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2016 Mazda CX-3 Review

The 2013 Mazda CX-3 delivers fun behind the wheel without compromising fuel efficiency, making it a top choice in its class. However, it lacks the seating and cargo space of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Fun to drive
  • Great on gas
  • Low ownership costs
  • Tight rear-seat and cargo space
  • Tepid highway power

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Mazda CX-3's #1 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Subcompact SUVs category. It was a finalist for our 2016 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award. Currently the Mazda CX-3 has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Mazda CX-3 Overview

Is the 2016 Mazda CX-3 a Good Used SUV?

A used 2016 Mazda CX-3 is a great subcompact SUV to buy. Although it’s not lightning fast, the CX-3 has sharp road manners, excellent gas mileage, and low ownership costs. These benefits make it a fun and frugal SUV. Still, as the smallest crossover in the Mazda lineup, it lacks space. The rear seats are cramped, and there’s less cargo room than just about every competitor. If you want to have some fun on the back roads and don’t mind compromising on interior space, the CX-3 is certainly worth a look.

Why You Can Trust Us

We researched 19 Mazda CX-3 reviews and included information on price, reliability, fuel economy, and more to give you a complete overview of the 2016 CX-3.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews unbiased, we refuse pricey gifts and trips from automakers, and a third party handles the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Mazda CX-3?

Based on more than 250 listings for the 2016 Mazda CX-3 on our site, you can expect to pay between $16,000 and $24,000 for this vehicle. The average list price for a 2016 CX-3 is $20,200. Dealer prices shift based on demand, as well as the vehicle's mileage, features, and condition.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Mazda CX-3 Cost to Own?

Aside from the initial purchase price, there are other costs to owning a vehicle. Compared to other 2016 subcompact SUVs, many of the Mazda CX-3’s ownership costs are lower than average. Over five years, expect to pay a little more than $20,500 on gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance for the 2016 CX-3. That amounts to about $4,100 per year. By comparison, these costs for the 2016 Honda HR-V and 2016 Subaru Crosstrek are about $1,600 and $1,800 more, respectively.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New CX-3?

A 2018 Mazda CX-3 has a starting price of around $20,110, which is $90 less than the average price of a used 2016 CX-3. We recommend getting a new Mazda CX-3. The 2018 model has newly standard automatic emergency braking and a retuned suspension for better performance. Also, a heated steering wheel and a power-adjustable driver’s seat are now available in 2018 models. Just be aware that the entry price for the new model may include less equipment than you'll find in a similarly priced used model.

Read about the new Mazda CX-3 »

There are a few new subcompact SUVs that have lower starting prices than the 2016 CX-3’s average price. They include the Honda HR-V ($19,670) and Jeep Renegade ($18,445). While the HR-V and Renegade don’t rank as high as the 2018 CX-3, they are certainly worth considering. The Honda HR-V has more rear-seat and cargo space as well as a better track record for reliability (though the CX-3's rating is considered average). The Jeep Renegade touts rugged off-road capabilities, an upscale interior, and smooth performance. Keep in mind that many manufacturers regularly offer finance and lease incentives that could save you even more money compared to buying a used CX-3.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Mazda CX-3?

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 has a reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is slightly better than what most subcompact SUVs earn but average overall for the industry.

Read more about CX-3 reliability »

2016 Mazda CX-3 Recalls

At the time of writing, there are two recalls issued by Mazda for the CX-3. One recall fixes a problem that involves the liftgate falling unexpectedly. Another prevents a potential loss of steering control caused by the separation of the steering knuckle from the strut assembly. Before you buy, make sure recall repairs have been taken care of on the model you’re considering.

See more information on Mazda CX-3 safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Mazda CX-3 Is Best?

The Mazda CX-3 made its debut for the 2016 model year. There were no updates for 2017. If you’re set on getting a used model, go for the 2016. It has the same features as a 2017 CX-3 but a lower average price.

Compare the 2016 and 2017 CX-3 »

Which Used Mazda CX-3 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 crossover SUV comes in three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Of these, the Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring is your best bet. It has tons of features, including leather upholstery, a moonroof, automatic climate control, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and alloy wheels. Look for models with the i-Activsense package if you want some of the latest advanced safety features on the market.

See 2016 Mazda CX-3 trims and specs »

What Does Mazda's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mazda offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For each certified pre-owned vehicle, Mazda extends the original limited powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the expiration of the original three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Every CPO Mazda must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits may include towing, a 90-day complimentary SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, extended coverage, and roadside assistance, so read the Mazda warranty page carefully.

