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Matt Campbell
Reviewed & driven by
CarsGuide

29 Oct 2019

This is a huge segment, with more than 20 different SUVs to choose from, including models like the three we have here – the Hyundai Venue Active, Suzuki Vitara and Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport. These ones aim to offer that SUV stance at a budget price and in a city-friendly size.

We’ve assembled these three pint-sized SUVs based on their comparative dimensions and the dollars being asked for them. We’ve assembled these three pint-sized SUVs based on their comparative dimensions and the dollars being asked for them.

We’ve assembled these three pint-sized SUVs based on their comparative dimensions and the dollars being asked for them. But they have some other common elements: all three are petrol powered, automatic, and front wheel drive - we’re not talking off-roaders here, as these are aimed at buyers who spend a lot of time around town.

Now, let’s check out our contenders in a bit more detail, and see how they compare against one another. This will be a close test.

Value

We aimed to get these three models as close to one another on cost as we could – sadly, we couldn’t get the exact equivalent CX-3 to match the others on list price (it would be the Neo Sport, not the Maxx Sport), but here’s how they compare on price as tested.

The Hyundai Venue Active is the most affordable of this mix, priced at $23,490 plus on-road costs. The Hyundai Venue Active is the most affordable of this mix, priced at $23,490 plus on-road costs.

The Hyundai Venue Active is the most affordable of this mix, priced at $23,490 plus on-road costs with the automatic transmission as specified here. That’s really affordable, but indicative drive-away pricing is $27,240 in Sydney. Premium paint will add a bit to that price.

The Suzuki Vitara costs $24,490 plus on-road costs. The Suzuki Vitara costs $24,490 plus on-road costs.

Next up the pricing tree is the Suzuki Vitara 2WD, which doesn’t have a variant name like the others here. It costs $24,490 plus on-road costs, though drive-away pricing is set at just $24,990 for this automatic version – yeah, that’s a bargain. Metallic paint is extra.

The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport has a list price of $26,650 plus on-road costs. The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport has a list price of $26,650 plus on-road costs.

And most expensive, as mentioned, is the Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport, which has a list price of $26,650 plus on-road costs for the petrol automatic 2WD model. Drive-away pricing is pegged at $28,540 for this spec, but only two of the colours cost extra. A Neo Sport would have been closer on list price ($24,710), but we think you might be able to find some wiggle room at the dealership on these suggested prices.

Now, let’s take a look at the standard equipment on offer in these three models.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Wheels

15-inch alloy

17-inch alloy

16-inch alloy

Spare wheel

Space saver

Space saver

Space saver

Tyre pressure monitoring

No

No

No

Headlights

Projector halogen

Projector halogen

Projector halogen

Daytime running lights

LED

LED

Halogen

Auto headlights

Yes

No

Yes

Auto high-beam

Yes

No

No

Auto wipers

No

No

Yes

Electric folding side mirrors

Yes

No

Yes

Heated side mirrors

Yes

No

No

Seat trim

Cloth

Cloth

Cloth

Steering wheel trim

Leather

Leather

Leather

Front seat adjustment

Manual

Manual

Manual

Air conditioning

Manual

Single-zone climate control

Single-zone climate control

Digital speedometer

Yes

No

No

Keyless entry

No

Yes

Yes

Push-button start

No

Yes

Yes

Keep those prices and specs in mind, plus the media screens and connectivity on offer in each of these models… and then there’s the safety equipment fitted, which also factors into value for money. But this is pretty close between these three, especially if you keep drive-away prices in mind.

Hyundai Venue Active8
Suzuki Vitara8
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport8

Design

Design is about more than just which is the most attractive – it’s about utilizing the space available to you, fitting the expectations of consumers, and doing it with a bit of flair just helps.

The Suzuki Vitara is the most convincingly styled and best designed of these three models from that perspective, because it has the SUV styling you’d expect. It looks strong, muscular, more substantial than it is – yet it packages it all into a compact size. The recent facelift to this model has helped it look modern, with the LED daytime running lights and revised rear-end design (including those Transformer like blanked tail-lights and central lower reversing light in the bumper) combining to keep it looking smart, and appearing more expensive than it is.

