The 2017 Mazda CX-3 Is an Ugly Stain on the Brand’s Stellar Reputation

It’s tough to go wrong buying a pre-owned Mazda. The brand punches well above its weight class in quality and performance. Thus, saving thousands of dollars by purchasing one on the used market seems like a no-brainer. However, you may want to think twice before pulling the trigger on a used 2017 Mazda CX-3.

We won’t leave you hanging if you were considering purchasing this pre-owned small SUV. We’ll break down the common problems these used CX-3 models run into and provide some higher-quality alternatives.

What’s wrong with the 2017 Mazda CX-3

A red 2017 Mazda CX-3 parked in the show with Mazda flags in the background
The 2017 Mazda CX-3 parked in the snow | Mazda

It’s generally a smart idea to purchase a Mazda on the pre-owned market. But some experts recommend looking elsewhere before settling on a used 2017 Mazda CX-3. In fact, this model landed on Consumer Reports’ dreaded ‘Used Cars to Avoid Buying’ list.

Examining the publication’s review of the 2017 CX-3 clarifies why it’s one of the worst Mazda vehicles to buy. It pointed out that this small SUV has a cramped interior with a tiny cargo hold. This (literal) shortcoming isn’t exclusive to 2017 models, which is why the CX-3 is better suited as a used car for young drivers rather than families.

The CX-3 also has some annoying aspects, no matter who’s behind the wheel. Primarily, its cabin is relatively loud due to engine and wind noise. These factors played a significant role in Consumer Reports giving the 2017 Mazda CX-3 a 1/5 owner satisfaction rating.

These criticisms may seem superficial. But they’re just scratching the surface of the problems you may encounter with a used 2017 CX-3. So, let’s break down some of the known mechanical issues that plague this model.

Is a used 2017 Mazda CX-3 a reliable vehicle?

A look at the cramped interior of the 2017 Mazda CX-3
The 2017 Mazda CX-3’s interior | Mazda

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No, the 2017 CX-3 doesn’t live up to expectations in this significant category. Experts and consumers alike typically regard Mazda as a reliable car brand. However, every manufacturer misses the mark once in a while. Unfortunately for uninformed consumers, the 2017 CX-3 is one of those rare misfires.

These concerns are likely another reason why Consumer Reports warns against buying a used 2017 Mazda CX-3. The publication is one of the leading resources in identifying how dependable used cars are. Consumer Reports gathers reliability data from its subscribers on an annual basis. The publication then evaluates 17 potential trouble spots on each model based on the feedback it received. 

According to Consumer Reports, the 2017 Mazda CX-3 has a 20% reliability rating. The small SUV’s climate system and power equipment are the most likely components to fail. Additionally, owners reported higher-than-average problems involving the suspension system.

What are some similarly priced alternatives to this used SUV?

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Do you like the idea of the 2017 Mazda CX-3 but not the problems that come along with it? Don’t worry; we have you covered. But first, we must identify how much you might spend on a four-year-old used small SUV.

Consumer Reports states that used 2017 CX-3 models retail between $13,550-$17,225. Thankfully, the vehicle that most resembles the CX-3 is still inside the Mazda family.

Used 2016 CX-5 models fall into a similar price range as the 2017 Mazda CX-3. It’s bigger, more reliable, and more refined. However, we recommend spending a bit more money to get into a 2017 CX-5 – the first model of the current generation of the compact SUV. According to Consumer Reports, used 2017 Mazda CX-5 models have a retail price between $15,400-$19,625.

Alternatively, the U.S. News & World Report ranks the 2018 Hyundai Kona and 2018 Buick Encore as top affordable subcompact SUV options. Both models have a starting retail price of around $15,000 but bring different characteristics to the table.

The 2018 Buick Encore has a premium feel similar to the 2017 Mazda CX-3, featuring upscale materials. However, it lacks the CX-3’s sportiness. Meanwhile, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is a little more fun to drive and has a techy feel.