Critics and Consumers Disagree on the 2020 Mazda CX-3

Many critics and industry experts will tell you there’s a lot to like about the 2020 Mazda CX-3. It’s stylish, sophisticated, and a lot of fun to drive. You’d think an SUV like that would be selling well, right? It seems that consumers and critics don’t see eye to eye on the Mazda CX-3. Why does the SUV deserve a closer look? Why are its sales down?

The 2020 Mazda CX-3

In a market filled with small SUVs, the 2020 Mazda CX-3 stands out according to Consumer Reports. It offers a nice alternative to the tall, skinny SUVs with its appealing size, head-turning looks, and sleek silhouette. It’s not all that roomy inside but it’s easy to navigate in traffic and tight parking spaces.

What the Mazda CX-3 lacks in space it makes up for with its driving experience. Its performance is similar to that of the Mazda 3 hatchback in that it’s nimble and spirited. All models have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that gets 146 hp. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts splendidly in weather conditions of all types. 

More pleasant to drive than many of its peers, it offers fluid body movements and sharp steering. You feel confident driving it on the highway and joyous driving it on windy back roads. Did we mention that there’s available all-wheel-drive and that it’s fuel-efficient too?

The CX-3’s controls have a little bit of a learning curve but aren’t too complex. Rotary knobs between the seats control phone and volume function and your efforts show up on the display screen. You get the Mazda Connect infotainment system with two USB ports, one audio auxiliary port, two SD card slots, and Bluetooth integration.

The CX-3 has great standard features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alerts, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

Sales are down

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When Mazda reported its October sales, it showed that the automaker actually saw a slight increase in sales over the same period of time last year. But the 2020 Mazda CX-3 wasn’t part of the reason. The CX-3 showed a loss of almost 50 percent from the same period of time last year. 

Several Mazdas saw their best October ever. The CX-5 sold 11,890 units in October 2020 for its best October ever. The CX-9 sold 2,382 units for its second-best October ever. The MX-5 sold 851 units for the best October it’s seen since 2015.

The 2020 Mazda CX-3 sold only 473 units in October 2020, down almost 50 percent from last year. 

What happened?

Despite good reviews from Consumer Reports and others and all it has to offer, sales for the 2020 Mazda CX-3 give cause for concern. Circumstances around the coronavirus pandemic such as unemployment and illness have put a dent in vehicle sales, particularly in lower-income segments. As a result, more affordable vehicles sales will be affected. 

Competition from other small SUVs is also likely hurting sales. While critics like the CX-3, it doesn’t have the power that some of its turbocharged peers have. Competition from the Mazda CX-30 might also be a contributing factor. 

While the Mazda CX-30 didn’t earn the Top Safety Pick+ award which is the highest honor a manufacturer can earn from IIHS, it does share its 2.5-liter engine with the Mazda 3. At 186 hp, it’s the stronger of the two engines. There’s also more room inside for bringing passengers along on trips in the CX-30.

The Mazda CX-30 starts around $23,000 according to MotorTrend which is roughly $1,300 more than the starting price of Mazda CX-3. For that, you get a choice of four trims as opposed to one trim for CX-3. You get more interior room and a better engine even if the CX-30 didn’t do as well in the safety tests.  

Time will tell if sales improve for the Mazda CX-3.