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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My local Mazda dealer here in Canada just got their first 4 CX-3s on the lot today, so I walked over and took a look. I didn't test drive, but I sat in one and looked around. Disclaimer: as my wife will tell you, I'm not the most observant person; oblivious is the word she usually uses. Did my best to take a good look, but I make no warranties. First impressions:

Seemed really small, as soon as I walked in. That's not necessarily a knock, from my perspective: I'm really shopping for a comfortable hatchback, NOT a little SUV.

Hatch and trunk are not at all spacious... less than the Mazda3 with the seats up, a little more with them folded. Small in width and height, with a diminutive hatch restricting the opening. Not a bad size for a little hatchback, undoubtedly bigger than a Mazda2, but I bet the Ikea index is no better than my little Acura sedan.

Styling is very personal... and personally, not for me, yet. I say yet because I really disliked the Mazda3 when it first came out, but it's grown on me a lot in recent months. This just might too... though I doubt it. Seems cartoony, overblown, like a Mini but without the iconic precursor. Didn't like the high sides and narrow glass, oversized wheels and raised rear and cut-off front end. Very little I did like, actually... maybe the lights. But to quote my dad, de gustibus non disputandum est.

Cockpit was very comfortable. Good, supportive seat, though the hip-height wasn't as high as I was expecting, still felt like sitting down into the car. Very high-quality feel to the interior. Controls and switches all near to hand and seemed logical. Love the feel and idea of the HMI Commander switch for the infotainment unit, though I wasn't able to turn it on and play with it. Not crazy about the screen sticking up from the dash, but I don't hate it either. Really dislike the digital-only speedo... if they were going with only a single dial, is a tach really the best option in an automatic??

That, of course (auto-only) is my biggest knock on the CX3.

Visibility out the back and to the quarters was abysmal, as it seems to be with all new cars. And no, I don't think lots of fancy blind-spot monitoring systems make up for it.

For those that are disappointed in the lack of cubby space in the HR-V, prepare to be equally dismayed. I haven't seen an HR-V, but I found virtually no place in this car, other than the glove box, to put anything more than a cell phone and a coffee. I confess I haven't been too worried about that in the HR-V because I'm a pretty minimalist guy, but when I looked around this cockpit and thought about the few things I like close at hand in my car, I got worried.

Sat in the back seat, with the front at my driving distance (all the way back). Zero leg room... the only way to get in was to bury my knees in the back of the driver's seat, and they stayed buried when I was all the way in. At least the front seat back was soft... and the seat seemed okay otherwise. Way less room back there than in my '03 civic-equivalent Acura. Makes it a 2-seater for me; I never carry anyone that would be at all comfortable back there (i.e. kids).

Well, pretty negative review all in all. I will say it's a very well built and finished car, the driving seat and controls are very well thought out (except the speedo and visibility), and the overall impression, at least inside, is of quality and class.

I also spent some time looking at the Mazda3, and if I end up considering Mazda it'll be that one. Same sense of quality and finish, similarly nice cockpit, bigger trunk with the seats up and almost as much seats down (per the brochures). Little lower seating position, but the one thing I really want in a car... manual transmission.

Hope that's of interest. If you have any questions let me know and I'll try to answer them (from the brochure, if not memory). Didn't take any pictures because there are lots on the internet.

Cheers... Perry.
 

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Thanks for the review. I expected it to not have enough cargo space for me. It looked like it would have less room and similar amount to the Crosstrek.
 

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Agree, way too tight..no good for utility, better off with Mazda 3.

Thanks for the review. I expected it to not have enough cargo space for me. It looked like it would have less room and similar amount to the Crosstrek.
 

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My local Mazda dealer here in Canada just got their first 4 CX-3s on the lot today, so I walked over and took a look. I didn't test drive, but I sat in one and looked around. Disclaimer: as my wife will tell you, I'm not the most observant person; oblivious is the word she usually uses. Did my best to take a good look, but I make no warranties. First impressions:

Seemed really small, as soon as I walked in. That's not necessarily a knock, from my perspective: I'm really shopping for a comfortable hatchback, NOT a little SUV.

Hatch and trunk are not at all spacious... less than the Mazda3 with the seats up, a little more with them folded. Small in width and height, with a diminutive hatch restricting the opening. Not a bad size for a little hatchback, undoubtedly bigger than a Mazda2, but I bet the Ikea index is no better than my little Acura sedan.

Styling is very personal... and personally, not for me, yet. I say yet because I really disliked the Mazda3 when it first came out, but it's grown on me a lot in recent months. This just might too... though I doubt it. Seems cartoony, overblown, like a Mini but without the iconic precursor. Didn't like the high sides and narrow glass, oversized wheels and raised rear and cut-off front end. Very little I did like, actually... maybe the lights. But to quote my dad, de gustibus non disputandum est.

Cockpit was very comfortable. Good, supportive seat, though the hip-height wasn't as high as I was expecting, still felt like sitting down into the car. Very high-quality feel to the interior. Controls and switches all near to hand and seemed logical. Love the feel and idea of the HMI Commander switch for the infotainment unit, though I wasn't able to turn it on and play with it. Not crazy about the screen sticking up from the dash, but I don't hate it either. Really dislike the digital-only speedo... if they were going with only a single dial, is a tach really the best option in an automatic??

That, of course (auto-only) is my biggest knock on the CX3.

Visibility out the back and to the quarters was abysmal, as it seems to be with all new cars. And no, I don't think lots of fancy blind-spot monitoring systems make up for it.

