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Used cars are one of the best ways to own a vehicle without breaking the bank. However, buying a used car leaves you in the dark in terms of car condition, with many having varied reliability. The Mazda CX-3 was a solid offering from Mazda, and despite it having been phased out, enthusiasts can still own used models. Despite being a good car, only one used Mazda CX-3’s reliability is proven.

The Mazda CX-3’s history

Mazda unveiled the CX-3 in 2014 for the 2016 model year, with sales beginning in the United States at the end of 2015. The car was positioned as a more compact alternative to Mazda’s larger SUV offerings, such as the CX-9, and was a replacement for the subcompact Mazda2.

The vehicle was in production from 2016 through the 2021 model year, when it was replaced with the CX-30. During its time in the North American market, the CX-3 gained popularity for its agile handling, stylish design, and efficient Skyactiv-G engine.

In 2019, Mazda introduced the much larger CX-30 for the 2020 model year, slotting it in between the CX-3 and CX-5. The 2020 model year in the U.S. saw the Touring and Grand Touring trim get dropped to make room for the much better CX-30. With the introduction of the CX-30 and its subsequent popularity, Mazda effectively decided to discontinue the CX-3 in 2022, with 2021 marking the final model year for the vehicle.

Varying Mazda CX-3 reliability and the most reliable model year

New model years of the Mazda CX-3 were celebrated for their fun driving dynamics and excellent handling. However, as a used car, the CX-3 isn’t as alluring, with varying reliability reviews from owners. CX-3 owners can’t seem to agree on whether the vehicle is reliable, with most model years having either subpar or unproven reliability.

However, despite this, the 2019 emerges as the most reliable CX-3. According to J.D. Power, the 2019 Mazda CX-3 has a Quality and Reliability score of 83 out of 100. In comparison, the model years 2016, 2017, and 2018 all have a 74 out of 100 rating, while the 2021 model year has the lowest rating of 72 out of 100.

Owners of the used 2019 CX-3 reported liking the car’s acceleration, stability in poor conditions, and coordination of interior colors and textures. However, some owners didn’t like the limited trunk and hatch space and its voice recognition and Bluetooth. Others complained of the snug second-row seats.

CoPilot Search advises potential buyers to avoid the 2018 and 2020 model years. The 2020 model year did not have a reliability rating on J.D. Power, but CoPilot Search listed its subpar engine performance and owner complaints such as engine misfires and high oil consumption as cause for alarm. As for the 2018 CX-3, owners complained of electronic glitches and transmission issues.

An overview of the 2019 Mazda CX-3


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A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission can be found under the hood of the 2019 Mazda CX-3. The engine produces 148 hp and takes 8.1 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. The car has an EPA-estimated rating of 30 mpg and comes standard with front-wheel drive. An all-wheel drive option is also available.

The 2019 CX-3 comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a rotary knob controller that makes it easier to operate the system. The car is technically a five-seater, but if you’re looking for plenty of rear passenger space and cargo space, you may be better off looking elsewhere. The vehicle is available in three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring, with the base trim starting at $21,435. The mid-level trim starts at $23,520, while the top-level trim has a starting MSRP of $26,790.

If you’re looking for a used Mazda CX-3, reliability ratings will point you into the direction of the 2019 model.