With more and more compact SUVs landing in the market every year, the competition is becoming increasingly fierce. If you're shopping in this segment, this is how two of the best-the 2018 Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3-shape up against each other.
Styling: 2018 Mazda CX-3
Small SUVs are more about style than substance as they're not really all that much more practical and spacious than a similar-sized sedan or hatchback. How they look really matters, and the Mazda CX-3 comes into the ring swinging in this area. If there's a more attractive crossover than the CX-3, we haven't found it, and that includes models costing considerably more than the Mazda.
If styling is the Mazda's strongest suite, it could be the Achilles heel of the Honda. For some, it doesn't actually look all that much like an SUV at all, and could easily be mistaken for a tall hatchback. It's not ugly by any means, but it definitely falls short of wow factor, especially in this company.
Interiors: 2018 Honda HR-V
If style is the Mazda's strong point on the exterior, it's style over substance with its interior. It all looks very nice and it would be easy to be swayed at first glance, but the gloss would soon wear off when it comes to using the CX-3 as a daily driver for family duties. Skipping space and versatility for style is an identity, but not one to win over the mass market.
Try and find a reasonable way to criticize the interior of the HR-V. Go on, we challenge you. This may be one of the smallest models in its class, but what Honda has managed here by making the absolute most of the available space is nothing short of remarkable. The quality of materials is excellent for the money. Honda's Magic Seat is a college course in practical design, and the Mazda simply cannot compete here.
Fuel Economy: Tie
There is a microscopic advantage in favor of the Mazda in the area of fuel economy, but it's so small it's hardly worth the mention. Both of these small crossovers are great on gas with best figures of 34 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg combined. The Mazda is rated at 29 mpg in the city to the 28 mpg of the Honda, but as these numbers are not real life, it's too close to call this anything other than a draw.*
Cargo Capacity: 2018 Honda HR-V
Just like with passenger space, the Honda is way out in front of the CX-3 when it comes to cargo carrying capability. The cargo volume with all the seats folded in the Honda is an impressive 58.8 cu.-ft., which compares to just 44.5 cu.-ft. in the Mazda for another win for the HR-V.
If you're looking for the one of the best-looking compact crossovers on the market today, the Mazda CX-3 is the obvious choice. But our choice in this head-to-head matchup is the less expensive but chock-full-of-value 2018 Honda HR-V.
*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 http://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.safercar.gov.