Mazda 3 vs Mazda CX-3: Compact Car Showdown 2023

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

When you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the choice between a Mazda 3 and a Mazda CX-3 may not be an easy one.

Both models are popular and highly regarded. Let’s explore their features to help you make an informed decision.

You can compare size and performance, as the Mazda 3 is a sedan while the CX-3 is a subcompact SUV. Each offers unique features and benefits tailored to your lifestyle and preferences.

As you weigh the pros and cons of each vehicle, consider factors like price, fuel efficiency, and overall driving experience to find the option that best suits your needs.

Mazda 3 vs Mazda CX-3

Mazda 3 vs Mazda CX-3 Overview

Comparison of the Basics

When comparing the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-3, you’ll find that they are both affordable and stylish options.

The Mazda 3 comes in both sedan and hatchback body styles, while the Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact crossover SUV.

While both vehicles have similar starting prices, the Mazda3 has a more powerful engine (186 horsepower) compared to the CX-3 (148 horsepower).

As for fuel efficiency, both the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-3 are relatively similar. You can expect roughly 26-28 MPG in the city and 35-37 MPG on the highway for both models.

Segment and Size

The Mazda 3 belongs to the compact car segment, whereas the Mazda CX-3 is part of the subcompact SUV segment.

This difference in segment translates to a difference in size and overall practicality.

Exterior dimensions

In terms of exterior dimensions, the Mazda 3 is longer and wider, giving you slightly more space to maneuver in tight urban spaces.

The Mazda CX-3 offers a higher ground clearance, better suited for rough terrains and light off-roading. This crossover SUV is also more versatile, with foldable rear seats that significantly increase cargo capacity for those weekend getaways.

Interior space

When it comes to interior space, the Mazda 3 boasts more legroom, especially in the rear seat area. Additionally, the suggested cargo capacity for the Mazda3 hatchback is larger than that of the CX-3, giving you more room to carry groceries or luggage.

In summary, when comparing the Mazda-3 and Mazda CX-3, consider your needs and preferences. If you prioritize a more powerful engine and additional interior space, the Mazda 3 may be the better choice.

However, if you’re looking for a versatile, adventure-ready vehicle with a higher ground clearance, the Mazda CX-3 might be the ideal option for you.

RELATED: Get more ideas from few more car comparison with Mazda CX 3 vs CX 30 dimensions and prices. As well Mazda CX 30 vs CX 5 similarities and Mazda 3 vs CX30 differences in repairs, external and internal designs.

Performance and Engine Specifications

Engine Types

Both the Mazda 3 and the Mazda CX-3 house 2.5L inline-4 Gas engines. However, beneath the Mazda CX-3’s hood sits a slightly smaller 146-hp four-cylinder engine.

Power and Torque

When comparing power, the Mazda 3’s engine generates more horsepower than the Mazda CX-3, which provides a slightly lower performance in terms of power. The difference in power is due to the displacement and engine type of both vehicles.

Transmission Options

For your driving needs, both the Mazda 3 and the Mazda CX-3 come with a 6-Speed Automatic transmission and a front-wheel drive drivetrain.

This choice of transmission provides smooth gear changes and contributes to a better fuel economy.

While driving these vehicles, you’ll notice differences in their fuel economy. The Mazda 3 sedan offers a combined 28 mpg, while the Mazda CX-3 boasts a competitive 29 mpg combined rating.

Keep in mind that the type of fuel you use and your driving habits can affect your car’s performance and emissions. Regular maintenance is essential to maintain optimal engine efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.

Mazda 3 vs CX 3 Exterior Design and Features

Body Styles

Comparing Mazda 3 vs CX 3 have different and distinct body styles: the Sedan and the Hatchback. On the other hand, the Mazda CX-3 is available only as a compact crossover SUV.

Dimensions and Measurements

The Mazda 3 Sedan boasts a length of 183.5 inches, width of 70.7 inches, and height of 57.3 inches. Its wheelbase spans 107.3 inches.

Comparatively, the Mazda CX-3’s dimensions are slightly smaller, with a length of 168.3 inches, width of 69.5 inches, and height of 60.7 inches. The wheelbase measures 101.2 inches.

Exterior Colors and Materials

A variety of exterior colors are available for both the Mazda 3 and the Mazda CX-3.

You can choose from classic shades like Jet Black Mica and Snowflake White Pearl Mica to vibrant options such as Soul Red Crystal Metallic and Deep Crystal Blue Mica.

The cars also feature high-quality materials, enhancing their durability and style.

When it comes to exterior design, both the Mazda 3 and the Mazda CX-3 showcase their distinctive KODO “Soul of Motion” design philosophy, giving them a sleek and dynamic appearance.

The striking front grilles, LED headlights, and muscular stances make these vehicles stand out on the road and provide a unique driving experience.

Interior and Comfort

Seating and Legroom

When comparing the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-3, you’ll notice slight differences in seating and legroom.

