• Mazda ushered in an early update
  • It brough new 18-inch wheels into play
  • Along with new headlights
  • and revised tailights
  • The interior saw more updates
  • With the center console getting the most attention
  • It's now wider and features an electronic E-Brake
  • The seats got a small redesign with higher trim levels getting full-leather
  • Rear passengers even get their own cupholders
  • The same 2.0-liter SkyActiv Engine carries over
  • But Mazda did some tuning
  • It now delivers 148 horsepower
  • and 148 pound-feet of torque
  • The suspension and chassis also got tweaked
  • as did G-vectoring control
  • No word on pricing yet
  • but don't expect pricing to increase too much

Mazda’s mini-SUV got a nice little update!

When Mazda introduced the CX-3 for the 2016 model year, it was received quite well on the market thanks to its striking design, attractive interior, and fairly powerful drivetrain. There were a few gripes to be had, though, and that’s why Mazda decided to usher in a mild update just three years into its lifecycle. These updates include new exterior lights, redesigned wheels, updated center console, a new electronic emergency brake, and even new armrests. Mazda even tweaked the CX-3’s SkyActiv engine to squeeze out just a little more power. We’re not sure if the CX-3 will get an official mid-cycle update in the next year or two as previously prescribed but if it doesn’t the update for 2019 should be enough to keep it standing tall until the next-gen model comes into play.

2019 Mazda CX-3 Exterior

  • Revised headlights get new LED accents
  • Revised Taillights have a new circular layout
  • Sportier 18-inch wheels
  • No updates to the front or rear fascias
  • No new body lines or trim panels
2019 Mazda CX-3 Exterior
- image 775895
The suspension and chassis also got tweaked
At first glance, it’s pretty clear that Mazda didn’t change about the CX-3’s exterior.

At first glance, it’s pretty clear that Mazda didn’t change about the CX-3’s exterior. In fact, it wasn’t even fitted with new front and rear fascias. It did, however, get new exterior lights. For the headlights, the LED layout has been modified a bit, with the units in the 2019 model having an eyelid-like look on the top. The taillights have been refined and now have a more circular look to them around the taillight portion. The reverse lights are now smaller, allowing for more red in the hatch-mounted portion of the lens. Finally, a new pair of 18-inch wheels round out the exterior and give the side profile a sportier look.

It may not seem like much, and this is usually why automakers get criticized for being lazy, but the CX-3 was already pretty damn attractive. And, thanks to the finely placed body lines, plenty of black for contrast, and that unique beltline, the CX-3 didn’t really need much else this early on. Plus, there is more work done inside and under the metal, so don’t write things off quite yet.

2019 Mazda CX-3 Interior

  • Revised seats
  • Revised center console
  • New seat material
  • New cupholders in the rear
  • New storage space up front
  • Electronic e-brake now standard
  • Soft armrest up front
  • New red accenting
  • Basic design carries over
  • No updates to the infotainment system
  • Instrument cluster carries over
2019 Mazda CX-3 Interior
- image 775896
The seats got a small redesign with higher trim levels getting full-leather
The interior has been updated quite nicely, but if you didn’t pay much attention to the pre-2019 model, you might not realize just what was changed

The interior has been updated quite nicely, but if you didn’t pay much attention to the pre-2019 model, you might not realize just what was changed. To put things simply, Mazda listened to consumer complaints and addressed them as part of this update. One of the biggest complaints was the center console and how cluttered it was thanks to, in part, that physical parking brake. It actually made it necessary for the center console to be slimmed down with the buttons and cup holds all clustered together in a very small area. It wasn’t ideal, to say the least.

So, this time around, Mazda installed an electronic parking brake, which has allowed for a wider center console. But that’s not all. Now that the console is wider, that block of buttons surrounding the rotary control isn’t as cluttered, and the cupholders have now ben centered and have a little more space. A new storage area up front addresses yet another concern. The seats have been slightly redesigned to offer better support with new internal padding, and the is glossy piping to help offset things – just like the new red accenting found inside the HVAC vents.

Mazda decided that the base color of the vehicle should be grey with white or black leather on the seats to help offset things a little more. Higher trim levels will get full-leather seats (an all-new thing for the CX-3) and the central armrest up front is now soft to the touch. Rear passengers now have cup holders in the pull-down center console. Essentially, Mazda took a near-perfect package and moved it just a little bit better. At this point, Mazda would have to a serious but careful redesign to raise the bar any higher.

