Photo by Vince Taroc.
The Mazda CX-3 was updated for the 2018 model year with the addition of several new standard features, many of which fleet managers with an eye for safety will love.
My initial thoughts during my test drive with CX-3, which was the Grand Touring 4WD trim, were that it was nimble, responsive, and, above all, safe. While, not as large and spacious as its bigger brother, the CX-5, this subcompact SUV holds its own.
New features include G-Vectoring on the optional i-Activ all-wheel drive system, which improves driving dynamics including steering, handling, and stability. This is where my first thoughts of nimble and responsive came into play. Every maneuver felt precise and responsive. Driving the CX-3 was effortless and I felt instantly comfortable in it. Fleet’s needn’t worry educating their driver's much about this very intuitive vehicle.
Vehicle safety is a big deal for me, not to mention fleet managers, so I was very pleased to find that the mid-cycle update for this CX-3 featured the Smart City Brake Support pre-crash safety feature. This feature is an automated frontal crash system that can apply the brakes below 19 mph. While I thankfully didn’t need to “test” this feature during my time with it, I felt much more confident on the road, and I'm sure fleet drivers with a lot on their mind will appreciate the extra set of "eyes," too.
I also loved the blind spot detection notifications. Navigating the unforgiving freeways of Los Angeles was much more pleasant in the CX-3; everytime I received a light “ping” when I was preparing to merge into a lane that had a vehicle in my blind spot gave me that much more confidence during my ride.
Photo by Vince Taroc.
The infotainment setup is wonderfully intuitive, and after minor troubleshooting on my end, I felt confident in navigating the roads without having to think twice when it came to understanding the interface.
Though smaller in size, the CX-3 still gets the job done. Trunk space was 12.4 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 44.5 cubic feet with the row folded down. The second-row seats are compact, though not tiny by any means; a passenger who joined my test drive and sat in the back seat said that he was quite comfortable, though observed that if it was packed entirely with taller people, they might feel cramped.
The Mazda CX-3 AWD model offers an EPA-estimated rating of 29 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway, for a combined 31 mpg.