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I was really thinking about the Subaru Crosstrek I know it's not as sporty as the Mazda but I wouldn't mind driving the Crosstrek either.
 

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I love Subarus (I came from a WRX and my wife has an Outback, and other family has a Forester), but the Crosstrek was just a bit boring for me. Its a nice car, and I get why others would like it, but ultimately the Mazda sportiness and fun character won out. I actually prefer the Forester to the Crosstrek, but man the seats in the Forester are bad IMHO.
 

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CX-3 fitted my bill exactly - the looks, sensible sized non turbo petrol engine, proper torque convertor automatic gearbox (no CVT !!!). From my reviews of other makes within my price bracket, only Mazda seemed to do that kind of gearbox. The test drive(s) confirmed my choice.
 

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I love Subarus but we're al all-CX family now. I considered the Crosstrek, but it seemed to much of a marshmallow car. It's underpowered and wallows around more than I like which makes it feel like driving a bigger car than it really is.

At the time I bought the CX-3, the Jeep Renegades were just starting to hit the market. I didn't really care for the Jeep at the time, but the look has grown on me since and I'd be more receptive to it if I were shopping today. Not sure if I'd go Trailhawk or Sport trim, though. My biggest reservation would be that the car is a rebadged Fiat. I understand it's the same platform as the 500X. I don't know if I could ever bring myself to buy a Fiat Chrysler product with their notoriously bad reliability/quality reputation. It's too bad, because they are making some really nice looking cars. If I went for a Fiat Chrysler Dodge Jeep type thing, my first choice out their entire lineup would probably actually be an AWD Charger.

I considered CX-5 or a used CX-7 briefly but dismissed them because they were bigger than I wanted and, in the case of the CX-7, I didn't want to have to pay for premium gas for the turbo engine. Premium gas is around $0.70/gallon more expensive here. Sometimes I've seen it as much as $0.90/gal more. It's still cheap in the grand scheme of things, but is a huge mark-up percentage-wise from regular 87 octane and it certainly adds up over time.m

Edit: Forgot that I also considered getting back in a WRX again. New was a little out of my price range with the options I would have wanted. Used prices, if you can find one around here in good shape and relatively low miles, are ridiculous. Not worth paying those prices for a used one when a new one is only a little more. Also, back to the premium gas thing again. Oh and insurance rate was higher, too.

Edit again: I also considered going completely the opposite direction and getting a Ford Flex. Those things got a ton of bells and whistles, tons of room, and you can get them used for a good price. I'm reasonably sure it wouldn't fit in my garage, though. Too long. I'd have to tear out my workbench and I wasn't willing to do that.
 

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CX-3 fitted my bill exactly - the looks, sensible sized non turbo petrol engine, proper torque convertor automatic gearbox (no CVT !!!). From my reviews of other makes within my price bracket, only Mazda seemed to do that kind of gearbox. The test drive(s) confirmed my choice.
No CVT was a big plus for me, also. I wanted something with a manual box. Found a used Mini Clubman S JCW that fit my price and had low miles and a sweet manual gearbox. Premium gas was a bummer, but the sale price was low enough it didn't bother me. My wife vetoed it because she didn't like the odd rear passenger door configuration on the older Clubman. I do really love the new Clubman with proper rear passenger doors and available AWD, but I couldn't wait until January for it come out.
 

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...My biggest reservation would be that the car is a rebadged Fiat. I understand it's the same platform as the 500X....
It's not rebadged Fiat.
The Renegade and 500X share the same basic platform and some other stuff, like engines and transmissions.
The Renegade has itøs own 4x4 system making it a fully capable off-roader but the 500X is more like the CX-3, a road-goer with limited off-road capabilities.
 

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I was originally looking at the Mercedes GLA or the BMW x1, which I had a 2013 x1 lease prior to my CX3. When the CX3 was introduced, I said Id go the economical route and looked at the CX3 and nothing else.

I only drive around 5k miles per year, so the GLA and x1 seemed like a waste of money. I purchased the CX3 and hope to drive it for 10 years. We'll see....
 

