3,294-mile Roadtrip Across American West in CX-3
I've just returned from a long road trip in my '16 CX-3 GT AWD & thought I'd share some reactions. I drove from Seattle, Washington to Green Valley, Arizona & back for a total of 3,294 miles, the bulk of that on US I-5. It was a 2-day drive each way, with the halfway point at Lodi, California. Up to now, I've used the CX-3 solely for city commuting, and I'll admit I had reservations about traveling such a great distance in such a small car (I'm 6'5" tall). Happily, the Mazda exceeded most of my expectations & proved itself to be a great driver over a long haul.
1.) Handling, for me, remains this car's strong suit, and the CX-3 fared remarkably well through some snowy & twisty mountain roads in southern Oregon/ northern California.
2.) The LED fog lamps were real life savers in thick fog.
3.) The iPod integration on this car is better than any other car I've had, and it's easy to use. I didn't experience wild sound quality fluctuations as I have in other cars' systems.
4.) Similarly, the Bluetooth integration is a snap to use (I have an Android phone), and I came to appreciate the phone holder in the arm rest about which I was initially hesitant; the clip inside the arm rest did no damage to my phone..
5.) The navigation system was mainly great--I particularly appreciated the time-of-arrival estimates, which were always dead-on, and the sidebar that lets me know distance to services (gas, food, etc.), as there are long stretches of I-5 with seemingly nothing at all for miles & miles.
6.) While no hybrid, I still averaged a respectable 31mpg on the whole trip & with 87-octane saved money, too. At a gas station in snowy Weed, California, a guy asked me, "What is that thing?"
7.) Passing was no problem, with or without the "Sport" button, which I'm not convinced does much other than make the engine sound thrashy.
1.) One of the weird drawbacks of the wind & road noise in this car is that the turn signals are absolutely inaudible. This isn't an huge quibble; I've just never had a vehicle in which I could not hear the turn signals making any sounds, and no, I'm not some geriatric deaf person or someone who cranks the stereo wildly.
2.) Cup holders beneath the arm rest: terrible design. Say what you will about your ideas of average Americans, things in the American west are farther apart than places in Europe & the American east coast, and sometimes you want to have a beverage on a long drive. Flipping up the arm rest each time you want a drink is a hassle.
3.) Sometimes, the navigation system is just wrong, but about strange stuff: entering most large cities on the main freeway, the nav system would often insist the speed limit was a mystifying 35mph when it was actually 65 - 70mph. The nav voice repeatedly harping "Reduce your speed" made me yell back at her a few times.
4.) I was never able to get the Bluetooth integration to recognize any music saved on my Galaxy S7 Edge Android phone for some reason, even after the phone was directly USB-connected to the car.
5.) The windshield washer fluid froze up in the mountains, and the squirters wouldn't squirt, so I had to pull over, grab some snow, and wipe off the windows & then get to the nearest gas station to buy some winter-grade washer fluid. It'd be nice to have a reservoir warmer for the fluid tank, but that's probably something for a higher-end car.
6.) The seats are not comfortable for someone my height on a long drive. I wish we had a sport seat option--maybe one day.
7.) Similarly, the door arm rests aren't padded enough to facilitate arm comfort over a long drive; I ended up using one of my down jackets over the arm rest. While not rock hard like most other Japanese brands, over hours, the minimally-padded CX-3 arm rests cried out for something more. The flimsy-seeming central arm rest ended up being a champ, though.
So, overall, the car was mainly great--certainly fun to drive while not expensive to fuel up. I think for my purposes I may look into the forthcoming CX-5 mainly because it'll be a bit roomier for someone of my height, but the CX-3 stays in the family because my spouse loves it. I would most definitely be curious to see how the CX-3 has done for others on road trips.
2016 CX-3 GT AWD in Dynamic Blue + Roof Rails