Review - 2023 Mazda CX-3

By Alexi Falson on 29 Aug 2023
image for Review - 2023 Mazda CX-3
Overall Rating
out of 10
  • Impressive ride quality and handling
  • Attractive cabin design with practical touches
  • Updated features and safety equipment, even for base Sport model
  • Engine lacks grunt
  • Halogen headlights on base model
    Cramped second-row headroom and small boot
  • Expired ANCAP safety rating; soon to be retested
    • 48L
    • 143
    • 6000 / 2800
    • Unrated
    • Automatic
While there’s no shortage of competitors in the world of compact SUVs like the Mazda CX-3, the pint-sized Mazda has proven to be one of Australia’s most popular small SUVs.

For the latest model year, Mazda has slimmed down the CX-5 lineup from 13 to five variants in total, with manual and all-wheel drive variants being axed from the range.

Let’s take a closer look at the MY23 Mazda CX-3 lineup and see how it stacks up against its fierce competition in the world of small SUVs.

Mazda CX-3 Competition

Mazda CX-3

Kia Stonic
Hyundai Kona
Toyota Yaris Cross
Honda HR-V
Toyota C-HR
Hyundai Venue

Starting Price: $26,800

OnlineAuto Savings: Enquire now

How Much Does It Cost?

The Mazda CX-3 lineup is priced from $26,800 for the entry-level CX-3 Sport, with prices rising up to $29,300 for the CX-3 Pure, and up to $31,050 for the CX-3 Evolve.

Stepping up to the CX-3 in Touring SP form brings the price up to $34,300, while the range-topping CX-3 Akari is priced at $38,620.

Keep in mind that these are retail prices, which do not include on-road costs.

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car purchasing service, one of our car specialists can help you save and find the best value model for you.

Mazda CX-3 (G20 SPORT) Specifications

Model Date 2023
Model CX-3
Series CX3I
Variant G20 SPORT
Transmission 6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive FWD
Engine EDI
Engine capacity 1998
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 2800
Cylinders 4
Torque 195
KW 110
Fuel tank size 48.0
Fuel usage specs 6.3 / 0
CO2 143
ANCAP security rating Unrated

For more details and other variants, check Mazda CX-3 car page.

What Features Does the Mazda CX-3 Have?

Mazda’s entry-level CX-3 Sport comes riding on a set of 16-inch alloys, and receives halogen headlights, a rear-view camera with parking sensors, cruise control, push-button start, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, which is paired with a six-speaker sound system.

Upgrading to the CX-3 Pure adds a set of LED head & tail lights, a head-up display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and some added safety tech we’ll cover later in this review.

Moving up to the CX-3 Evolve adds a set of 18-inch alloys and front-mounted parking sensors and white synthetic leather upholstery with faux suede highlights.

The CX-3 Touring SP receives 18-inch alloys, a black grille and roof, adaptive cruise control, heated seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, black leather upholstery and keyless entry.

Finally, the range-topping CX-3 Akari receives adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, surround-view camera, black leather upholstery, chrome exterior highlights, a special set of 18-inch alloys and a seven-speaker Bose sound system.

2023 mazda cx-3 interior

Range Features:

  • 16-inch alloys 

  • Halogen headlights 

  • Rear-view camera with parking sensors 

  • Cruise control 

  • Blind-spot monitoring & rear-cross traffic alerts 

  • 8.0-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto 

  • LED head & tail lights (Pure) 

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel & gear lever (Pure) 

  • 18-inch alloys (Evolve) 

  • Adaptive cruise control (Touring SP) 

  • Black leather upholstery (Touring SP)
    Panoramic sunroof (Akari)

  • Surround-view camera (Akari) 

  • Seven-speaker Bose sound system (Akari) 

Is the Mazda CX-3 Comfortable to Drive?

User-friendliness is the name of the game in the world of compact SUVs, and in this respect, the Mazda CX-3 is an incredibly approachable package for all levels of drivers.

The CX-3 remains powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine pushing out 110kW of power and 195Nm to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, with manual and all-wheel drive variants thrown out for the latest model year.

On the road, the engine won’t get you too excited, though it offers adequate power figures for the segment and is more than enough for such a small package.

