Seeking to bolster the competitive appeal of its CX-3 crossover SUV, Mazda has given the 2018 version of its subcompact hauler a selection of functional upgrades that will enhance the driving experience across the entire Sport/Touring/Grand Touring lineup.

Safer and more sophisticated

Highlighting the changes for the 2018 CX-3 is the inclusion of Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support. Introduced on the Mazda3 and CX-5, this driver assist can automatically apply the brakes to help avoid collisions at speeds below 19 mph.  Also joining the expanded roster of standards is the automaker’s G-Vectoring Control system that interfaces throttle and steering inputs to subtly vary engine torque in corners thereby producing a more linear and confident feel. Mazda complemented those enhancements with a focused revamping of the CX-3’s suspension to further elevate its already high level of dynamic competence while also improving ride quality. Key chassis changes include new front control arms, recalibrated shock absorber valving and revised suspension bushings as well as new engine mounts.

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Whether front-drive or fitted with the optional i-Active AWD system, all 2018 CX-3 models share the existing 146-horsepower/2.0-liter SkyActiv-G 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Here too, Mazda did a bit of fine tuning, tweaking throttle and shift mapping to deliver even greater responsiveness. Rounding out the list of improvements, all CX-3s will be a bit quieter inside thanks to redesigned door seals, thicker rear glass and upgraded sound attenuation mats on the floor and behind the dash.

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Pricing for the 2018 Mazda CX-3 Sport opens at $21,050 while the Touring starts at $23,135 and can be upfitted with a $1,410 Preferred Equipment Package that adds a 7-speaker Bose Premium audio system, power glass moonroof, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio with a 4-month subscription and a cargo cover. The leather-lined CX-3 Grand Touring kicks off at $26,105 and offers its own GT Premium Package that includes Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support for highway speeds, Lane-Departure Warning, High Beam Control and new-for-2018 features that add a 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support and  2-position memory, a heated steering wheel and Traffic Sign Recognition. Opting for i-Active all-wheel drive will bump each of those figures by $1,250.

More Subcompact SUVs and Crossovers:

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