my older brother used to have a protege5 and I have fond memories of it growing up. He used to curse how slow it was but god did he drive the piss out of it...What Mazda has done here is build a Protege5 for today. You remember that car, of course, a zippy little hatchback that was low on power but high on fun; all the rev-the-nuts-off-it spirit of a Miata except with a hatchback to bung your hockey bag in. Like the old GLC, the P5 was a Great Little Car, but unlike the GLC, it was actually quick.
It’s a little less punch than the same engine makes in the Mazda3, thanks to a more restrictive exhaust routing required by the CX-3’s compact footprint. Still, it’s responsive, and it’s my experience with other Mazda products that their high-compression engines, specially shaped pistons, multi-point direct injection, and all that other voodoo the engineers love to shovel in your ears about simply works. It works. Drive the CX-3 gently and it doesn’t hit you in the pocketbook. Hammer the bejesus out of the throttle and it’s still pretty decent.