2016 Mazda CX-3

2016 Mazda CX-3

Episode 3507 , Episode 3519
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

As crossover utilities shrink ever smaller, they’re looking less like a blend of family car and a SUV, and more like pumped five-door hatchbacks with available all-wheel drive. Case in point, this Mazda CX-3. It’s a good looking subcompact ute. But, in its quest for popular style, is utility no longer its strongest point?

To their credit, Mazda calls the 2016 CX-3 their ultimate “urban escape vehicle”. A combination of small car attributes necessary for city-dwellers; like a Mazda3 hatchback; with enough crossover elements for weekend adventures and all-weather security.

Going up against the likes of Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, and Chevrolet Trax; four subcompact utes that weren’t even available here a year ago, gives you an idea of how rapidly this segment is expanding.

Built on a new SKYACTIV chassis to be shared with the next Mazda2, the CX-3 is tidy indeed.  Every interior dimension is less than the Mazda3. And while outside it is certainly taller, ground clearance is the same at 6.1-inches.

Of course you can’t get all-wheel-drive in the Mazda3. 

Now whether all-4 or just the front-2 wheels are in play, power comes from the MX-5’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter I4. Here putting out 146-horsepower and 146 lb-ft. of torque, with a 6-speed automatic transmission your only option. 

One thing is clear, and that is that the CX-3 is easily the most stylish of the new breed of cute utes. It looks long, low, lean, and much more muscular than bigger brother CX-5. 

In the front, the face is familiar Mazda territory, but they seem to be pushing the boundaries of the grille ever farther. And the slanted rear roof, with tight hind quarters, doesn’t help much with convincing us that this is a crossover and not a hatchback. 

At our test track, there was a snappy throttle and eagerness at launch, but the CX-3 runs out of steam fairly quickly; taking us 8.6-seconds to hit 60. To be fair, that’s on par with the Jeep Renegade we tested. And, the CX-3 gives you all it’s got down the strip sounding good while doing it. 

Shifts are prompt and positive, and there was even a touch of torque steer as we worked our way to a 16.7-second ¼-mile at 83 miles-per-hour. 

Throughout handling exercises, there was certainly a fun, sporty Mazda-style character. But, while still far from a sports car, there’s a nice balance and steering response is quick, putting most other tiny trucksters to shame. 

We were expecting a little more from the brakes however, than a 133-foot stopping average from 60 and an overall soft feel. 

Fittingly, the interior is driver-oriented, with an almost premium feel to materials and surfaces that again put it above most rivals. The control layout looks simple enough, yet still managed to befuddle some of our staffers. 

Ergonomics are also not great for full-size adults; plus we found console space minimal and cup holders difficult to access easily. Moreover, it can be at times a very noisy environment. 

Continuing our list of gripes, cargo space is minimal, just 10.1 cubic-ft. behind the rear seats if there’s a Bose subwoofer in place; that’s ½ the space of a Mazda3 hatchback. Folding the seats expands the space, getting the numbers closer to the Mazda3’s at 44.5 cubic-ft. 

The load floor is also very high. It might not have been as noticeable had we not had an HR-V in at the same time which has a much lower load floor and double the amount of rear cargo space.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel-drive CX-3 are 27-City, 32-Highway, and 29-Combined, which we almost reached at 28.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular. So the Energy Impact Score is much better than average, with oil consumption at 11.4-barrels yearly and CO2 emissions of 5.0-tons. 

Pricing starts at $20,840; and since we’re doing so much comparing here, a Mazda3 starts about a grand lower, though top Grand Touring trims are priced very similar.   

In the end, we know why Mazda commissioned the CX-3. Everything crossover is selling like mad while traditional car sales continue to sag. Still, when it comes to actual utility, a well done compact five-door hatchback, like a Mazda3, Ford Focus, or the new Honda Civic, beats the CX-3, and all other tiny utes, in everything except traction.

But, if you gotta hang with the crowd, then the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is one fun, city size utility, that’s rarin’ to go. 


  • Engine: 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 146
  • Torque: 146 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 16.7 seconds @ 83 mph
  • EPA: 27 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.0 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7 Driving

2023 BMW X7

Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.

When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.

There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…

…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.

2023 BMW X7 Interior Dashboard

Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.

The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.

At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!

New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.

In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.

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Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.

There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.

Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.

It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.


  • Engine: I-6
  • Horsepower: 375
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 398 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
  • EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined