2022 Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport Review

The Mazda CX-3 has been one of the best-selling small SUVs ever since it first went on sale about eight years ago. We find out if he is up to the task after all these years.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport.

VALUE

The best car in a given lineup is sometimes the cheapest or the most expensive. But in general, there is usually a sweet spot somewhere in between. The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport is one such car.

Priced above the entry-level CX-3, the Maxx Sport adds modern essentials (satellite navigation and automatic headlights), important safety features (blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts) and nice features (lightweight wheels and climate control) to relative to the basic standard model.

Yours for about $29,000, it has the same 2.0-liter engine as the top models, but lacks luxuries like LED headlights, a power sunroof, or reddish-brown nappa leather.

COMFORT

Mazda’s small SUV feels increasingly dated in the face of competition with digital instrument clusters, wireless phone charging and other features. This Maxx Sport is the second model in Mazda’s six-level CX-3 lineup, but it doesn’t feel cheap. You get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, smart keys, an electronic parking brake, and other niceties not found in cheaper alternatives.

Plain black cloth seats are a bit cheaper, but we’re willing to bet they’ll hold up to years of driving in better condition than the brown suede or pure white leatherette benches on the pricier versions.

The show-offs may point to the suave 18-inch wheels on the top-end versions, but the 16-inch wheels on the Maxx Sport provide a more comfortable ride, and tire changes will also be cheaper.

However, rear seating is quite cozy and there isn’t much room for luggage for growing families.

SAFETY

Maxx Sport blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts are important safety additions over the standard CX-3. However, we would replace this car’s conventional halogen headlights with adaptive LED units found on Akari’s top-of-the-line CX-3 models. Lane-keeping assist and a 360-degree parking camera would be nice too, but they’re not as bothered by the lack of active cruise control and traffic sign recognition. The CX-3 hasn’t been crash tested by ANCAP since 2015 when it got a good score.

DRIVING

The CX-3 is more fun to drive than most cars in its class, but it’s a bit like your favorite toothpaste flavor; no children’s crossover will make you set an alarm for the early morning to hit the road for it. It’s one of the oldest models in Mazda’s lineup and looks a little dated both inside and out. The hard-working 2.0-liter engine is noisy compared to smaller turbocharged alternatives, though the six-speed automatic is hard to fault.

Wind and road noise is louder than older Mazdas (or European competitors), although the ride is more comfortable than some of the more expensive alternatives. Tires with a high profile reduce the cornering accuracy that more expensive models with larger wheels provide.

VERDICT 3/5

The top spot in the Mazda CX-3 lineup deserves attention, but we’re leaning towards the more polished Mazda3 hatchback.

ALTERNATIVES

Hyundai Kona, from $29,490 per ride

The wide range includes many different options, including electric and high performance models.

Skoda Kamiq, from $36,990 per ride

More expensive thanks to a few price increases in a short amount of time, but well equipped and full of smart touches.

Mazda3, from $30,750 per ride

It may not have the desired SUV shape, but it handles better and is better equipped for less money.

MAZDA CX-3 MAXX SPORT VITALS

Price: About $29,000 by car

Engine: 2.0 liter 4-cylinder 110 kW and 195 Nm

Warranty/Service: 5 years, unlimited mileage, about $1,800 for 5 years

Safety: 6 airbags, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert

Thirst: 6.3 l/100 km

Boat: 264 liters

Save: Space saving

Originally published as 2022 Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport Review