather in Southern California.

The CX-3 is powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, which is standard on all trim levels. The SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission delivers a smooth and powerful acceleration. The 2.0L powertrain produces a peppy 146 hp and 146 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Mazda CX-3 AWD model also offers excellent fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 27 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway, for a combined 29 mpg.

Company drivers spend a lot of time in a vehicle, often using it as a mobile office. Upon getting into the driver’s seat, you notice an upscale feel to the high-quality interior design and driver-friendly ergonomics. The interior design is appealing to the eye, featuring tasteful red and metallic accents, along with contrasting stitching on the seats and dash.

Photo by Mike Antich.
Photo by Mike Antich.

The driver’s seat conforms to your body, keeping you snug in a firm driving position. The information displays and control systems are positioned from a driver-oriented perspective and are very ergonomic. Sitting in the driver’s seat, the CX-3 provides a wide field of vision from both the front and rear windows.

In the rear, there is ample room to carry point-of-sale displays and sales materials, and, if more space is needed, the rear seatbacks fold down.

The CX-3 has agile handling and feels sprightly to drive with a good road feel. The electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) is very responsive, contributing to the nimble handling in both city traffic and higher-speed freeway maneuvers.

In addition, the CX-3 provides numerous safety features, such as a full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE safety features optionally available, including lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, Smart Brake Support, rear camera, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) and Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC).

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Amy Winter-Hercher

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Amy is an associate editor for Auto Rental News and Business Fleet.

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Andy Lundin works on Automotive Fleet and Fleet Financials.

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Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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Eric Gandarilla

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Eric Gandarilla works on Automotive Fleet and Fleet Financials.

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Mike Antich

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Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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