Mazda’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Chevy, Hyundai, and Kia all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the CX-3?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2016 CX-3 a Top Safety Pick+ and gave it the highest score of Good in all five individual crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it five out of five stars overall. The 2016 CX-3 also earned five stars in NHTSA frontal and side crash testing, and it received four stars in rollover testing.

The 2016 CX-3 comes standard with a rearview camera. The Touring trim adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring models are available with a safety package that adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

See CX-3 safety scores »

2016 Mazda CX-3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-3 or 2016 Honda HR-V?

The Honda HR-V has a comfortable ride, excellent fuel economy, and a roomy interior. The rear seats have an extra 4.3 inches of legroom. That might not sound like much, but in a subcompact SUV, every bit of passenger space counts. It also boasts almost 30 percent more overall cargo space than the CX-3. We named the HR-V our 2016 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money and 2016 Best Subcompact SUV for Families.

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-3 or 2016 Subaru Crosstrek?

The Subaru Crosstrek offers composed, nimble handling and terrific fuel economy (especially the Crosstrek Hybrid). On the downside, underwhelming highway power and tight cargo holds plague both the Crosstrek and CX-3. The Crosstrek has utility appeal with its standard all-wheel drive. It also has roomier rear seats. However, the CX-3 has sportier road manners, edgier styling, and better highway fuel economy. Both are solid choices, but the right one for you depends on whether you place a higher value on practicality or fun behind the wheel.

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-3 or 2016 Mazda CX-5?

The Mazda CX-5 and the smaller CX-3 have much in common. Although both come up short on power, they share agile handling and great fuel economy, as well as similar features and interior quality. Although the CX-5 costs a few thousand dollars more, it’s the better SUV. That’s mostly because it has more seating and cargo space than the CX-3. Behind its rear seats, the CX-5 has almost three times the cargo space of the CX-3.

Compare the CX-3, HR-V, and Crosstrek »

2016 CX-3 Performance

How Does the 2016 Mazda CX-3 Drive?

The CX-3’s standard Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine has no trouble getting the vehicle up to speed from a stop, but it struggles when passing on the highway. Unlike some other competitors, the CX-3 does not offer a more powerful engine option. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive come standard, and available all-wheel drive improves road grip. The CX-3 feels nimble for a subcompact SUV, but it’s no Ferrari. Still, it’s fun to drive on curvy roads. It also has a smooth ride, even over broken pavement.

Does the 2016 Mazda CX-3 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The CX-3 makes up for its poky acceleration with excellent gas mileage. The front-wheel-drive CX-3 returns 29 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. With all-wheel drive, expect slightly lower fuel economy: 27/32 mpg city/highway.

Read more about CX-3 performance »

2016 CX-3 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 CX-3 Seat?

The Mazda CX-3 seats five on standard cloth upholstery. Leatherette and leather upholsteries are available, along with heated front seats and sport seats. Unlike some rivals, the CX-3 doesn’t offer power-adjustable seats.

You’ll have no problem getting comfortable up front in the CX-3, but the rear seats are cramped, even for a subcompact SUV. If you frequently cart around rear-seat passengers, you should look elsewhere.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Mazda CX-3?

The CX-3 has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the rear outboard seats and a tether-only connection in the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Mazda CX-3’s LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Features

The CX-3 comes standard with push-button start and the straightforward Mazda Connect infotainment system, which features Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 7-inch touch screen. Some models feature satellite radio and a seven-speaker Bose audio system. Other available features include automatic climate control, a moonroof, and navigation. Some models also have a head-up display, which shows information like current vehicle speed, navigation directions, and safety feature warnings. However, its height can’t be adjusted, making it a distraction for some drivers.

See 2016 Mazda CX-3 specs »

Read more about CX-3 interior »

2016 Mazda CX-3 Dimensions

Mazda CX-3 Cargo Space

There’s less cargo space in the Mazda CX-3 than many other subcompact SUVs. Behind the rear seats, you’ll have just 12.4 cubic feet of cargo room, which is the same amount of space you get in the Mazda3 sedan's trunk. With 20.2 cubic feet, even the Mazda3 hatchback offers more room than the CX-3. With the rear seats folded, the CX-3 has 44.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Its high load height and lack of a flat cargo floor make it trickier to load than most in the class.

2016 CX-3 Length and Weight

The Mazda CX-3 is about 14 feet long. Its curb weight is between 2,809 and 2,952 pounds. The gross vehicle weight is 3,840 pounds with FWD and 3,990 pounds with AWD.

Where Was the 2016 Mazda CX-3 Built?

Mazda assembled the 2016 Mazda CX-3 in Hiroshima, Japan.

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