In the Mazda 3, you have a larger space with 42.3 inches of legroom in the front and 35.1 inches in the rear. Meanwhile, the CX-3 offers 41.7 inches in the front and 35 inches in the rear.

Cargo Space and Capacity

The Mazda 3 stands out in terms of cargo space, offering substantially more volume compared to the CX-3’s 9.6 cubic feet. Both vehicles are equipped with cloth seat trims and power windows for added comfort.

Infotainment and Connectivity

In both the Mazda 3 and CX-3, you’ll find a user-friendly infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ support.

Additionally, you get connectivity features, such as Bluetooth® streaming and USB ports, to keep you entertained and connected while on the road.

Safety and Convenience Features

Standard and Available Safety Features

Both the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-3 come equipped with an impressive array of safety features. You’ll find standard features like anti-lock brakes, stability control, and traction control.

Airbags and Crash Test Results

Your safety is prioritized with multiple airbags, including driver airbag, passenger airbag, front side airbags, rear side airbags, and curtain airbags. Both vehicles have received NHTSA crash test results with high safety ratings.

Fuel Efficiency, Economy, and Emissions

City and Highway Fuel Economy

When considering the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-3, you’ll appreciate their fuel efficiency.

The Mazda 3 offers 25 MPG city and 33 MPG highway, while the CX-3 has a combined fuel economy of 6.3L/100km on urban and open roads, 7.7L/100km in city-only driving.

Fuel Tank Volume and Range

Your Mazda 3 comes with a fuel tank capacity of 12.7 gallons, providing a good driving range.

The fuel tank volume for the Mazda CX-3 isn’t available, but rest assured it also offers a decent range for your adventures.

Pricing and Warranty

MSRP and Invoice Prices

The 2023 Mazda MAZDA3 2.5 S Carbon Edition Hatchback AWD has an MSRP of $29,600 and an invoice price of $28,303.

Average Price Paid

The average price paid for this model is $28,642.


To find incentives in your area, enter your zip code on specific dealership websites. Both Mazda 3 and CX-3 vehicles come with a warranty of 5 years.

Comparing the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-3 in Different Use Cases

Family Use

The Mazda 3 shines with its more spacious cabin, making it suitable for families. On the other hand, the Mazda CX-3 offers limited rear legroom which can be a major factor for family use.

City vs. Highway Driving

For city driving, both the Mazda 3 and the Mazda CX-3 have responsive steering wheels and good efficiency.

When it comes to highway driving, the Mazda 3 sedan seems to have a quieter ride, making it a more comfortable choice for long drives.

Towing and Adventure Activities

While neither model is specifically designed for towing, the CX-3’s all-wheel drive can give you an advantage in adventure activities, allowing for better grip on slippery terrain.

The SUV’s higher ground clearance and wider tires ensure better off-road performance, as well. However, the Mazda 3’s 2.5L engine offers more power than the CX-3, and you may prefer its performance in other activities.

In your decision, consider factors like space, driving scenarios, and specific usage before making a choice between these distinct Mazda models.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Mazda3 and CX-3?

The main differences between the Mazda3 and CX-3 are size, body style, and performance. The Mazda3 is a sedan or hatchback, while the CX-3 is a subcompact crossover SUV.

The Mazda3 offers more cargo space and better performance, while CX-3 features a higher driving position and all-wheel drive options.

What is the difference between Mazda CX-3 and Mazda 3 hatchback?

The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact crossover SUV, whereas the Mazda 3 hatchback is a compact car. The Mazda 3 hatchback offers more cargo space, while the CX-3 provides a higher driving position and is available with all-wheel drive.

How do the sizes of Mazda3 and CX-3 compare?

The Mazda3 has more interior space, with 42.3 inches of front legroom and 35.1 inches of rear legroom, while the CX-3 provides slightly less, with 41.7 inches in the front and 35 inches in the rear. The Mazda3 also has a larger cargo volume than the CX-3.

Is the Mazda CX-3 model based on the Mazda3 platform?

Yes, the Mazda CX-3 is based on a modified version of the Mazda2 platform, which is closely related to the Mazda3 platform.

What led to the discontinuation of the CX-3?

Lower demand and the introduction of the newer Mazda CX-30 led to the discontinuation of the CX-3 in favor of better-suited models for customer preferences.

Which offers better fuel efficiency: Mazda3 or CX-3?

The fuel efficiency of Mazda3 and CX-3 varies depending on the engine and drivetrain options. In general, both vehicles have similar fuel efficiency ratings, but specific comparisons should be made based on your preferred configuration.

How do the performance and handling of Mazda3 and CX-3 compare?

The Mazda3 offers better performance, with stronger engines and responsive handling. The CX-3, while still fun to drive, is focused more on its all-wheel drive capability and higher driving position.

The Mazda3’s suspension is designed for a sportier, more engaging ride, while the CX-3 offers a more comfortable ride with its softer suspension.


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