2019 Mazda CX-3 Performance

  • Revised engine
  • 148 horsepower
  • 148 lb-ft of torque
  • AWD Available
  • Tweaked suspension
  • Tweaked steering
  • Tweaked G-vectoring control
2019 Mazda CX-3 Exterior
- image 775910
Along with new headlights
Mazda had to do something to improve performance but that 2.0-liter SkyActiv mill can only be tweaked so much

Mazda had to do something to improve performance but that 2.0-liter SkyActiv mill can only be tweaked so much. Be that as it may, Mazda managed to make it more responsive and managed to lower friction, a move that should yield better fuel economy. Of course, figures aren’t quite available, yet so we can’t tell you if there’s any real improvement in fuel economy. The CX-3’s suspension and steering system were tweaked to offer better ride quality and handling while the G-Vectoring Control was also tweaked for a more dynamic ride. In the end, Mazda increased output but just two horsepower and two pound-feet of torque, bringing both figures up to just 148. Considering the size of the CX-3 more power isn’t really needed, but we’ll take it. The same six-speed automatic transmission carries over, and you can also get an AWD system if you wish.

2016 – 2018 Mazda CX-3 2019 Mazda CX-3
Engine SKYACTIV®1-G 2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT SKYACTIV®1-G 2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT
Horsepower 146 @ 6,000 RPM 148 @ TBA
Torque 146 LB-FT @ 2,800 RPM 148 @ TBA
Fuel System Direct Injection Direct Injection
Engine Block Aluminum Aluminum
Cylinder Head Aluminum Aluminum
Driveline FWD or AWD FWD or AWD
Transmission 6AT 6AT

2019 Mazda CX-3 Pricing

2019 Mazda CX-3 Exterior
- image 775913
and revised tailights

Mazda has yet to announce pricing for the 2019 CX-3, but it’s not likely there will be much of a price hike if any at all. The 2018 model retails for, as of the time of this writing, $20,110 in Sport trim, $22,195 in Touring trim, and $25,165 in Grand Touring trim. If anything, expect prices to increase by no more than $300, bring them up to $20,410, $22,495, and $25,465, respectively.

2019 Mazda CX-3 Competition

Honda HR-V

2016 - 2017 Honda HR-V High Resolution Exterior
- image 578880

There’s no shortage of competitors on the subcompact SUV market, and the Honda HR-V is a prime competitor. The current model has been on the market since the 2016 model year, so it’s actually a little newer than the CX-3 in terms of design. It’s attractive outside, but the interior isn’t exactly on par with what you get in the CX-3. The infotainment system is small and embedded in the dash while a massive HVAC vent calls the passenger side of the dash home. All told, it’s kind of lackluster and ugly, but maybe that’s your thing. Under the hood sits a 1.8-liter four-banger that’s good for 138 horsepower and 127 pound-feet. A CVT is required if you want all-wheel drive, but if you can suffice for the FWD model, you can have a six-speed manual. Pricing for the HR-V comes in at $19,670 for the LX trim, $21,720 for the EX trim, and $25,140 for the EX-L Navi trim.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda HR-V.

Toyota CH-R

2018 Toyota C-HR High Resolution Exterior
- image 696108

The Toyota CH-R is another relatively new entry to the subcompact segment, just being introduced to the U.S. Market for the 2017 model year. It features an attractive exterior design with a tiered front fascia that’s both aggressive and stylish. It does have muscular proportions, and the rear door on each side is a little unorthodox compared to what we’re used to. The interior is also quite attractive and comfortable. Technology is oriented toward the driver. But, you have to keep in mind that this is also a subcompact, so the infotainment screen and instrument clusters are rather small. Under the hood dis a 2.0-liter four-banger with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque on tap. And, power is routed through a CVT transmission with no option for a three-pedal setup. Pricing for the XLE starts at $22,500 for the XL trim and climbs to $24,350 for the XLE trim.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota CH-R.

Final Thoughts

2019 Mazda CX-3 Exterior
- image 775901
But Mazda did some tuning

Automakers have a habit of being quite lazy when it comes to updates like this one, but you really have to give Mazda credit here for balancing things out well. There’s a little more power, improvements to the interior, and some new exterior lights and wheels to round out the whole thing. Alone, they would all be insignificant, but together they make the CX-3 that much better. To that end, this also isn’t an update that requires you to trade in your old CX-3 for a new one unless that center console or the seats in the pre-2019 model really bother you. If that’s the case, then by all means. Otherwise, these updates don’t render the previous models years obsolete by any means. In the end, Mazda did a great job.

  • Leave it
    • Same infotainment system


2016 - 2017 Mazda CX-3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 578369

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda CX-3.

- image 741756

Read more Mazda news.

- image 769406

Read more New York Auto Show news.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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