CX-5 vs. CX-3: What’s the difference?
Mazda’s SUV lineup offers two strong candidates for buyers to consider in the compact crossover range: the CX-5 and the CX-3. While the CX-5 gives you more space in the cabin, the CX-3 possesses an impressive array of infotainment and safety technology for its modest price tag. Both vehicles are also fun to drive, thanks to their punchy power trains. If you’re struggling to decide which one to buy, check out our comparison of these two crossovers.
What Are the Mazda CX-5 and CX-3?
The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact SUV with seating for five people. Its upscale cabin is fitted with cloth upholstery and a broad range of infotainment features. Adults can comfortably relax up front, while the rear row is well-equipped for child seating with two sets of LATCH connectors.
The CX-5 is a slightly larger crossover that provides some more storage space and rear-seat legroom than the CX-3. Mazda sells the CX-5 in several trims, allowing you to choose between a functional cabin with cloth upholstery and a more luxurious setup.
The CX-5 has two engine options: a standard four-cylinder unit and a turbocharged four-cylinder. Depending on your priorities, you can choose between fuel efficiency and speedier acceleration.
Interior Dimensions and Seating
The CX-5 offers significantly more space in the cabin than the CX-3. At the rear, you can fit 31 cubic feet of cargo into the CX-5 compared to just under 18 cubic feet in the CX-3. The CX-5 retains its advantage when the rear row is folded flat, with approximately 60 cubic feet of space compared to the CX-3’s 42 cubic feet.
There’s also noticeably more legroom in the CX-5’s rear row. The CX-3’s second row is fine for kids or adults on short journeys, but the CX-5 offers enough space for two adults to relax in comfort for longer trips outside of Orange.
Engine and Performance
The CX-3’s four-cylinder engine is a 2.0-liter unit that can put out 148 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission completes the power train. This setup is well-suited to this small crossover, especially if you do a lot of city driving and prioritize good fuel economy.
In its standard front-wheel-drive configuration, the CX-3 achieves 29 mpg on city roads and 34 mpg on the highway, which puts it near the top of the subcompact SUV class. Opt for all-wheel drive, and these figures drop slightly to 27 mpg and 32 mpg, respectively.
The CX-5’s base engine can put out 187 horsepower and is also paired with a six-speed automatic. With this power train, your fuel economy is almost as strong as the smaller CX-3, with figures of 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. All-wheel-drive CX-5s manage 24 mpg and 30 mpg, respectively.
Drivers who like a more robust response when they hit the accelerator should consider the CX-5’s turbocharged engine, which puts out 227 horsepower with regular gas and 250 horsepower with premium fuel. This engine gets you 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway in front-wheel drive, and one mpg less in both settings when equipped with all-wheel drive.
The CX-5’s infotainment system is impressive. Its top features include a sizeable 10.25-inch screen and a four-speaker stereo. The base setup also comes with a wireless hotspot so you can stay connected with friends or family wherever you are. You can link your phone or other devices to your infotainment system using apple CarPlay, Android Auto, BlueTooth connectivity, and two USB ports.
If the standard entertainment features aren’t quite enough for you, why not upgrade to the CX-5’s available 10-speaker sound system? Other helpful available features include a navigation system and satellite radio.
The CX-3’s entertainment offerings aren’t quite as extensive, but they’re still impressive compared to other vehicles of a similar price. The CX-3 has a 7-inch screen, six-speaker stereo, and smartphone compatibility. Bluetooth and voice recognition also comes standard.
There are no major infotainment upgrades since the CX-3 only has one trim. However, you can add some ambient lighting to the cabin to create a more relaxed feel.
Pricing and Trims
The CX-3 has a slight advantage if you’re looking for a crossover on a modest budget. Its MSRP is approximately $4,000 cheaper than the CX-5. You’ll struggle to find another crossover with an MSRP of just over $20,000 that has as many standard features on offer as the CX-3.
If you want your SUV to have some additional capabilities, you probably won’t mind paying a bit more to secure the CX-5. You can choose from six trims with the CX-5: Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. This broad selection allows you to tailor the CX-5 to your preferred interior luxury and performance level.
The Touring trim adds synthetic leather upholstery and heated front seats to the cabin. Meanwhile, the Carbon Edition offers some unique design features and colors, such as red leather upholstery. The range-topping Signature trim will make you feel like you’re driving a luxury vehicle with its wood trim and Nappa leather upholstery.
If you want to access the more powerful turbocharged engine, you’ll need to choose the Carbon Edition, Grand Touring Reserve, or Signature trims. The standard four-cylinder unit powers all other trims. All-wheel drive is available throughout the lineup at an extra charge.
We hope that this comparison has helped you decide whether to opt for the CX-5 or CX-3. If you’d like to take a closer look at the CX-5s and CX-3s we’ve currently got in our showroom, feel free to explore our online inventory.
In case you have any outstanding questions about the CX-5 or CX-3, you can reach out to the team here at Mazda of Orange. Our California auto experts will be happy to give you advice on everything from specific CX-5 features to our auto financing options to help you finalize your auto purchase.