Buyer's Guide

2021 Mazda Cx-3
Select a Different Model (2 Available): Sport AWD
Fuel Economy $ 27 / 32 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 45 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 5/5
Horsepower 148@6,000
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  • Fun handling
  • Great fuel economy
  • Tasteful interior and exterior design


  • Loud cabin
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Limited cargo volume

The CX-3 is the smallest of Mazda's crossover SUVs, positioned below the CX-30, CX-5, and CX-9. It was introduced for the 2016 model year and has since seen a slight facelift and the addition of standard driver-assist active safety features, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The single-trim CX-3 competes alongside other subcompact utelettes including the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Venue, and Ford EcoSport.

Looking for info on the slightly larger Mazda CX-30? Head here for the full story.

What's New

  • Night Pedestrian Detection added to Advanced Smart City Brake Support
  • Updated key fob design and badge font

What We Think

The CX-3 is a strong representation of what we loved about Mazda five years ago; it's an inexpensive enthusiast's pick in a mostly underwhelming segment. This subcompact crossover provides precise steering and great body control unmatched by most of its competitors. Its 148-hp four-banger provides ample acceleration and great fuel economy to boot.

Unfortunately, the CX-3 is not immune to Mazda's foibles. Its interior is loud on the highway, and both rear seat space and cargo volume fail to impress. The infotainment system can take some getting used to as well. As long as you're not trying to help a friend move or go on a road trip with more than one other full-sized adult, the CX-3 is a stylish, fun-to-drive little SUV.

Is the CX-3 Being Cancelled?

Mazda has officially announced that the CX-3 will be discontinued for the 2022 model year. We can't say the decision surprises us; the CX-3's age and overlap with the CX-30 made it a less appealing choice in the lineup. Still, part of us is sad to see it go. It was a nice little vehicle that at times placed higher than the CX-30 in our subcompact SUV rankings. Nevertheless, the CX-3 served its purpose for Mazda, and now the brand is moving on. Model year 2021 will be the CX-3's final year on sale.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Regardless of trim, every CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter non-turbo four-cylinder developing 148 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. Buyers have a choice between FWD and AWD layouts but all CX-3s transmit power to the wheels with help from a six-speed automatic. Front-drivers are EPA-rated at 29/34 mpg city/highway; AWD models lose 2 mpg in both categories. In our testing, a FWD CX-3 can hit 60 in 8.2 seconds and the heavier AWD car trails it by 0.2 second.


The CX-3 is a very strong performer in IIHS safety testing. It earns the highest available designation of 2021 Top Safety Pick+ with excellent crashworthiness scores, Acceptable headlights, and Superior front crash prevention. The small Mazda also receives a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, with the caveat that the left rear door panel intruded on the cabin during the side barrier test, striking the torso of the rear passenger dummy.

Starting in the 2020 model year, Mazda's i-Activsense collection of active safety features has been standard on the CX-3. The bundle of features includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

The CX-3 seats five with 41.7 inches of legroom up front and a relatively tight 35.0 inches in the rear. There's only 17.8 cubic feet behind the rear seat, but if you fold those seats down, capacity expands to 42.7 cubic feet.


The CX-3 operates with an older version of Mazda's rotary dial-controlled infotainment system. In this application, it features a 7.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support plus six-speaker audio.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 2.0 Liter SKYACTIV-GĀ®
Transmission Name
Transmission, SKYACTIV-DRIVEĀ® 6 Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Sport AWD
Subcompact Utility
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Maintenance Warranty Months
Corrosion Warranty Months
Powertrain Warranty Miles
Full Warranty Miles
Powertrain Warranty Months
Full Warranty Months
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Maintenance Warranty Miles
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Mazda announces a Bonus Cash offer for active duty Military personnel. 09-30-2021
$500 Mazda announces an APR Cash offer. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$1000 Mazda announces Customer Cash on select models. 06-30-2021
$0 1.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 24, 36, 48, 63 Months - Mazda announces APR rates on select models. 06-30-2021
$0 3.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Mazda announces APR rates on select models. 06-30-2021