  • The Suzuki Vitara is the most convincingly styled. The Suzuki Vitara is the most convincingly styled.
  •  It looks strong, muscular and more substantial than it is. It looks strong, muscular and more substantial than it is.
  • It looks smart, and more expensive than it is. It looks smart, and more expensive than it is.

The same can’t be said for the Hyundai Venue Active, which has some of the teeniest, weeniest widdle alloy wheels we’ve seen in a while. They’re actually not that small, at 15-inches, but they look tiny on this spec of Venue, and don’t work well with the boxy design of the car at all. The Venue is a real little tough guy in terms of its lines – boxy, aggressive, but also with some elements that are at odds with that, like the cascading grille. I actually think it looks like a little kid drew it – which is partly endearing, I guess?

  • The Venue has a very boxy design. The Venue has a very boxy design.
  • The Hyundai Venue Active has some of the teeniest alloy wheels. The Hyundai Venue Active has some of the teeniest alloy wheels.
  • The Venue is a real little tough guy in terms of its lines. The Venue is a real little tough guy in terms of its lines.

The sleek one of the bunch is the Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport. If ever there was a model that were fit for the term “crossover”, it this one, because it isn’t a traditional boxy bodied SUV like the others here, and that could be something you either like, or you don’t. It’s the longest of these three models, and looks it, too. But is it really just a hatchback masquerading as an SUV? You can make up your own mind.

  •  It isn’t a traditional boxy bodied SUV like the others. It isn’t a traditional boxy bodied SUV like the others.
  • The sleek one of the bunch is the Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport. The sleek one of the bunch is the Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport.
  • Is it really just a hatchback masquerading as an SUV? Is it really just a hatchback masquerading as an SUV?

But for what it’s worth, our two 20-something female testers, who are essentially the target market for these models, had their own thoughts. Georgia said: “The Suzuki is cute, the Mazda is hot, and the Hyundai is neither”. Lily reckoned: “The Mazda looks the most expensive, and while the Mazda and Suzuki are both cute, they are different in their approach, while the Venue looks like a bad version of the Suzuki”.

We’ve got more detail on the interiors of these cars in the next section, and the interior images should be helpful for you to figure out how they stand.

Hyundai Venue Active7
Suzuki Vitara8
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport7

Practicality

The Hyundai Venue deserves an award for practicality.

It manages to package so much space into such a small footprint – it’s almost Skoda-like in its efficiency. It’s the shortest of these three models, yet has the second-longest wheelbase, is the second widest, second tallest and has the second biggest boot. But the length is its biggest – or, smallest – attribute, because its nose-to-tail measurement means you’re going to be able to fit into a lot more of those tight parking spaces you might otherwise avoid attempting.

Here’s a look at the sizes of these three SUVs, and also the boot capacity figures for them.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Length

4040mm

4175mm

4275mm

Wheelbase

2520mm

2500mm

2570mm

Width

1770mm

1775mm

1765mm

Height

1592mm

1610mm

1535mm

Boot capacity (litres)

355L (VDA)

375L (VDA)

264L (VDA)

It’s a very close competition between the Venue and Vitara, while the CX-3 is really poorly packaged in comparison. It’s the longest, narrowest, lowest and has the smallest boot of these three by a sizeable margin. As you can see, we struggled to fit the CarsGuide pram in the back. It did fit, but with minimal room for other items, while the other two had additional space available. It was the same story with the luggage – check out the gallery to see what we mean.

