Mazda CX-3 (2015-2020) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Although the front seats are comfortable, the Mazda CX-3 is rather cramped in the rear. Plus, the boot is small
Despite its chunky looks, the Mazda CX-3 is a compact car; it’s barely any bigger than the Mazda 2 supermini on which it’s based. Those neat dimensions pay dividends in town, where it’s really easy to manoeuvre in and out of tight parking spaces, for example, but it doesn’t translate into an especially roomy interior.
The CX-3 is slightly larger than a Nissan Juke, at 4,275mm long and 1,765mm wide, with a 2,570mm wheelbase. The Juke measures 4,135mm long and the same 1,765mm wide, plus it has a 2,530mm wheelbase. But it’s not surprising that there’s not much space inside when you compare the CX-3’s dimensions to those of the larger Mazda CX-5, which is 4,555mm long and 1,840mm wide.
Yet the smaller crossover plays a neat visual trick on the road, because it doesn’t really look any bigger than its big-selling Nissan rival. This is perhaps because it’s only 1,535mm tall, compared to 1,565mm for the Juke. The relatively low-down stance is key to the CX-3’s sporty feel from behind the wheel.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Up front, the CX-3 is pretty comfortable. The seats are supportive and quite low-set and the steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, so it should be easy for any driver or front passenger to find a suitable seating position. The switch from a manual handbrake to an electric parking brake for 2018 has also freed up some space up front to make it feel even more comfortable.
That’s not the case for the back seats, though. Rear legroom stands at just 888mm, which isn’t much better than in the Mazda 2, and trails some key crossover class rivals by some distance. The CX-3 is just too tight in the back for a growing family.
A 350-litre boot is pretty much bang on the crossover class average, but even so, as with many rivals, it’s much smaller than you’d get in a more affordable compact hatchback, and wouldn’t swallow a family of four’s luggage.
There is some help on hand in practicality terms, though – the boot has an adjustable floor that allows you to load shallow items under a removable board, and this also provides a flat load floor when the seats are folded. Do that and you get a maximum luggage capacity of 1,260 litres.
One area where the top-spec CX-3 Sport Nav version especially falls down is boot space. Its powerful Bose sound system features a subwoofer in the load bay that cuts capacity from 350 to 287 litres with the seats up. Still, there’s good underfloor storage, plus 1,197 litres of space if you fold the rear seats down.
In this review
- 1Mazda CX-3 reviewThe Mazda CX-3 is a fun, small crossover that is a bit pricey to buy, but cheap to run
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe 1.8 diesel serves up cracking performance and impressive fuel economy, but the 2.0 petrol is good, too
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsDiesel CX-3 delivers decent economy, but it’s also worth considering the petrol version, which isn’t that thirsty
- 4Interior, design and technologyAt first glance, the CX-3 looks a little bit plain inside, but it’s actually pretty classy and functional
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingAlthough the front seats are comfortable, the Mazda CX-3 is rather cramped in the rear. Plus, the boot is small
- 6Reliability and SafetyMazda has a strong reputation for reliability, but some models haven’t been highly rated in our Driver Power satisfaction surveys