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Mazda CX-3: Small Car, Big Potential

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On: Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 2:15PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Mazda CX-3:  Small Car, Big Potential

At first glance, the Mazda CX-3 doesn't seem like much, and that's well, because it's not. In fact, that's kind of the point. In an age where we have have just about every version of every car imaginable (Porsche trucks, turbo Mustangs, and supercharged four-door wagons are a few that come to mind) why not add one more niche? The difference is, we think the CX-3 will sell, and sell well. It is an emerging market that might just take off very quickly—the subcompact SUV, or sometimes called the CUV (crossover utility vehicle) market. This segment of the automotive world already has a few players in the game like the Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, and the like, but the newest Mazda on the playground may just have what it takes to be king of the little hill.  

The CX-3 rides on the Mazda 2 B-class platform, just with an AWD format instead of the 2's FWD motif. The small chassis isn't anything special, but it doesn't need to be. The point of the CX-3 is to be small, yet versatile and good on gas. Powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder that makes 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, the little Mazda does what it needs to do. It won't wow you with any striking speed, but with a 0-60 mph time of about 8.5 seconds, it can do enough not to disappoint you either. Most of the power feels like it comes off the line, and then starts to get somewhat anemic at highway speeds. The CX-3 comes with any transmission you want, as long as what you want is a six-speed automatic. The engine and gearing help to attain a very efficient 29/35 city/highway mpg rating, which is definitely one of the car's strong points. The interior is clean and simple with plenty of basic amenities and even a navigation screen and USB hookup if you'd like, but with a base price of about $21,000 you won't confuse it for a Maybach anytime soon.

The CX-3 isn't a world-beater in any particular category. It isn't fast, nor luxurious, nor drop-dead gorgeous. But what it is, however, is a decent looking, inexpensive, fuel-efficient SUV that is small enough and cheap enough for anyone to get into. So for all those new drivers out there, especially those who have to deal with four seasons on a budget, the CX-3 just may be the most perfect car out there. And for the price of a decent used car, you can get a brand new Mazda complete with a full warranty and zero miles on it. That could mean big money for Mazda, all from one of the smallest trucks ever made.

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