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My main criteria was economy, both fuel and overall cost. I love the look of the GLA and the Q3, but the prices were too dear. Even the Countryman, with the options I wanted (and the CX-3 has) was too expensive. I narrowed it down to the CX-3 because I love Mazdas and the 500X for the sheer funkyness. The dealerships are right next to each other, with Mazda first on the freeway access road. I never made it to the the Fiat dealership... Once the the wee ones are out of daycare and into regular school, a GLA45 AMG may fit the bill!
 

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It's not rebadged Fiat.
The Renegade and 500X share the same basic platform and some other stuff, like engines and transmissions.
The Renegade has itøs own 4x4 system making it a fully capable off-roader but the 500X is more like the CX-3, a road-goer with limited off-road capabilities.
They may not be siblings, but they're first cousins at the very least. Built on same platform with a bunch of common under-the-hood things and they run down the same assembly line in Italy as the 500X makes it close enough for me. Renegade Sport and Trailhawk trims are very different in terms of off-road capability in the same way the Cherokee Sport is a different animal than the trail rated Cherokees. The Sport trim is intended for primarily on-road use much like its 500X cousin.
 

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I was first considering the Honda HR-V. The higher end model had everything I wanted on it and was in the price range I wanted. The thing that really persuaded me to Mazda was because the HR-V is built in Mexico for the U.S. And I had previous problems with a Honda not built in Japan. My last Honda that was built in Japan had absolutely no problems. That's when I started looking at Mazda. I had already heard about their good fuel economy and reliability. I then started looking at the CX-5 but decided on the CX-3 because it was more fun to drive, had better interior(IMO), and was about $5000 less than if I got everything I wanted in the CX-5
 

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They may not be siblings, but they're first cousins at the very least. Built on same platform with a bunch of common under-the-hood things and they run down the same assembly line in Italy as the 500X makes it close enough for me. Renegade Sport and Trailhawk trims are very different in terms of off-road capability in the same way the Cherokee Sport is a different animal than the trail rated Cherokees. The Sport trim is intended for primarily on-road use much like its 500X cousin.
I know, it's just when I think rebadged it's when You take one car and more or less just change the stickers (like VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo in Europe).
I totally agree with You that they are cousins or half-brothers.
Having owned several Fiats prior to my CX-3 I wouldn't have any hesitations buying another one, if the price was right (which it wasn't). :)
The build quality and mechanics are just as good as the competitors, at least with the 5 Fiats and 1 Lanica I have owned.
 

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I dunno, man... JD Power has not been kind to the brand.

2.5/5.0 reliability rating: FIAT 500X Prices, Reviews and Pictures | U.S. News Best Cars

Fiat and Jeep rank at the bottom of the Initial Quality Survey (numbers on chart are Problems Reported Per 100 vehicles sold) with Fiat losing by a wide margin. See chart for 2014 model years below. Couldn't find a more recent one in my quick search.

To be fair, Mazda CX-3 reliability rating didn't fare a whole lot better at 3/5: http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Mazda_CX-3/
 

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i actually wasn't considering any other CUV, but more a Daily Driver with AWD (and a dash of fun).

Subaru WRX (base) was the other strong contender for me.
 

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I wouldn't let myself miss out on the thrill of comparison-shopping. Other contenders:

Mini Countryman Needed AWD in a snappy vehicle, and this seemed like a match. Newer and more reliable model years were much more expensive than presumed, however, and I couldn't justify the big fistful of thousands needed to stay in a MINI.

Buick Encore Small and sporty, but c'mon, could you see me in a Buick?

Jeep Renegade Love the look, but I don't trust the brand.

After my first encounter with the CX-3, I went home and tried hard to find a way to get what I wanted in a more affordable used vehicle. In the end, there were features I just had to have and I adore my choice in car.
 

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Like Playthru, my first choice was a Subaru Crosstrek, but then I found out that the Canadian edition would not be equipped with Blind Spot Detection. This was a deal breaker, because any close calls that I have had have been because of failure to see cars in my blind spot and I determined that my next car had to have BSD. The US 2016 Crosstrek has the BSD, but not Canada so I rejected it outright partly out of spite! Then I looked at Hyundai Tucson (too expensive) and Honda HR-V, (too drab and not enough éclat). When I tried out the CX3, the contest was over. Here was a car that looked unlike any other, had a more welcoming interior, was economical to drive and was so much fun to take on the road. I had to have it! End of story.
 
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