  • The Suzuki has 375L (VDA) of boot space. The Suzuki has 375L (VDA) of boot space.
  • The Suzuki has 375L (VDA) of boot space. The Suzuki has 375L (VDA) of boot space.
  • The Suzuki has 375L (VDA) of boot space. The Suzuki has 375L (VDA) of boot space.
  • You'll get 355L (VDA) in the Hyundai. You'll get 355L (VDA) in the Hyundai.
  • You'll get 355L (VDA) in the Hyundai. You'll get 355L (VDA) in the Hyundai.
  • You'll get 355L (VDA) in the Hyundai. You'll get 355L (VDA) in the Hyundai.
  • Boot capacity in the Mazda is 264L (VDA). Boot capacity in the Mazda is 264L (VDA).
  • Boot capacity in the Mazda is 264L (VDA). Boot capacity in the Mazda is 264L (VDA).
  • Boot capacity in the Mazda is 264L (VDA). Boot capacity in the Mazda is 264L (VDA).

It is worth noting, however, that all three of these models have load floors that you can lower to increase the space available, and that’s because all three have space saver spare wheels rather than a full-size spare.

Now, you mightn’t plan to use the back seat of your car that much – we get it. Compact SUVs are often bought by singles, young couples, or older empty nesters, and the accommodation in the back seats often doesn’t factor into purchasing decisions for a lot of these customers. But what if you live an urban life and have youngsters? Kids, dogs, friends – the back seat is an important consideration for some buyers, so here’s how they stack up.

The CX-3 is the worst for back seat occupants. It was the least comfortable due to its cramped headroom, kneeroom and space across the cabin, plus its raked window-line means those prone to motion sickness might find it challenging. I can’t wait to see the space management advantages that the new Mazda CX-30 offers over the CX-3, because it promises a considerably more thoughtful cabin for those who need the space.

The Venue is second for back seat space. It offers exceptional headroom due to its boxy shape, and the width across the back row is pretty good, too, though the kneeroom could be better – it’s a little better than the CX-3, but it has hard seat backs (plastic covered to stop kids from damaging the fabric on the backs of the front seats) and if you’re tall, your knees may be wedged into that plastic. Also, there’s hard plastic on all the elbow rest points in the cabin of the Venue, which makes it feel a little cheap.

The best for back seat space is the Vitara, which offers excellent room for this size of car. There’s more than adequate head room, knee room (an extra 2-3cm with the seat set in the same position – my driver’s spot, and I’m 182cm tall) and nice width the cabin, too. The seat is a bit flat, but that helps it feel open, and the large windows in the back are great if you have kids who appreciate being able to see out.

  • The best for back seat space is the Vitara, which offers excellent room for this size of car. The best for back seat space is the Vitara, which offers excellent room for this size of car.
  • The CX-3 is the worst for back seat occupants. The CX-3 is the worst for back seat occupants.
  • The Venue offers exceptional headroom. The Venue offers exceptional headroom.

As for other practicality elements, the Mazda has an advantage: it’s the only one of these three SUVs with a fold-down centre armrest and cup holders (the others miss out), and it has two map pockets (the others have one each).

Now, what about front seat accommodation?

The pick for our team was the Venue, which felt the most like you’d expect a small SUV to. It has practicality at its forefront, with a neat little storage shelf in front of the passenger, a tidy centre console with cup holders and loose item storage in front of the shifter, and the nicest looking media screen of this bunch.

The Mazda CX-3 looks premium, with a stylish design that is definitely more car-like than SUV-inspired. There are lots of curves and lines, and the dashtop media screen looks a little old (it misses out on smartphone mirroring, is laggy and slow to load, and took the longest to pair to a phone) but it’s the only one with a rotary dial controller (because the touchscreen becomes inactive at speed). Its storage is good, but the cup holders are a bit flimsy.

The Vitara’s cabin looks fine, but it’s nothing special. There are some nice materials used, and the touchscreen is bright and colourful, if a little cheap looking and fidgety (we had some issues with the Bluetooth connectivity in this car). The storage in here is good, with usable space between the front seats and a nice two-tier shelf in front of the shifter.

