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Gearhead
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Always nice when the auto media evaluates on of "our" vehicles and likes it.



AutoWeek said:
2017 Mazda CX-3 review: A sharp subcompact that can handle itself!

A FUN-TO-DRIVE ENTRY IN THE COMPACT CROSSOVER FIELD

The subcompact crossover is, like the midsize sedan and the standard-issue two-row compact crossover before it, well on its way to becoming a commoditized fixture of the mass-market automotive landscape. Soon enough, every automaker will offer one, everybody will own one, and all the successful models will probably look and drive more or less the same.

For now, though, there’s some differentiation among these utilitarian vehicles. The CX-3 is one of the fun ones. It’s obviously not a hatchbacked MX-5, but it’s still a fairly precise people hauler without the expected handling slack or slop.

Acceleration isn’t exhilarating. Like most Mazdas I’ve driven, the car is on the edge of being underpowered. But it never quite feels gassed, and in the FWD configuration tested here, it doesn’t run out of steam under normal driving.

More importantly, it doesn’t feel huge or uncertain on the road. From a driving dynamics perspective, feeling controlled and compact is a good thing. I had a few of those commercial-worthy moments where I found myself driving a little harder through commute-spec corners than I otherwise might have and smiling contentedly to myself afterward.

In that respect, the vehicle is better than it needs to be to meet the lowest common denominator’s demands.

Unfortunately, if there’s one thing that the CX-3 has against it, it’s that same compactness. I hate to be the guy who digs through spec sheets to bring you boring info about cargo capacities, but the CX-3’s sleek hatchback look results in about 6 fewer cubic feet of stuff-space than, for example, the less-inspiring-to-drive Chevrolet Trax (42.3 to 48.4 with the second row folded down, respectively).

Researching and typing out these numbers has very nearly put me to sleep, but they’re important to consider on these utility-driven crossovers. Thus, I can’t help but wonder if the underpinnings would have been better served by a set of 2/3rds-scale CX-5 lines than the sportier sheetmetal it currently wears. The Fiat 500X faces a similar handicap.

On the other hand, a lot of people who end up in crossovers would have been perfectly served by a sedan, let alone a hatchback, before the crossover market emerged; anecdotally, the extra cubic capacity seems to get filled with junk.

So if you’re realistic about how much trunk room you need, the CX-3 is probably the most fun, best-trimmed option in this segment. I’d like to do a CX-3/HR-V/Trax/500X comparison to see how they all fare side by side.

--Graham Kozak, associate editor

Mazda CX-3 news and information including photos CAR NEWS Mazda CX-3 rides the crossover sales wave.

Read more: 2017 Mazda CX-3 review
 
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