Mazda in Marfa

With its ‘Soul Red Crystal Metallic’ exterior, the Mazda CX-3 stood out amidst the cactus and desert sands of Marfa, TX.  The CX-3 was ready for any adventure we threw its way. 

On both the exterior and interior, the designers of the CX-3 kept it simple. This crossover has clean and graceful lines that make a striking statement. Mazda’s executive officer and general manager of the design division, Ikuo Maeda is known for creating cars that embody the dynamic beauty of life. The 2019 CX-3 fits the part, its subtleness generates a quiet elegance, even in the dismal lonely desert.

The refreshed Mazda receives an updated front grille, new taillights and redesigned front seats. An oasis of sorts.

We began our journey hauling two carry-ons and a few camping supplies, and since it was just a mother-daughter trip, we had room to spare. Sigh, just the two of us…..we could have easily folded the rear seats down and tripled our cargo space…..can you say “Home Sweet Mazda?” We could have gone glamping in the back of the CX-3.

As hushed as the Texas tumbleweeds that dance down the highway, we were impressed with the quiet ride as we drove through the West. The comfort of leather seats and a peace of mind that comes from the standard safety features were an added bonus. The CX-3 comes standard with an electronic parking brake, Direct Tire Pressure Monitoring System, push-button start, blind spot system with rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview camera. In addition, the Grand Touring AWD model that we drove came with adaptive headlights, (more on those in a moment), a full color heads-up display, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.


Our first stop was Abilene, dubbed ‘The Storybook Capital of America,’ where you can hop in a small canoe and let Stuart Little row you down a gravel path, only to have your daughter point out the obvious, a sign saying “Stay on Path, Do NOT climb the metal structures.” #partypooper. It was then “we” decided I’d better stay on course in our trusty Mazda CX-3.


The next morning we found ourselves at the Monahans Sandhills State Park where we were able to get out and stretch our legs and maybe slide down a sandhill or two.

On the last stretch to Marfa, we made sure our phones had a full charge since we would be camping, the CX-3 has two USB ports, suiting the two of us perfectly.

As mentioned, we were driving the Grand Touring trim with 18-inch alloy wheels and a 7-inch Mazda Connect display, hands-free keyless entry, heated mirrors, automatic climate control, LED foglights, navigation, power moonroof and much appreciated adaptive LED headlights. I cannot remember the last time I wasn’t surrounded by city lights, but the Marfa desert can be unquestionably dark. Ever heard of the mysterious Marfa lights? We had, and so we aimed the CX-3 to the nearest viewing site when darkness approached. Just getting to the viewing area I was super thankful for those LED headlights as I used the remote key fob to lock/unlock the vehicle, giving us enough light to make sure we weren’t treading on any critters getting in and out of the car.

The 2019 CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter engine that delivers 148 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. We were happy the CX-3 was able to keep a steady pace in the obscure dimness of those barren backroads.

The CX-3 is as engaging on the desolate roads of Marfa as it was back in the ‘Storybook Capital’ of Abilene. The AWD adds a little extra weight to the vehicle causing the fuel economy to drop slightly. We received 27 mpg/city, 32 mpg/hwy for a combined 29 mpg. The AWD is available on all models of the CX-3. I felt the vehicle was already efficient and stable so the AWD is not a necessity, not in Texas anyway. (Save yourself $1400).

Mazda’s CX-3 mixes curves, creases and cuts that give off a sort of rugged appearance outwardly while the inside cabin is rich and capturing.

Something else to enjoy in the cabin of the CX-3, the Bose Sound System. It will help drown out the sound of Marfa’s train that famously blows its whistle every single day and every single night, several times. With seven speakers, you can enjoy your playlist with the surround sound experience.  Notice I said ‘playlist,’ as you won’t likely be picking up any radio stations (there are three within “distant listening range” from nearby towns. Good luck).

In a mysterious town that is built on self discovery, it was nice to be driving the CX-3, having the satisfaction that we were in a solid ride for the duration of our journey.

Pricing for the Grand Touring trim is approximately $27k. Premium paint colors such as the Soul Red Crystal we drove runs an additional $595. Machine Gray Metallic is $300, while Snowflake and White Pearl Mica are $200.


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