$15,283 - $19,790

2016 Mazda CX-3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 Mazda CX-3 was new.


Interior: 7.6

Reviewers are pleased with the Mazda CX-3's interior, noting that its material quality is very good for an entry-level SUV. Test drivers think the CX-3's front seats are fairly comfortable, but many find its back seats to be cramped. Reviewers appreciate the CX-3's simple and easily accessible controls and straightforward infotainment system. However, they say the available head-up display can be distracting. Most rivals offer more cargo space than the 2016 CX-3.

  • "The highlight of the CX-3, however, is its interior, which is wonderfully upscale for an entry-level vehicle and supremely comfortable-at least for front-seat occupants." -- Car and Driver
  • "In keeping with its primary mission to attract young active-lifestyle singles and couples, the 2016 Mazda CX-3's cabin matches contemporary character and impressive isolation with an abundance of features." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "So functionality isn't the CX-3's thing. Look past that, however, and you're rewarded with a nicely arranged, genuinely premium-feeling interior. The choice of materials in both the mid-grade Touring and top-level Grand Touring models are above average for the class, with nicely grained plastics and soft-touch stuff mixed into a design that is both simplistic and modern. It may be a step down in terms of packaging, but the CX-3's interior is a leap above segment average." -- Autoblog
  • "The crossover's interior really stood out. Our CX-3 Grand Touring model came with a cream, red, and gray interior with leather/cloth seats, plenty of soft touch spots on the doors and dash, and, well, a dashing, cream-colored padding area on the dash itself. It looked and felt luxurious." -- Motor Trend 
  • Though the dashboard's attractive layout, intuitive ergonomics, and high-class materials are a noticeable step above any of the CX-3's competitors, the cabin is unacceptably cramped." -- Automobile Magazine


The 2016 Mazda CX-3 has seating for five on standard cloth upholstery. Manually adjustable front seats are standard, and leatherette, leather upholstery, heated front seats and sport seats are available. The front seats have decent comfort and support, but critics are disappointed that power-adjustable front seats are not an option. While most critics find the 2016 CX-3's rear seats to be cramped with little head- and legroom, others say the back seats are comfortable for a pair of adults.

  • "Sitting in back with the front seat adjusted for an average-sized driver meant that our knees brushed up against the seatback. The high beltline that makes for such a swoopy silhouette also cuts visibility for rear-seat passengers, creating a slightly claustrophobic feeling." -- Automobile Magazine
  • The compact second row of seats is best left to smaller folks and children. A stadium-seating layout affords good visibility from the back, but leg and shoulder room are limited and the front seatbacks encroach upon comfort." -- Car and Driver
  • "Inside it's comfortable and snug without being claustrophobic. Adults can sit in back comfortably and you don't have to apologize to them." -- AutoWeek
  • The seats themselves are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of room up front. The back seats are a different story, as they're designed with shorter passengers in mind -- so much so that Mazda thoughtfully designed the rear-seat height to be high enough to allow short rear-seat passengers to match the eye-level of front-seat passengers. That unfortunately means tall folks such as myself will have a hard time getting comfortable in back; with the front seat in my preferred driving position, there isn't enough room in back to fit my six-foot frame. Foot room and knee room space is adequate (the latter thanks to a nice scallop in the back of the front seats), but legroom and headroom are pretty close to nonexistent for taller adults." -- Motor Trend

Interior Features

The all-new Mazda CX-3 comes well-equipped for the class. Standard features include a six-speaker stereo, a 7-inch touch-screen display, a rearview camera, a Mazda Connect infotainment system, an auxiliary input jack, a USB port, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and push-button start. Available features include a seven-speaker Bose stereo system, satellite radio, automatic climate control, cruise control with close proximity warning, a head-up display, a power moonroof, navigation, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and a Smart City Brake Support System with forward collision warning, which helps prevent low-speed accidents by readying the brakes when there is risk of the CX-3 hitting another vehicle. 

Automotive journalists say the optional infotainment system in the CX-3 is simple to operate. However, reviewers complain that the available head-up display's height can't be adjusted, making it a distraction for drivers. Auto writers like the CX-3's low-mounted dashboard and agree that its climate controls are straightforward to use and easy to reach.

See 2016 Mazda CX-3 specs »

  • The climate controls are a simple three-knob layout which makes them easy to use at a glance. We like the large central tachometer-digital speedometer readout on the Grand Touring, although lower trims get a smaller, harder-to-read bar-graph tachometer hidden in the left corner of the instrument panel. The Grand Touring's head-up display comes across as an afterthought. The readout is transmitted onto the windshield via a plastic screen which rises out of the dash upon startup. But the raised screen can be distracting, and it appears there isn't a way to lower it. Although the head-up display itself is height-adjustable, it never seems to stay in your line of sight so its usefulness is debatable." -- Edmunds
  • After some early issues, the 7-inch screen and the Mazda Connect experience are easy to use. I'm still not totally sold on the flip-up HUD screen despite online production guru Zach Gale's reminder that it works with polarized sunglasses, unlike other systems. And the CX-3 avoided a common CX-5 complaint by not putting the front/center HVAC vents too low." -- Motor Trend
  • "The dash is low and wide, with a well-located infotainment screen mounted up high. An iDrive-style controller rests on the center console, an easy reach from the driver's seat. The interface is straightforward and easy to use-as are the HVAC controls-all the better to let you focus on driving. In this area, Mazda lands a body blow on Honda." -- Road and Track
  • "The cockpit uses a well-organized instrument cluster, and the dash is low and flat, with just the standard seven-inch infotainment control screen taking its position in the center. Beneath that, Grand Touring models feature automatic climate control with high-quality knobs to modulate everything. The Touring interior, pictured here, uses old-school-ish big dials for the HVAC, but it's all very simple and intuitive. As is the navigation/infotainment system control, housed aft of the gear selector. As more and more automakers get on board with large dials to operate this technology, we're happy to report Mazda has a premium feeling setup, even in its most affordable models." -- Autoblog


The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3 has 12.4 cubic feet of cargo room with its back seats in place and 44.5 cubic feet with them folded. Rivals like the Buick Encore and Jeep Renegade offer more cargo room. Reviewers are disappointed by the CX-3's small amount of cargo space and note that its high load height and lack of a flat cargo floor makes it difficult to load.

  • "Above all, the paltry amount of space available in the cargo area and its high load floor eliminate any impression of utility. A Mazda3 five-door hatchback is more spacious inside in every respect and offers a more usable hatch opening and a more accessible low load height. Aren't crossovers supposed to be more practical than traditional cars?" -- Automobile Magazine
  • Overall visibility is good despite the slender windows and high beltline, but pack light because a couple of carry-on bags may nearly fill the rear cargo compartment." -- Car and Driver
  • "But buyers who like crossovers because of their functionality will be disappointed with the CX-3, especially when compared to the incredible storage and versatility offered by the HR-V. What's more, the Mazda's cargo hold has a high load-in height, and a small opening. There isn't even a flat load floor, though the rear bench does split and tumble." -- Autoblog
  • Standard cargo capacity is 12.4 cubic-feet with all seats up. Lower the second row and the max capacity is 44.5 cubic-feet. That's considerably less than the Honda HR-V, slightly less than the Chevy Trax, but a bit more generous than the Nissan Juke." -- Edmunds

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