The quest continues. Our second in line to the keys – the 17 year old – is still in need of a car and we’re still looking. Thus far we’ve taken fully loaded SUVs and cool crossovers through the paces. Now we’re starting to think a little smaller.
Collaborating with Drive Shop has allowed us to do a few extended test drives (averaging a week or so) for cars we’re considering. The newest ride to hit our driveway was the 2016 Mazda CX-3. Let’s say this was a whole new road for us.
2016 Mazda CX-3 Touring Review
It would be remiss of me to not mention [before the review] that it’s been quite awhile since we’ve spent time in a sedan. Even with not-so-little nugget number four off on his own doing the grownup thing, we are still a big family. Five humans, one french bull-dog who loves his bye-bye. I typically takes a bit more car to get us all around. There was certainly and adjustment period with the Mazda CX-3.
Is It Big Enough for 5?
If you don’t have too far to go, and the dog doesn’t mind staying at home, five can fit. The leg room may not be much if you had full-size folks in the back seat though. Were the teen just shuttling her sibs or besties about, it works out fine.
Best Safety Features?
Three BIG pluses in this category:
- Blind Spot Monitoring – In my humble opinion this safety feature should be as mandatory as a seat belt. Every car has a blind spot therefore they should all have this potentially life-saving feature.
- 24 Hour Roadside Assistance – Toss me a thumbs-up if you’re a parent and could rest easier knowing your kid had this!
- Skyactiv Body Ring Structure – So, explaining this can get a little engineering-deep and I’m no engineer. To put it simply Mazda has figured out a formula that makes the body structure both lighter and more rigid. How is that a safety feature, you ask? Basically they built a better egg shell. Learn more about Skyactiv and why I was blown away by how it improves safety, here.
Let’s Talk Tech
Here is where I started to figure out that I may be just a little bit on the spoiled side when it comes to car tech. Though the CX-3 we drove came equipped with navigation system and satellite radio, the tech pretty much stopped there. Beyond the fact that it was tech-lite the monitor/hub isn’t integrated into the design very well. It pops up above the dash and is just cumbersome.
The model we drove was supposed to have integrated technology that works with Pandora® but we couldn’t get that to work. The teen herself practically lives on Pandora so she was stoked about this. Seems though that it may only work with a paid subscription.
SSM Text Messaging sounds like a great feature for a teen-driven car. The problem is this works about as well as most other talk-to-text platforms… meaning, not so good.
Here is where the Mazda CX-3 Touring gets the biggest points. (drum roll please) We averaged 33 miles highway and a whopping 29 driving around town. WOWZERS! That could really go a long way towards saving a college kid some coin.
One surprising perk of stepping down to a sedan from an SUV or crossover – in this case at least – was GOOD sticker shock. I can’t recall the last time took a car for a test drive that boasted a price tag under $30k. This particular car came it at $26,150. That included some premium package additions.
Not much to report here. The rear seats do fold flat to give you extra cargo space, but you pretty much can’t have passengers when you do that. I will say though that the lines on the body are pretty cool. This doesn’t look like a sedan, and honestly it may even have a different classification, but to me 4-doors and a low profile says, sedan. It has a unique profile that sort of says crossover but in a sedan sort of way. Maybe when an SUV and a sedan have a baby you get the Mazda CX-3 Touring? ha!
Sometimes I think my parents had it easier – “You want a car? Go get a job. Until then you can borrow the station wagon if you pay for your own gas.” In retrospect that was likely better.