The CX-3 is the smallest and most affordable crossover in the current Mazda lineup. A brand new CX-3 carries a starting price of $20,640. Unfortunately for Mazda, the tiny crossover is not a big seller. And the introduction of the high-tech CX-30 almost certainly means that the CX-3 is in trouble. According to Consumer Reports, depreciation has hit the CX-3 aggressively, and 2017 or newer models can be had for as little as $12,300, making it the ideal car for teens.
Teen drivers are bound to make mistakes
Aside from the Mazda CX-3’s price, the next primary concern for parents of new drivers is safety. The IIHS gave the CX-3 its “Top Safety Pick +” award, making it one of its segment’s safest options. The crash tests revealed positive strength results from critical structural components such as the sides, roof strength, and the front overlap.
Mazda’s added benefit of offering very few trim levels for the CX-3 is that almost all of the equipment comes as standard, including the safety tech. The Mazda CX-3’s standard safety equipment covers front crash prevention with other vehicles and pedestrians. The only test that the CX-3 didn’t nail was the headlight evaluation, only scoring an “Acceptable” rating.
A simple powertrain should mean affordable repair bills
Under the hood of the Mazda CX-3 lives a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. With a whopping 148 hp and 148 lb-ft of available torque, the CX-3 should be more than manageable for a teen driver. The lack of turbochargers and complicated hybrid systems also means that long term maintenance should be very affordable. One added benefit of utilizing a ubiquitous Mazda engine is that parts should be readily available.
Mated to the tiny powerplant is a six-speed automatic transmission. The optimized gearing allows the Mazda to achieve its 29 city and 34 highway mpg ratings. For buyers living in cities that encounter snow, Maza produced a Touring trim level for previous model years, which included an optional all-wheel-drive system.
Consumer Reports’ drive of the CX-3 noted that the powertrain and transmission combo delivered power smoothly. However, the optional 18-inch wheels coupled with a stiff suspension means that the overall ride quality may be harsh, under less than ideal circumstances.
Standard tech means the teens will like it too
The centerpiece of the dashboard includes a 7-inch display as standard. A rotary controller near the gear selector controls all of the media on the screen. The Mazda Connect infotainment system can adjust small vehicle settings and includes key features such as a backup camera. In terms of music, Bluetooth connectivity comes as standard. The 2020 CX-3 also includes AppleCarPlay and Android Auto, a worthwhile upgrade if the budget permits.
2019 and earlier models included higher trim levels that offered a variety of luxury features. Heated seats, leather upholstery, and a Bose sound system were all on offer. As a result, the older CX-3’s may be better equipped. For the sensible $12,300 figure quote earlier, your teen driver can have an almost new, tech-filled crossover that won’t break the bank during or after its purchase.