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In the greater Los Angeles area, buying a mainstream vehicle with all-wheel drive can often become a question of how much the perceived "efficiency trade-off" balances out against the handful of times you might need it over the course of a year. While modern vehicles certainly have gotten better at offsetting this, they can't be found as readily in the subcompact CUV class in which the 2018 Mazda CX-3 competes.

A loss for some might be a win for you, as fate would have it: Not only does this model come with a fuel-sipping solution to driving all four wheels, but luxurious benefits and a mainstream price customers from Alhambra to Pasadena won't want to miss!

At the heart of every 2018 CX-3 is a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G inline-four engine with 146 horsepower and the same in foot-pounds of torque. Although that doesn't provide any realistic comparisons to the nimble Mazda3 we just wrote about, this engine makes the most of those ponies, and it's EPA-estimated returns of 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg highway in FWD guise will certainly grab the attention of many.

Yet what will truly wow prospective shoppers from Van Nuys, Hollywood, and beyond is that the available i-ACTIV all-wheel drive system. Like many Mazda technologies, their all-wheel drive system is based on the Japanese tradition of the "oneness between horse and rider." Developed with all-weather traction and exhilarating performance in any season firmly in mind, the i-ACTIV AWD system used 27 sensors to collect data on road, temperature, and wind multiple times a second.

The result is two-fold--and the system in practice needs to be seen to be believed. But like the similarly-named "i-ACTIVSENSE" safety suite available across the Mazda range, it's adaptive qualities can also be seen on paper: when equipped with AWD, the CX-3 posts 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway!

Available on Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring models--which can also be had with safety systems like Smart City Brake Support, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert--the smallest utility vehicle in the Mazda stable is ready to take on any road without compromise.

Wherever you drive the Mazda CX-3 however, it serves as a road-gripping reminder that "large and in charge" isn't always the rule of the road in a mainstream utility vehicle! To put its efficiency ratings to the test against other models on your short list, contact us at our Mazda dealership in Glendale, CA, and you can sign up to take one for a spin.

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