The Mazda 3 is a sleek and sporty compact car. It has the speed, agility, and style to zip along the road and look great doing it, but does it have the power to tow a trailer? We've investigated this question, and here's what you need to know:
The Mazda 3 is not rated for towing in the US or other North American countries. It is rated for towing in several countries outside the US, but ratings for weight and gradient vary between countries.
In this article, we'll look at towing gear for the Mazda 3 and more on its limits outside the US. We'll also take a look at other vehicles in Mazda's lineup that can tow and what kind of haul they can handle. Keep reading to get the full story.
Does the Mazda 3 have a tow hitch?
While Mazda does not produce a hitch for the Mazda 3, you can find some from third-party manufacturers.
Curt, another solid brand in towing equipment, also makes a 1-1/4-inch hitch receiver for the Mazda 3, shown below.
The maximum tongue weight for these hitch receivers is 200 lbs. While you should not use the Mazda 3 to tow in the US, you can use these hitches for bike racks or cargo racks. The rack below from MaxxHaul can hold two bikes and 100 lbs.
These hitch receivers are weight-rated for 2,000 lbs. towing. If you are driving outside the US, you can use these receivers to tow. Be sure to follow the weight and gradient ratings for your specific location.
What's the towing capacity of a Mazda 3?
The towing capacity for the Mazda 3 varies by where you are driving it. In the US, the Mazda 3 is not rated for towing at all, so towing with it should be avoided.
For those driving outside the US, the towing capacity will vary depending on your location as well as the engine, transmission, and the presence or absence of trailer brakes. Many places only rate towing capacities up to a specific gradient as well.
Let's look at an example. In Europe, the 2022 Mazda 3 is rated for towing on gradients up to 12%. Depending on the configuration of your specific vehicle, your maximum towing capacity will range between 600 and 1,500 kg (1,322.7 to 3,306.9 lbs.).
Be sure to consult with the owner's manual for your specific location, configuration, and model year. Towing above your towing capacity can be dangerous, strain your vehicle, and increase your liability in the event of an accident.
What kind of car is a Mazda 3?
The Mazda 3 is a compact car. Its small design allows it great driving dynamics and fast-paced acceleration.
The Mazda 3 handles like a sports car, and some insurance companies consider it as such. This can have an impact on your insurance rate, as sports cars have higher coverage costs. Check with your insurer to see how they classify the Mazda 3.
The Mazda 3 is also available in two body styles: hatchback or sedan (known as "saloon" outside of North America). While both are still compact cars, the hatchback offers a little more room for rearseat passengers and cargo.
What happens if you tow more than capacity?
Towing over your towing capacity or towing at all with a vehicle that is not designed for it can be dangerous. Your ability to accelerate, stop, and turn will all be affected, especially when you need to do so quickly. This puts you and others in a dangerous situation.
It can also increase your liability in the event of an accident. Even if you obey all other laws, towing excessive weights or towing with an inappropriate vehicle can put you at fault in an accident.
Towing above capacity also puts extra strain on your vehicle, and this isn't limited to just the physical strain on the chassis from the weight. Vehicles designed for towing heavy loads often have engine and transmission coolers to keep them running smoothly when towing large weights over long distances.
Towing over your limit can strain your engine, transmission, and other mechanical components. This can lead to decreased longevity, greater costs of maintenance, and even early mechanical failure of some parts.
You can learn more about this topic in this article: Towing Capacity and Trailer Weight - What RV Owners Need to Know
What Mazda can tow a trailer?
For US drivers who want to tow with a Mazda, there are still options available. Both of Mazda's crossover SUVs, the CX-5 and the CX-9, are able to tow a trailer.
Mazda's other vehicles, including the MX-5, MX-30, and the Mazda 6 cannot be used for towing trailers in the US.
Let's look in more detail at the CX-5 and CX-9 and what you can expect from towing with them.
The Mazda CX-5
The smaller of Mazda's crossover SUVs, the 2022 CX-5 has a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs., which is comparable to other vehicles its size.
Of course, to tow with your CX-5, you'll need a hitch. Draw-Tite produces a Class II, 2-inch hitch receiver for the CX-5. Be sure to check for compatibility with your specific model year and configuration.
What can the CX-5 Tow?
While the maximum towing capacity is 2,000 lbs., it's often considered best practice to do most of your towing at 80% of your capacity, or 1,600 lbs. If you're used to towing with a heavy-duty pickup, this might not sound like a lot, but you might be surprised.
If you like having fun on the water, you can easily tow most personal watercraft this way. For example, the Sea-Doo Spark weighs just 423 lbs. and can fit on this 250-lb. trailer. The combined weight of 673 lbs. is well within your limit.
While you might not be able to haul a massive Winnebago, there are some lightweight campers that fall within the CX-5's towing capacity.
The Happier Camper HC1 starts at 1,100 lbs. and has a customizable, modular design so you can choose the extra features you want. You can see it in action in the video below:
The Mazda CX-9
The CX-9 is a bit larger than the CX-5 and features more towing power too. With a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs., it is Mazda's heaviest hauler.
As always, you'll need a proper hitch receiver before you start towing. This Class III, 2-inch receiver from Curt is compatible with select Mazda CX-9s.
What can the CX-9 tow?
As with the CX-5, we'll want to use just 80% of the CX-9's maximum towing capacity. This leaves us with 2,800 lbs. we can comfortably tow without worry.
Of course, the CX-9 can tow everything the CX-5 could, but the extra 1,200 lbs. will open more possibilities as well.
While you could stick with the jet ski setup for your waterside outings, you could go for something a little more luxurious with a modest-sized pontoon.
If you're in the market for a camper, there will be more options open to you here as well. Take the Safari Condo Alto F2114. This camper only weighs 2,368 lbs., but it can sleep four and includes a kitchen, dinette, and even a bathroom.
You can get a tour of this lightweight, full-amenity camper in the video below from the Can-Am RV Center:
Before setting out on the road with your camper, be sure to check out this article for great advice to help you tow your trailer smoothly and safely: 15 Travel Trailer Towing Tips Every Driver Should Know
For US-based drivers, towing with the Mazda 3 will have to remain a daydream. However, now you know more about the rules around towing with your Mazda 3 and which alternatives you can choose for towing from Mazda's lineup.
We've also seen some great options for campers and watercraft you can tow while staying under the tow limit for the CX-5 and CX-9. Whether you decide to go with a Mazda for towing or cruising, you'll be ready to make the best decision for yourself.
Safe driving and happy hauling!