2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD Review and Road Test

I like small SUV’s. They are practical. Inexpensive. And have a lot of sportiness and utility. This week a Dynamic Blue Mica (bright blue in non-car speak) 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD was going to be my driver for the week. I had driven its larger cousin the Mazda CX-5 and I was excited to see how I liked the smaller CX-3. I have been in the Jeep Renegade Sport 4×4 and the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 which are similar in size and price to the CX-3. I really liked those, so I wanted to see how the Mazda CX-3 compared.

The CX-3 is a small, inexpensive 5 person SUV. Equipped with Mazda’s Skyactive-G 2.0L 16 valve 4 cylinder engine with 146 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque mated to a Skyactive-drive 6-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. The 2.0L 4-cyclinder engine is a peppy engine with plenty of acceleration which makes going to and from the grocery store kind of fun. Even though the CX-3 is small, it has plenty of room for 5 and lots of cargo space in the rear coming in at 10.1 cubic feet with the seats up and a whopping 42.3 cubic feet with the rear seats down. I had plenty of room for a full week’s worth of groceries in the back with room to spare.

The CX-3 is a great car for the college coed. It won the INHS Top Safety Pick in 2016 and with mileage of 27/32/29 for the AWD version (29/35/31 for the FWD version), even a college kid can afford to fill it up. The interior looks really cool with white leather seats with black lux suede inserts and a touch or dark red leather on each of the armrests. The instrument cluster has a huge rev counter front and center with a smaller digital speedo in the bottom left corner. Very cool, perhaps a bit urban even. Mazda has an inexpensive heads up display that I like from a safety perspective, but it looks a bit flimsy and cheap. It consists of a smoky black piece of plastic that pops up above the dash cluster and shows speed and Nav. When it first popped up I wasn’t sure what it was because I was too tall to see the display without slouching way down. I quickly found how to adjust it and once I angled it back some I could see the display reasonably well. I prefer the heads-up displays you find in more expensive cars, but you aren’t going to find those in a $28,000 SUV. I give Mazda credit for including it in such an inexpensive vehicle and by the end of the week I found myself using it more then the dash cluster.

The base price of the CX-3 Grand Touring AWD is $26,240 and mine had the GT I-Activesense Package for an additional $1,170 for a total price of $28,310. A very reasonable price for this much SUV. The GT I-Activesense Package adds:

  • Radar cruise;
  • Smart city brake support;
  • Smart brake support;
  • Variable rain-sensing wipers;
  • Lane departure warning;
  • Auto-on/off headlights; and
  • High beam control.

My favorite small SUV to date is the BMW X-1 and while the Mazda isn’t in the same class costing nearly half as much, the Mazda still performed really well and I liked it.  And given that it won the INHS Top Safety Pick in 2016, it will be on my short list of cars to look at when my almost-14-year old starts to drive (right now she says she wants a Ford F-250 Diesel).  The 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD definitely puts the sport and utility back into the SUV.



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