Improving The Breed: The 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring FWD

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring
2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring.
Regular TireKicker readers know of our fondness for Mazda...the company that, as we've been saying since our founding in 2008, doesn't build a single bad car.  In fact, it builds all great cars, a secret that needs to spread beyond enthusiasts and automotive journalists.  But despite its excellence, Mazda continues to make yearly improvements to its machines, rather than waiting three years for mid-cycle refreshes.

Rear view of 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring
2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring.
While the '18 CX-3 looks like the '17 ( a very good thing, because it and the one-size-up CX-5 both bear a strong resemblance to the flagship CX-9...both of which occupy space on the TireKicker's Best Cars list on the right side of this page), there have been a lot of changes this year.

Smart City Brake support is standard on all CX-3 models, as is G-Vectoring Control.  Every CX-3 Touring or higher gets automatic on/off headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic climate control and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The Grand Touring, the model we drove for a week, benefits from all that plus traffic sign recognition and adaptive front lighting.  All of which makes for a spectacularly well-equipped small crossover.

Interior view of 2018 Mazda CX-3
2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring interior.
The remarkable part is the price. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring starts at $25,165 in its front-wheel-drive configuration with 18-inch wheels, leather with luxury suede sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gearshift knob and brake handle, power windows, mirrors and automatic door locks, keyless entry, pushbutton start, paddle shifters, navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio system with HD Radio, a rearview camera, power moonroof and more.

Even with options (in our case, $325 for a frameless auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink, $100 for a rear bumper guard, $300 for roof rack side rails, $100 for door sill trim plates and $1,435 for the Premium Package including radar cruise control, smart brake support, a six-way power driver's seat with lumbar, heated steering wheel, lane-departure warning, high-beam control, driver's seat memory with two positions ), the bottom line after $940 delivery, processing and handling fee was $28,365.  Well-equipped small crossovers under $30,000 are not all that common.   And none of the competition wring as much fun out of the suspension and the engine (a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four making 146 horsepower) while still returning a solid 29 miles per gallon city and 34 highway.

The CX-3 is as good as they come.