The 2017 Mazda CX-3 Is Loved and Hated

Shopping for a used car can be frustrating, especially when the reviews vary. This is precisely the case for the 2017 Mazda CX-3.  As a new model, the 2017 CX-3 was celebrated for its fun driving dynamics and style. But in the used-car market, this Mazda isn’t as alluring.

Performance is where the Mazda CX-3 shines 

A red Mazda CX-3 in a showroom.
A Mazda CX-3 on display | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Like the rest of its siblings, the CX-3 is the type of car that makes daily drives more fun. The CX-3’s small footprint is optimal for city living. And unlike some of its competitors, the CX-3 is both engaging and efficient.

All CX-3s come with a 146-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder linked to a six-speed automatic. The CX-3’s power offering isn’t impressive, but its handling is sharp, and acceleration is decent. Some models will have the standard front-wheel-drive setup, and upgraded models will have all-wheel drive. 

As Consumer Reports highlighted, there’s a positive trade-off to the CX-‘s lack of power. CR’s owner reported data shows that the CX-3’s real-world fuel economy is 30 mpg overall. That’s one of the best ratings in the segment.

Its car cabin isn’t bad either 

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The CX-3’s interior also shows Mazda’s attention to detail. Reviewers at U.S. News raved about how upscale this teeny SUV feels, even on the base model. Regular models will have cloth upholstery, but you can shop for upgraded versions with leather trim, suede, and heated seats. 

While the CX-3’s cabin for its style, interior space is minimal for people and cargo. The CX-3 can technically carry up to five, though accommodating for is slightly more realistic. Another downside here is that CX’-3’s seats aren’t that supportive. As CR put it, the people who have complained about this Mazda’s lack of comfort “aren’t athletically thin.”

A 2016 Mazda CX-3 on display at the Washington Auto Show
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 | Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There are also trade-offs with CX-3’s available tech. ‘One plus is that its standard 7-inch touchscreen is user-friendly. However, it didn’t initially come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto either. The good news here is that you can go to your local Mazda dealer to add these apps on 2014 models or newer with the Mazda Connect system. You may also want to consider an aftermarket infotainment system

Additionally, advanced safety equipment is also scarce. The most exciting standard feature here is an active camera. Some models will have more safety functions, including blind-spot monitoring and forward-collision warning.

The Mazda CX-3 on display at an automotive show in Germany.
The Mazda CX-3 | Bildquelle/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Where the CX-3 gets confusing 

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Like we mentioned earlier, U.S. News considers the 2017 CX-3 praiseworthy. This org ranked the 2017 CX-3 as its no. 1 subcompact crossover back when it was new because of its classy feel, performance, and excellent safety scores. The team also considers it as one of the most affordable tiny SUVs. Similarly, Kelley Blue Book reviewers recognized the CX-3 for the fun and sportiness it provides.

However, CR’s survey data will give you second thoughts about this Mazda. According to CR, only 31 percent of CX-3 owners would repurchase the vehicle. Furthermore, the survey shows that the most common trouble spots for the 2017 CX-3 include its power equipment, suspension, and paint trim. 

Because of these issues, CR doesn’t recommend buying a used 2017 CX-3. You may want to consider getting a subcompact crossover with better satisfaction ratings. For example, the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek has excellent reliability and owner satisfaction scores. You might even want to check out the Honda HR-V.