2016 Mazda CX-3: Car Seat Check

16Mazda_CX-3_ES_CSC_Lead.jpg 2016 Mazda CX-3; | photo by Evan Sears

Subcompact SUVs are the hottest automotive trend: Mazda’s new entry joins the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax. Although the 2016 Mazda CX-3 has easy-to-use Latch anchors, this tiny SUV is short on legroom, so our rear-facing car seats were pinched for space. For this Car Seat Check, we tested a CX-3 in Grand Touring trim with cloth seats.

More Car Seat Checks

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

What We Like

  • The two sets of Latch anchors are easy to find in vertical slits in the seat upholstery. Three tether anchors are on the seatbacks near the cargo floor and are also easy to find and use.  
  • The forward-facing convertible went in with ease and had enough room.

What We Don’t

  • We had to move the front passenger seat all the way forward to make room for the rear-facing infant car seat. Our 5-foot-8-inch passenger did not have enough legroom and was unsafely close to the glove box and front airbag.
  • For the rear-facing convertible, we were able to move the front passenger seat back a little, but the passenger’s knees were still grazing the glove box.
  • The outboard seats have sizable side bolsters that caused our booster to sit at an angle. The seat belt buckles are buried in the seat cushions and obscured by the raised middle seat, cushion making them tough to use.

Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.  

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About’s Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-6 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

Photo of Jennifer Geiger
News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

Latest expert reviews