Mazda has expanded its SUV offerings since the days when the compact CX-7 and the midsize CX-9 were the beginning and end of its repertoire. The CX-9 is still on the market, but Mazda now offers the compact CX-5 and subcompact CX-3. We were thoroughly impressed with the 2014 CX-5 we test-drove in 2013. As for the CX-3, its small cargo area and lack of refinement compared with the Mazda3, on which it's based, blunted our reaction to its taut handling and exceptional fuel economy.
When we last test-drove a Mazda3 in 2014, we described it as “a medium-priced compact sedan that aspires to near-luxury performance status, and mostly meets the standard.” Close your eyes while in the passenger seat of a Mazda3 on a winding road, and you'll be able to imagine yourself riding in an entry-level European sport sedan.