For those that are disappointed in the lack of cubby space in the HR-V, prepare to be equally dismayed. I haven't seen an HR-V, but I found virtually no place in this car, other than the glove box, to put anything more than a cell phone and a coffee. I confess I haven't been too worried about that in the HR-V because I'm a pretty minimalist guy, but when I looked around this cockpit and thought about the few things I like close at hand in my car, I got worried.

Sat in the back seat, with the front at my driving distance (all the way back). Zero leg room... the only way to get in was to bury my knees in the back of the driver's seat, and they stayed buried when I was all the way in. At least the front seat back was soft... and the seat seemed okay otherwise. Way less room back there than in my '03 civic-equivalent Acura. Makes it a 2-seater for me; I never carry anyone that would be at all comfortable back there (i.e. kids).

Well, pretty negative review all in all. I will say it's a very well built and finished car, the driving seat and controls are very well thought out (except the speedo and visibility), and the overall impression, at least inside, is of quality and class.

I also spent some time looking at the Mazda3, and if I end up considering Mazda it'll be that one. Same sense of quality and finish, similarly nice cockpit, bigger trunk with the seats up and almost as much seats down (per the brochures). Little lower seating position, but the one thing I really want in a car... manual transmission.

Hope that's of interest. If you have any questions let me know and I'll try to answer them (from the brochure, if not memory). Didn't take any pictures because there are lots on the internet.

Cheers... Perry.
Thanks for the review. Wish you could have told how it drives, but its seems there was not enough there to interest you in taking it that far. For sure , if you don"t like the looks and you are not interested in how it drives the CX-3 is a non starter.

Curious you feel the wheels appear too big , as my biggest knock on the appearance of the HRV is the wheels give it a roller skate appearance.

Admittedly ,the big wheels offer no practical advantage , and making room for them eats into the already tight confines of of the CX-3 cabin.

No argument either that the 3 is in most respects a better choice. More room, better fuel mileage better visibility out.

I would only choose the CX-3 for highly subjective reasons. I like the way it looks, especially the shorter nose, and I dig the chunky sawed off appearance . For me the seat height is about perfect.

For some the availability of AWD could be a deciding factor, but I don't need it.
Some reviews indicate road and wind noise may be lessened in the CX but I don't know if that consensus will carry forward.

For me the 3 is awkwardly proportioned, and I don't like looking at it, so I'm unlikely to try it. But I can understand how some folks have the reverse and equally valid opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I knew five minutes in that it wasn't in contention for me, so I didn't bother asking for a test drive. They also only had one prepped and ready, and it was in the showroom, so I don't think they were doing test drives yet... unless you were ready to sign of course. (Red one, top trim, very dramatic look if you're into that.)

For what it's worth, I spent quite a long time talking to the salesman, who seems to be an enthusiast, about different cars and how they drive. He ranked the CX3 ahead of the 2-litre Mazda3, and behind the 2.5 litre GT.

Re the wheels, I'm just not a fan of the aggressive big-wheel look. With the HRV, I wish they'd dispensed with the black fender trim; I think it might look better that way. But I know I'm in the minority, and I will say the CX3 design is very consistent and works well together, except for maybe the sawed-off front that I just can't get used to, and it looks better in person than in pictures, IMO.

I wouldn't say the 3 has better visibility out; seemed maybe worse, as the CX at least has those tiny rear side windows. But I agree with your other points, and would add that it's now in its second year and they sound ready to deal... offered .9% lease rate without even asking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
P.s. I know what you're saying about the roller-skate look, and I'm not sure removing the black trim would help... though it does look better proportioned to me in black or MSM, where the trim doesn't show up as much.

I've always been a car guy, don't really like the big, high, bulky look, but that's what sells SUVs and crossovers. I think attempting to duplicate that look in a small crossover can give some odd results. In particular, most of the HRV class competitors have incredibly ugly front ends, imo... trax, Fiat, Ford ecosport for examples. I like the CX3 look way better than those.
 

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Mazda seems to almost always offer low interest financing incentives. When I bought my CX-5, it was when the 2.5 first started becoming available and they were moving quickly off the lots. Still Mazda gave .9% on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
P.p.s They had a white CX3, and though I usually don't like white cars, I have to say it's a deep, rich, pearly white that really stood apart.
 

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About the digital Speedo. I believe that it only appears in
high end models along with a redundant head-up display, so you should have no need to take your attention off the road to read speed. You would not have seen that display as it only appears with ignition on. On lower end models without the head-up the speedo is central and analog in place of the tach which is smaller and moves to left. An excellent arrangement I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yup, I know about the heads-up. The tach also has speed numbers in the bottom right.

I'll have to look at the lower trims of the Mazda3 to see which have the analogue speedo. All personal preference, but I just really dislike the digital speedo. Speed's a very analogue measure, and I much prefer a needle. Perhaps it's just my brain, but that extra split-second and effort that it takes to interpret numbers is annoying... that's also why I wear an analogue watch. Vision is an issue too: you might have to focus clearly to tell 68 from 63, but the needle, even glimpsed peripherally, is much more immediate. And my eyes don't change focus as quickly as they used to...

Heads-up displays I just find distracting, though I confess I've only had them twice for short periods on rental cars.

Neither are deal-breakers, just preferences.
 

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Don't you have to read the number behind the needle anyway to determine speed? The needle is just a distraction.
Just messin with you.
Still wish you had drove it though.
 
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