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2019 Mazda CX-3

Frank Washington | 2/19/2019, 3:51 p.m.
The 2019 Mazda CX-3 is a small crossover. It was so small it could do a good imitation of a ...

The 2019 Mazda CX-3 is a small crossover. It was so small it could do a good imitation of a big hatchback. We drove one here to scope out the auto show.

On the way we encountered ice and sleet, then rain and then something akin to fog. The point is Mazda’s CX-3 handled it all relatively well.

It was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that made 148 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode and a sport mode. You don’t want to use the latter on an Interstate. It burns more gasoline because of the higher revolutions due to the gearing.

The CX-3 was rated at 27 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined. I stopped to gas up a few miles before I crossed into Indiana. I didn’t have a full tank of fuel when I left and the smaller the vehicle the smaller the gas tank; 11.9 gallons on the all-wheel-drive version which is what I had.

The power was adequate. I didn’t run anyway from anybody but I was not trying to. This Mazda CX-3 cruised nicely; I set the adaptive cruise control at 76. When I needed to pass, the CX-3 responded smartly.

Overall, the CX-3 handled well. But this drive was not much of a test. The run from Detroit to here is basically flat and straight with a few rises and gentle curves as I-94 dipped around the southern end of Lake Michigan.

The bottom line was the utility vehicle went where I steered it without any exertion on my part. It handled well too. But again this interstate was not very challenging. However, there was some wind noise as well as road nose depending on the road surface.

On highway trips, even short ones like this four-hour drive, music is critical to an interesting trip rather than a boring ride. I used the CX-3’s satellite radio for most the trip. But towards the end I used the Bluetooth connection to stream from my phone and its Pandora app.

Mazda made some incremental changes to the CX-3 but they did not alter the KODO design language which is curved fenders over the wheel wells, a long hood and a short rump.

But they did give the CX-3 a new grille, a new color for the Grand Touring trim line which I had, black piano exterior accents, chrome accents, LED taillights and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Inside the CX-3 got an electronic parking brake as standard with auto hold, a reconfigured center console that was a bigger than the old one, a new rear-seat arm rest, a front passenger seat manual lifter, red vent surrounds and high gloss piping.

I was impressed with some of the equipment. The 2019 CX-3 had a power driver’s seat. It also had adaptive cruise control, adaptive LED headlights, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

The CX-3 Grand Touring was stuffed with stuff. It had blind spot monitoring, advanced smart city brake, lane departure warning, keyless entry and push button start stop and rear cross traffic alert. There was also a moon roof.