July 1, 2017
The market for small SUVs was hardly even a drop in the bucket 10 years ago, but has quickly evolved into becoming one of the trendiest body styles of the modern era. When you take a moment to consider everything offered by the 2018 Honda HR-V and the 2018 Mazda CX-3, you will clearly see why.
Both vehicles continue their evolution of style, performance, and functionality with upgrades in all three areas for 2018. After comparing the two models extensively we can conclude the following: the CX-3 is certainly the sportier option of the two. However – the HR-V is roomier, more comfortable, and therefore better for families. Consequently, because it is more likely that families are driving these vehicles as opposed to non-families, we give the overall edge the Honda HR-V for better fulfilling the needs of its drivers.
The data doesn’t lie. The CX-3 offers a punchier get-up-and-go with its 146-horespower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine compared to the HR-V with only 141-horsepower and 1.8-liter engine. The different is certainly small, and perhaps negligible for most drivers, but even a slight edge still counts as an edge.
The HR-V definitively wins this category, especially for those who intend to frequently accommodate passengers. The CX-3, simply put, is a tight squeeze in the back for any average sized adult. Conversely the HR-V delivers abundant leg and head room and offers a more pleasant passenger experience. Similarly, the HR-V offers drastically more interior cargo space with 59 total cubic feet when the seats are folded compared to only 45 cubic feet for the CX-3.
In keeping with the overall theme, the CX-3 delivers a sportier result both externally and under the hood. Admittedly, these vehicles looks striking similar, and declaring a winner based of the nuances is difficult. However, the CX-3 has slightly more aggressive lines throughout its body and certainly looks more masculine in the front with its bolder grille and more shapely headlights.
Across the board the HR-V offers more utility than the CX-3, and that trend continues with is available all-wheel drive. This is obviously a tremendous advantage in slushy climates and delivers enhanced safety as a result. The CX-3, with its eyes fixated on improving handling, fails to measure up on this key offering.
Both models score highly for safety according to all of the traditional measuring sticks. However, it cannot be overstated that available all-wheel drive is actually a remarkable safety enhancement for icy climates. For that reason, and with all other things being mostly equal, we give the edge to the HR-V.
A clear winner emerges on fuel rating, with a combined city/highway fuel rating of 31mpg for the CX-3 and 28mpg for the HR-V. However, potential savings here are wiped out by the more expensive MSRP for the CX-3, which expects to retail for nearly $1,000 more.
According to the official tally, the 2018 CX-3 versus the 2018 HR-V is a draw. However, to break the tie one must consider things practically. While certainly the CX-3 is a sportier car, that isn’t the driving force behind buyers entering into the small SUV market. Buyers in this space desire overall vehicle utility, roominess, comfort, and safety for their passengers. For that reason, we declare the HR-V the winner.
*Any MPG listed is based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only) and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.
** Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New Car Assessment Program. Model tested with standard side airbags (SABs). For additional information on the 5-Star Safety Ratings program, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.