$16,489 - $21,387

2018 Mazda CX-3 Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.3

The 2018 CX-3 has one of the most upmarket cabins in the class. Its modern styling and first-rate materials wouldn't feel out of place in a luxury-badged model. The upper trims are especially chic, though even the base model stands out in the class. The front seats are supportive and spacious, but the back seats are less accommodating. The CX-3's infotainment system is fairly straightforward, and there are many advanced safety features available. Cargo space is below average for the class.

  • "Even in its Sport model, the monotone black-cloth upholstery looks good, and upping the ante to the Touring model's Leatherette and Lux Suede or the Grand Touring model's leather/Lux Suede seats with second-color piping sweetens the deal into luxury territory. With the GT you also get soft-stitched material over the gauge hood. The cockpit is geared toward the driver in what Mazda calls its 'Head-up Cockpit' concept." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With a keen attention to design, the 2017 CX-3's cabin looks sleek and contemporary, and it's trimmed in materials that look reasonably high-end." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "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 (2016)

Seating

Cloth upholstery is standard in the 2018 CX-3, while leather or leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel are optional. The CX-3's seats are all nicely cushioned, but the front seats in particular hold you in place around quick turns thanks to their ample side support. The front of the cabin is roomy and has plenty of headroom for tall adults. In the back, it's more cramped. There's decent headroom for average-sized adults, but legroom is very limited.

For installing child safety seats, the CX-3 has full sets of LATCH connectors on the outboard rear seats, with an additional upper tether anchor on the middle seat.

  • "The front seats are fantastic. They are firm yet comfy, with good lateral support for cornering. … The rear outboard seats are pretty plush, with a seatback that isn't too upright." -- Edmunds
  • Front passengers will find a surprisingly good degree of room-especially if they get to fully stretch out. However, if they do, rear passengers will be somewhat cramped. Even under the best of circumstances, the rear seat can hold two adults. Front headroom is ample enough, but some rear headroom is sacrificed the sloping roof." -- Consumer Guide
  • 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 (2016)

Interior Features

The CX-3 comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a rearview camera, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. Optional features include a moonroof, automatic climate control, a seven-speaker Bose sound system, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, a head-up display, a traffic sign recognition system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

You can control the CX-3's Mazda Connect infotainment system using both the touch screen and the console-mounted knob. It's intuitive after a brief learning curve, though some features will require multiple steps to access. The screen itself is placed high on the dash, making it easy to see from the driver’s seat.

See 2017 Mazda CX-3 specs »

  • Mazda's infotainment system is based around a rotary-dial interface, which is easy enough to learn but can require extra steps for some functions. Bluetooth is standard, as is some app integration, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't available." -- 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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Cargo

With only 12.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats and 44.5 cubic feet with the second row folded, the CX-3 has one of the smallest cargo capacities in the class. In fact, many hatchbacks offer more cargo room than the CX-3. Not only is there very little room for your stuff, but the cargo floor is high above the ground, so you’ll have to lift things up to load them. The CX-3 doesn't have many small cubbies to store your personal items.

  • The glove box is usefully large, but other personal-item storage isn't always as accommodating. There are small front-door pockets with bottle holders, and a small open area under the instrument panel that holds power and USB ports. The console contains a pair of cup holders, but they are inaccessible when the center armrest is in use. The rear row has just a pouch on the back of the front passenger seat and a bottle holder in each door." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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 (2016)
  • 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 (2016)

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