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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2021 used Mazda CX-3 for sale is shown from the front in close up.

There’s Something About the Mazda CX-3 You Should Know

There’s something you need to know about the Mazda CX-3. Did you know that out of Mazda’s extensive list of SUVs, sedans, and hatchbacks, the CX-3 is one of the most fuel-efficient options? Why do I tell you this? The Mazda CX-3 has more potential than some may think, and those who need a commuter with generous cargo space should look no further than a used Mazda CX-3 for sale. As you may or may not know, production of the CX-3 recently ended, meaning there will be no 2023 model. However, this affordable subcompact SUV is still a high-value purchase on the used market.

As I mentioned, the primary reason the Mazda CX-3 is an excellent commuter is because of its powertrains––more specifically, its fuel efficiency. With half a dozen models to choose from, the Mazda CX-3 gives you a decent amount of choice when shopping for your next vehicle. Best of all, shopping for an older model like the original 2016 CX-3 won’t only save you plenty of money, but it will still be relevant when compared to newer examples. Whether you already know the CX-3 is a fuel-efficient machine or not, it’s worth taking a closer look under the hood to see what makes it tick, so let’s get started.

Keeping Your Wallet Full

The Mazda CX-3 achieves its fuel efficiency courtesy of its 2.0L I-4 engine––a smaller powertrain that packs a punch yet saves you money on fuel. It’s simple: the CX-3 is only available with the 2.0L I-4 engine, whether buying the oldest 2016 model or opting for the latest 2022 CX-3. Performance has remained unchanged across the board with one exception: 2016 through 2018 models produce 146 hp instead of the 148 hp found in the 2019 to 2022 models. Will you notice a two hp difference? Almost certainly not, meaning performance is effectively identical across all seven model years.

The fuel efficiency of the CX-3 depends on two main factors: whether your drivetrain is front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and whether you’ve opted for the automatic or manual transmission. In addition to being more efficient, CX-3 models with front-wheel drive have a slightly larger fuel tank that holds 48L instead of the 45L the all-wheel drive models can carry, which means it has noticeably better range. Choosing all-wheel drive also limits you to the six-speed automatic transmission, as the six-speed manual is only found on the base trim with front-wheel drive.

The single transmission option means that if you choose an all-wheel CX-3, you’ll have fuel economy ratings of up to 8.6 L/100km in the city and 7.3 L/100km on the highway. The six-speed manual transmission that comes standard with front-wheel drive provides better highway mileage at 7.0 L/100km. However, the manual transmission falls behind in stop-and-go travel, with ratings of no better than 8.8 L/100km in the city. If saving some sweet cash is your goal, you’ll want to look for a used CX-3 with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. Between the three powertrains, this combo has the mileage, with ratings of up to 8.2 L/100km in the city and 6.7 L/100km on the highway.

Compared to Mazda’s other offerings, there’s no contest in fuel efficiency ratings. The compact 2023 CX-5 gets 9.8 L/100km in the city and 7.9 L/100km on the highway at its best, and the three-row 2023 CX-9 gets 11.6 L/100km in the city and 9.1 L/100km on the highway. The CX-30 also isn’t as fuel-efficient as the CX-3 as the 2022 model of Mazda’s newer subcompact SUV gets only 9.4 L/100km in the city and 7.7 L/100km on the highway in its most fuel-efficient configuration. Aside from the CX-3 costing far less than its siblings, you’ll continue saving at the pump with any of its three powertrain options.

A white 2016 Mazda CX-3 is shown from the side driving on a city street.

Features a Commuter Will Need and Want

Being a commuter vehicle isn’t all about fuel efficiency––it certainly helps, but an assortment of other features can also make or break your experience behind the wheel. Starting with the infotainment experience, the Mazda CX-3 comes with the Mazda Connect radio system. The Mazda Connect system in the CX-3 sees an 18 cm screen in the center dashboard. While the CX-3’s screen is noticeably smaller than some of its peers, like the CX-5 and CX-9 with their 26 cm screens, the CX-30’s screen is only slightly larger at 22 cm diagonally. However, a smaller screen is a small price to pay considering the price difference between the CX-3 and other Mazda SUVs, especially if you are shopping used.

The Mazda Connect system in the CX-3 can help a commuter in many ways. For example, with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, connecting your smartphone gives you access to new third-party apps and built-in navigation––although the Mazda Connect system offers a built-in navigation system regardless. With various apps, you can check current traffic conditions, find directions to that new restaurant you’re meeting your colleagues at, or stay on course when you’re driving on your day off and looking to do some travelling.

Depending on which CX-3 you purchase, it may include the i-Activsense driver-assist suite, which offers a host of high-tech features that any commuter can appreciate. The i-Activsense suite has features like Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring, Smart City Brake Support, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and an Adaptive Front Lighting System, among many others. Some favourites in the i-Activsense suite include the Distance Recognition Support System, which works with Mazda Radar Cruise Control. By calculating the distance between yourself and other drivers on the road, this intelligent cruise control system will slow you down and bring you up to speed, so you don’t have to turn it on and off constantly. Another favourite feature available in the CX-3 is the Traffic Sign Recognition System. It can display speed limits and road signs in your instrument cluster, which can be helpful if you’re on an unfamiliar road and unsure of the speed limit.

A red 2021 Mazda CX-3 is shown parked on a city street.

Commuters, Take Note

What Mazda does better than most manufacturers is offer a luxurious driving experience that doesn’t come at an exorbitant cost. Mazda vehicles are well-built, have high-quality materials, are reliable, versatile, and can be performant or fuel-efficient like the CX-3. Truthfully, many Mazda vehicles can be well-rounded commuters, but the CX-3 has the advantage of superior fuel efficiency and a lower price tag.

The CX-3 doesn’t provide massive power or groundbreaking technology. However, the chances are that if you’re looking for a commuter car, you mostly want a vehicle to get you from Point A to Point B affordably and comfortably. Luckily, the CX-3 excels in this regard. With one of Mazda’s most affordable options, you can experience a comfortable ride to and from work or school every day. Do I recommend the CX-3? If you haven’t figured it out by now, I do. If you’re a commuter looking to save money, you can’t go wrong with the CX-3, regardless if you choose to go back to the 2016 model or opt for something newer like the 2022 model.

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