2024 Mazda CX-3 (Facelift) Review

The 2024 Mazda CX-3 has received a facelift after 9 years on sale, but is it enough to make it the best small SUV you can buy?

Matt Brand
Expert reviewer
Updated on
February 9, 2024
Saucey score


  • Fantastic driving experience
  • Interior upgrades are welcome
  • Remains an affordable small SUV choice


  • Limited space in the rear
  • Outdated technology despite facelift
  • Fuel efficiency is not great
Car specs

110 kW + 195 Nm


6.3 L/100km (Claimed)


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Fun fact about the CX-3 small SUV: it was introduced almost 9 years ago, back in 2016.

Fast forward to 2023, and the CX-3 has FINALLY received a much deserved facelift… but there’s a catch.

Just like the Mazda 3 facelift we reviewed, and the Mazda 2 facelift we also reviewed (which the CX-3 is based on), the CX-3 has received a minor nip and tuck while Mazda focus their efforts on introducing their ultra-premium and expensive to develop large CX-60 and CX-90.

And yet, the Mazda CX-3 is still one of Australia’s best selling small SUV’s, just 2nd to it’s more premium and expensive brother, the Mazda CX-30.

Today we’re reviewing the newly named Touring SP, 2nd trim from the top, which has arguably the most changes of all of the new CX-3 trims.

But being 9-years old, is the Mazda CX-3 still good enough to compete in this hotly contested market? Let’s talk about that!

What are the changes for the CX-3 facelift?

The lineup has been streamlined from 13 to 5 variants. Notably, the previous top-specification Akari LE is discontinued, while other trims have been renamed and upgraded: Neo Sport to Sport, Maxx Sport to Pure, Maxx Sport LE to Evolve, and sTouring to Touring SP. The Akari retains its name.

The CX-3 now exclusively offers a 6-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive, saying goodbye to the manual transmission and all-wheel-drive options.

The 2023 Mazda CX-3 facelift brings a significant enhancement in standard equipment across its entire range, although this comes with a corresponding increase in prices.

  • Sport (formerly Neo Sport): Now includes 16-inch alloy wheels, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, wireless Apple CarPlay, and auto-folding side mirrors. Priced at $26,800, marking an increase of $1,290.
  • Pure (formerly Maxx Sport): Upgraded with LED headlights and tail-lights, lane departure warning, driver attention alert, and a head-up display. This variant is now priced at $29,300, up by $1,790.
  • Evolve: Features 18-inch machined alloy wheels, front parking sensors, and maintains the Maxx Sport LE's distinctive white synthetic leather and tan suede-look upholstery. The Evolve is priced at $31,050, which is $2,790 more than its predecessor.
  • Touring SP: Stands out with its blacked-out theme, including 18-inch black wheels, black finishes, and black leather and synthetic suede upholstery accented with blue stitching. It also boasts a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat and adaptive cruise control. The Touring SP sees a price increase of $2,090, now at $34,300.
  • Akari: Introduces a high-quality seven-speaker Bose premium sound system while retaining the Touring SP's black alloy wheels. The Akari is priced at $38,620, reflecting a $1,310 increase.

What’s the interior and tech like of the 2024 Mazda CX-3?

The craziest thing about the Mazda CX-3 is the interior… but crazy in a GOOD way.

Being based on the Mazda 2, Mazda’s cheapest car, you would expect their cheapest SUV to feel sub-par, but in a lot of ways it lives up to its premium branding.

The interior of the Touring SP has received the most attention for this facelift, and you can tell. You genuinely feel as if you’re getting your money’s worth, and then some.

Quality and feel remains a strong point for the CX-3, with the Touring SP now including synthetic blue suede across the dash and door-cards which livens up the interior significantly. 

This also extends to the leather and suede seats, which for the drivers side is now 10-way automatically adjustable and is very comfortable.

Copper highlights have also been dotted around air vents, which breaks up what would otherwise be conservative at best, or boring at worst, design.

Technology is what brings the interior back to feeling its age. Although the 8.0” Mazda Connect infotainment display now gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the graphics are still average at best.

Mazda also prefer you to use joystick and button controls in the center console, and limit touchscreen use to when the car is not moving.

Start driving, the touchscreen functionality is lost - which is a shame.

The analogue instrument binacle is very basic by 2024 standards, though it works just fine with few menus.

If you want digital, you can (kinda) have that though - considering the Touring SP now get’s a heads-up display previously reserved for the Akami.

Back to the good though, the steering wheel is one of those things we take for granted, but holding onto it is a pleasure. Perfect shape, great leather, and frankly it elevates the driving experience.

It’s worth noting however that the CX-3’s biggest competitor - the Yaris Cross - has just had its facelift announced for Europe, and its technology puts the CX-3 to shame. Though timing for Australia is unknown.

CX-3 Facelifted Interior (Japan Only)

What about the back seats of the CX-3?

The back seats of the CX-3 is where it falls over for the little SUV.

At 5’11”, a pretty average height, I have no room behind my driver's position. 

Toe room is strangely great, as is head room, but the reality is it would be uncomfortable for me to sit in the rear. Or most adults, really.

There are also limited amenities, with no air-conditioning or charging ports. However, you do get a center armrest - which is somewhat of an anomaly.

How much can fit in the boot of the CX-3?

Again, don’t buy the CX-3 for sheer practicality.

Boot space is poor at just 264L with the second row up, and 1174L with them folded.

For reference, the front-wheel drive Yaris Cross has 390L of boot space… so not far from double the size.

It’s a usable space for most people, though.

What’s under the bonnet of the CX-3?

