It’s been no secret that the Mazda CX-3 has been cruising on thin ice in recent years. Though it boasts the automaker’s signature athletic handling, this subcompact crossover still can’t keep up in such a competitive segment. And recently, Mazda announced that 2021 is the final year for the CX-3.
Car and Driver speculates the CX-30’s debut sealed its sibling’s fate. So, what makes Mazda’s newer subcompact SUV good enough to kill the CX-3?
The perks of owning a Mazda CX-30
The Mazda CX-30, which debuted for the 2020 model year, comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine making 186 hp. However, unlike the CX-3, the new subcompact SUV also offers an optional engine producing 250 hp. Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The base engine doesn’t feel quick, but the handling and ride are solid overall. The transmission also operates smoothly except for some jolts under sudden acceleration. Car and Driver reports that the turbo engine is more satisfying to drive, reaching 60 mph in a respectable 5.8 seconds.
The CX-30 is also larger than the CX-3 but still seats up to five. Some reviewers mention tall drivers might have less legroom in the rear, but the interior is fairly roomy by class standards. The seats are comfortable and look nice, especially the black and white leather options on higher trims.
For the 2021 CX-30, Mazda added smartphone integration to an already long list of standard features. A physical dial, not a touchscreen, controls the infotainment system, which some might find distracting. But even the base model offers plenty of standard safety features, a great value for a crossover starting at $22,050.
The Mazda CX-3 comes up short
The Mazda CX-3’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, makes 148 hp. It can power this small SUV around town easily, but the engine gets noisy once the CX-3 is on the highway. However, it redeems itself with decent gas mileage, up to 29/24 mpg city/highway.
Consumer Reports actually prefers the Mazda CX-3’s handling over the CX-30’s. Its smaller dimensions make it sprightlier, and it’s easier to park in the city. The steering wheel also provides satisfying feedback, especially around corners.
Plus, the cabin is attractive, with soft-touch materials and red stitching on the upholstery. The front seats offer just enough legroom for tall riders, but they won’t find the back row accommodating. Even adults of average height might have to duck upon entering, thanks to the CX-3’s low roofline.
Cargo space is also limited, with only 44.5 cubic feet of space even with the second row folded down. However, drivers might prefer the infotainment system inside the Mazda CX-3 because it has a touchscreen. And almost all of the Mazda CX-3’s safety features come as standard equipment.
Will anyone miss the CX-3?
The Mazda CX-3’s popularity took a hit this year, sales numbers show. Last month, the CX-3 sold only 967 units, while the CX-30 sold 7,959, GoodCarBadCar reports. Last quarter, Mazda sold 2,787 CX-3 units, showing barely any sales growth over 2020.
On the other hand, the CX-30 sold 9,584 units in Q1 2021, breaking its previous sales record by more than 1,200 units. Besides the Hyundai Nexo, the CX-3 was the only SUV to sell less than 1,000 units last month. Overall, the Mazda CX-3 might have some fans, but most drivers prefer the newer Mazda CX-30.