The touch screen is generally responsive to your inputs. To control the system once the car is moving, you have to use a control knob located on the center console. Less anemic and only slightly less fuel efficient is Mazda’s 2.5-liter SKYACTIV engine and 6-speed automatic transmission found in the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. A 10Best Cars and comparison-test winner, the Mazda 6 is our pick of the current mid-size sedan litter. It’s a solidly built, well-executed, and fun-to-drive vehicle that delivers a level of satisfaction well beyond what’s expected in a family sedan. The company points proudly at its penetration into grassroots racing in the US, claiming that more Mazda vehicles are competing on racetracks every week than any other brand.
The suspension is firm and communicative, but also compliant over all but the most severe potholes. The Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester get perfect crash test ratings from the IIHS, and they were each named a 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Both vehicles earn a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, with four out of five stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests. Compared with the Mazda2 on which it is based, the CX-3 trades some sharpness for compliance, but most will prefer the more premium experience. It can still be hurried along a winding road without losing its cool, and there’s more weight to the steering than you’d expect for this segment. You can trust that our reviews are impartial because we don’t accept expensive gifts, trips, or incentives from car companies, and all ads on our site are sold through a third party. Most surfaces in the CX-5 are soft to the touch.
These scores are largely due its terrific handling. Front parking sensors remain a $599 (fitted) optional extra on all CX-3s. Only the top-spec Akari comes with leather trim, which is offset nicely with Alcantara inserts. Obviously, I’ve already put my money where my mouth is with my Mazda purchases. The graphics on the seven-inch infotainment screen are crisp and easy to read, and the menu structure is logically organized—an increasingly rare state of affairs.