Despite being heavily based on the Mazda 2 compact car platform, the CX-3 avoids the 1.5L engine of the Mazda 2 and instead get’s the Mazda 3’s 2.0L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol-engine.

That means it comes with a surprisingly good amount of power and torque, far better than all of its competitors.

The Mazda CX-3 has 110 kW of power and 195 Nm of torque, which is now sent exclusively through a 6-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

With the facelift comes the deletion of the all-wheel drive system and 6-speed manual, both of which had slumped in sales hence their deletion.

How does the Facelifted CX-3 drive?

The highlight of the CX-3, and frankly the reason you would buy one in the first place, is because it remains the pinnacle of small SUV driving experience.

The 2.0L 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine really gets the CX-3 shifting faster than it has any right to, with the 0-100km/h sprint timed at a decent 9.71 seconds.

However, it is a double edged sword - because if you want the most out of the engine, you need to rev it high which means a lot of engine noise enters the cabin.

The 6-speed automatic does a good job at shifting in order to keep the engine in it’s happy rev range, while trying to maximize fuel efficiency.

Unfortunately though, it isn’t the most frugal in efficiency despite claiming 6.3L/100km our week of testing had it closer to 7.8L/100km with plenty of around town and highway kilometers.

Despite not having access to the levels of resources of some competitor brands, the Mazda team have achieved a phenomenal ride and handling tune for their CX-3.

The ride, while on the firmer end, is confidence inspiring especially around corners. Chucking the CX-3 around, you will notice a distinct lack of body control and a surprising amount of mechanical grip.

Driving on highways is a breeze as well with the adaptive cruise control now standard on the Touring SP, previously exclusive for the Akari.

However, it is a shame that unlike the Yaris Cross, there is no lane centering to steer you down the highway. Again, a sign that the CX-3 is showing its age.

Still, for those who want a small SUV but don’t want a soulless appliance, the Mazda CX-3 remains one of the few smaller cars with fantastic driving dynamics.

How Mazda achieved this on an economy car platform, is somewhat of genius.

Is the 2024 CX-3 Safe?

The CX-3 is currently unrated by ANCAP after its safety rating expired in December of 2022.

At their Mazda 2 launch earlier this year, Mazda reiterated their Mazda 2 and CX-3 were both safe cars but re-crashing them for ANCAP - a multi-million dollar affair - was not financially viable.

Still, the Mazda CX-3 does come with a comprehensive safety kit:

Standard safety equipment highlights include:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Front, Side and Curtain Airbags
  • Rear Parking Sensors
  • Reverse Camera

For G20 Pure and above

  • Lane Departure Warning

What are the specs and features of the 2024 Mazda CX-3?

The 2024 Mazda CX-3 offers a comprehensive list of features across its various trims, combining and expanding upon the elements from previous years. Here's a detailed compilation:

Base Sport:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Power-folding exterior mirrors
  • 8.0-inch infotainment screen
  • Wired Android Auto and Wireless/Wired Apple CarPlay
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Tilt and telescopic steering column adjustment
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Electric parking brake with auto-hold
  • Keyless start
  • Air-conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • Power windows
  • 1 x 12V outlet
  • Halogen headlights
  • Reversing camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Analogue instrument dials with digital trip computer
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Remote central locking
  • Six airbags
  • Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Hill hold assist
  • Front and rear seatbelt reminders
  • Anti-lock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control

Pure (adds over Sport):

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Automatic LED headlights with high-beam
  • LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights
  • Head-up display
  • Satellite navigation
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Climate control air-conditioning
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Driver attention alert

Evolve (adds over Pure):

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Maztex leatherette/Grand Luxe synthetic suede upholstery
  • Front parking sensors
  • White synthetic leather-look and tan synthetic suede-look seat upholstery

Touring SP (adds over Evolve):

  • Heated power-folding exterior mirrors
  • LED front fog lights
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather/Grand Luxe synthetic suede upholstery with blue stitching
  • Power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment and two-position memory
  • Keyless entry
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Adaptive (radar) cruise control with stop and go
  • 18-inch black alloy wheels
  • Black roof, grille trim, and grille insert

Akari (adds over Touring SP):

  • Single-pane sunroof
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Leather upholstery
  • Seven-speaker Bose sound system
  • 360-degree camera
  • Chrome exterior trim

How much can the Mazda CX-3 tow?

The Mazda CX-3 has a braked towing capacity of 1,200kg.

How much does the 2024 Mazda CX-3 cost to run?

The Mazda CX-3 comes with a warranty of 5 years with unlimited kilometres.

Scheduled Servicing frequency is every 12 months or 15,000 km, whichever comes first.

Capped Price Servicing for the First Five Services:

  • 1st Service: $334
  • 2nd Service: $526
  • 3rd Service: $412
  • 4th Service: $526
  • 5th Service: $334

Total Cost for First Five Services: $2,132

What’s CarSauce’s take on the 2024 Mazda CX-3 Facelift?

The 2024 Mazda CX-3 is a small SUV that although shows some limitations in its 9-year old underpinnings, has once again proven that Mazda are amongst the best for building affordable yet premium cars.

It's updated interior adds some flair, and although prices have gone up across the range, the addition of more inclusions across the range solidifies the CX-3 as an affordable small SUV.

The driving experience too, while failing to be very economical with its naturally aspirated engine, still provides best in class driving dynamics for those who want to drive more than an appliance.

It may not be perfect, but the CX-3 remains a top choice in the small SUV segment.

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Matt Brand
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

110 kW + 195 Nm


6.3 L/100km (Claimed)


Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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