Where the CX-3 platform really shines is when you’re zipping around town, darting through car parks, navigating traffic and working in the tight confines of the urban jungle.

“The user-friendly CX-3 shines while zipping around town, and is one of the better members of the segment for ride quality and handling.”

Thanks to its tiny footprint, the CX-3 has a tight little turning circle, and with its lightweight steering rack, the process of squeezing it in and out of tight spots is a simple task, speaking to the user-friendly nature of the platform.

In this respect, the CX-3 is a fabulous little urban runaround, and while it doesn’t excite, it does have a certain charm and feels particularly agile on its feet.

Once you leave town, you’ll notice the CX-3 soaks up more bumps than you might expect from a hatchback-based crossover, with the suspension doing its best at ironing out bumps on the road.

2023 mazda cx-3 review

While it can’t eat up bumps in the same way a large SUV or 4x4 ute would tackle them, for a package of its size, the CX-3 isn’t too phased by moderate bumps on the road, and is one of the better members of the segment when it comes to handling and ride quality.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine powering the Mazda CX-3 range is rated at 6.3L/100km on a combined cycle, making it relatively fuel-efficient for a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder.

While the CX-3 could use some hybrid or turbocharged assistance, Mazda’s expertise with fuel-efficient four-cylinders means the CX-3 offers fuel economy figures that aren’t embarrassed by its compact SUV rivals.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

While the CX-3’s pint-sized footprint means that you’ll have to curb your expectations about the amount of space inside the cabin, it remains one of the best when it comes to the attractive design and the fit and finish of the interior.

Up front, the CX-3 offers a decent amount of space for even tall drivers to get comfortable in the driver’s seat, while there’s enough visibility in the front of the cabin to get settled and aware of your surroundings.

Unlike some rivals, sitting in the pilot seat as a tall driver doesn’t make you feel cramped thanks to the tall roofline that adds to the sense of space in the front of the cabin.

The driver and front passenger are separated by a substantial centre console that houses two storage areas on either side of the transmission lever, as well as a compact storage area underneath the armrest, and a pair of bottle holders on both sides of the cabin.

“The CX-3 offers one of the most attractive cabins in the small SUV segment, showcasing Mazda’s expertise with sleek and practical designs.”

Move to the second row of the cabin and there’s just enough space on offer to accommodate the legs of a pair of tall passengers, though headroom isn’t great in the back of the CX-3; a problem that plagues the majority of small SUVs.

Having said that, there’s more than enough room for a pair of kids in the rear of the CX-3, with the second row picking up a set of ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts for forward- and rear-facing child seats.

Finally, the CX-3’s boot space figures stand at a compact 264L, which is small, even for the compact SUV segment. Thankfully, the seats offer a 60:40 split to fold down and expand the boot to 1174L.

All up, the CX-3 does its best with the pint-size proportions, offering a stylish cabin with average boot and second row capacities for the segment.

Is it Safe?

The Mazda CX-3 is yet to be re-tested by ANCAP, after the previous CX-3’s safety rating expired in December, 2022.

For reference, the previous model had a five-star rating, scoring 36.44 out of a total 37.

Mazda has updated its safety equipment lists for the entry-level CX-3 Sport, which now receives blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts as standard, atop forward and rear autonomous emergency braking, a rear-view camera with rear parking sensors and six airbags.

Stepping up to the CX-3 Pure adds lane-departure warnings and driver attention alerts, while the CX-3 Evolve picks up a set of front-mounted parking sensors, the Touring SP picks up traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control and the Akari is packaged with a surround-view camera.

Our Verdict: Is The Mazda CX-3 Worth it?

If you’re in the market for a charming little urban runaround, in spite of its ageing platform, the Mazda CX-3 remains at the top of the class.

While it’s not the most spacious in the rear of the cabin or offers the largest boot, Mazda’s attractive interior designs and user-friendly driving nature make the CX-3 a must-have on your compact SUV shortlist.

Don’t forget to reach out to one of our car-buying specialists who can help give you some of their favourite compact SUV recommendations, and help find you the best possible price.

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty

  2. Expired ANCAP safety rating; set to be retested

  3. 12-month/10,000km service intervals

  4. 6.7L/100km combined cycle fuel economy

  5. 264L boot space


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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