The instances in which I come across a vehicle that produces a favorable bang for your buck are fewer and further between these days. Blame it on aging platforms, too much this, not enough that and unnecessary, expensive options. However, the 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring is a vehicle that has located the sweet spot on the automotive Venn diagram between price, fun, looks and performance.
The Mazda CX-3, especially in the Dynamic Blue Mica hue, is a sexy little number and is probably the most attractive small crossover on the market. It certainly follows the Mazda design language with every line razor sharp and all the curves flowing effortlessly. It definitely looks more expensive than a vehicle that starts around $24k.
Behind the wheel, the driving experience is quite enjoyable. The SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine is anything but powerful but somehow it provides an enjoyable commute. This is mainly because the vehicle only weighs 2800 lbs and the chassis seems to play well with the ratio. The six-speed, automatic transmission provides snappy, spirited shifts and the paddle shifters even work quite well if you’re into that sort of thing. Braking is absolutely no problem with the 11-inch brakes which would be considered large for a vehicle of this size and weight. The limited power and weight also aids you in netting some pretty impressive gas mileage numbers. My time with the CX-3 hovered around 30 mpg and that ain’t bad at all!
The sporty interior is fun, exotic and could easily be described as “premium”. The multi-tone interior features mildly-bolstered sport bucket seats up front wrapped in leather and suede and trimmed nicely with a contrasting red piping. I didn’t notice one of the most interesting little features of the interior until the last day with the car. The center armrest features a little inlet to place your phone while driving and even comes with a cut out for the cord. Unfortunately, my phone wouldn’t fit in there with its bulky case but I would imagine a lot of people would find this very useful as there aren’t many great places to put things in such a cramped interior. As you can probably tell, the cargo capacity is limited and it was a challenge fitting more than a few Christmas gifts behind the rear seat.