  • The Mazda CX-3 looks premium, with a stylish design.
The Mazda CX-3 looks premium, with a stylish design.
  • The Vitara’s cabin looks fine, but it’s nothing special. The Vitara’s cabin looks fine, but it’s nothing special.
  • The Venue has practicality at its forefront. The Venue has practicality at its forefront.

Now here’s a detailed rundown on the media systems in these cars.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Sound system (standard equipment)

6 speakers

4 speakers

6 speakers

USB count

1 front

1 front

2 front

Bluetooth phone and audio streaming

Yes

Yes

Yes

DAB radio

No

No

Yes

Touch screen size

8.0-inch

7.0-inch

7.0-inch

Apple CarPlay

Yes

Yes

No

Android Auto

Yes

Yes

No

Sat nav

No

Yes

Yes

Wireless phone charging (Qi)

No

No

No

Our judges all felt the Venue’s screen was the quickest and easiest to use. And if tech matters to you, that could be enough to push the Venue ahead here. But all told, it was the Vitara’s cabin space and flexibility that made it our pick in this section of the test.

Hyundai Venue Active8
Suzuki Vitara9
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport7

Engine and transmission

All three of these models are petrol powered, and all three are fitted with an automatic transmission funneling power to the front wheels. We’ve gone for the auto versions, but each of these models can be had with a manual gearbox if you prefer.

  • The Venue's 1.6-litre four-cylinder produces 151Nm of torque at 4850rpm. The Venue's 1.6-litre four-cylinder produces 151Nm of torque at 4850rpm.
  • The Vitara's 1.6-litre four-cylinder produces 156Nm of torque at at 4400rpm. The Vitara's 1.6-litre four-cylinder produces 156Nm of torque at at 4400rpm.
  • The CX-3's 2.0-litre four-cylinder produces 195Nm of torque at at 2800rpm. The CX-3's 2.0-litre four-cylinder produces 195Nm of torque at at 2800rpm.

The Hyundai is the only one of this mix that isn’t able to be bought with all-wheel drive (AWD), but for both the Suzuki and Mazda you will need to spend substantially more to get it. The only available AWD Vitara model is $33,990 plus on-road costs, while the most affordable AWD Mazda CX-3 is $28,650 plus on-roads.

The Hyundai and Suzuki both have smaller 1.6-litre engines with similar power and torque, while the Mazda has a bigger, stronger 2.0-litre engine under its bonnet – however, keep in mind that it’s quite a bit heavier, so the power to weight ratio isn’t as good as the outputs may have you believe.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Engine

1.6-litre four-cylinder

1.6-litre four-cylinder

2.0-litre four-cylinder

Power

90kW at 6300rpm

86kW at 6000rpm

110kW at 6000rpm

Torque

151Nm at 4850rpm

156Nm at 4400rpm

195Nm at 2800rpm

Transmission

Six-speed automatic

Six-speed automatic

Six-speed automatic

Kerb weight

1165kg

1180kg

1297kg

Towing capacity - unbraked trailer

500kg

400kg

640kg

Towing capacity - braked trailer

800kg

1200kg

1200kg

Even with the extra weight, the higher grunt numbers and greater engine capacity – plus the better towing capability resulting from that – helps the Mazda top this part of the test.

Hyundai Venue Active7
Suzuki Vitara7
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport8

Fuel consumption

Our aim was to replicate what an average owner might see when they’re driving their car over a seven-day week: urban driving, running around, and a couple of long stints of highway driving. The figures you see below reflect that.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Combined cycle fuel consumption

7.2L/100km

6.0L/100km

6.3L/100km

Displayed fuel consumption on test

7.2L/100km

7.2L/100km

8.1L/100km

Actual fuel use on test, at the pump

6.4L/100km

6.8L/100km

7.2L/100km

Percentage different to claim

14 per cent under

13 per cent over

 14 per cent over

Fuel tank size

45 litres

47 litres

48 litres

If you spend a lot of time negotiating traffic and dealing with lower speed driving, you can expect to see higher fuel use than we did. Our test loop had a couple of lengthy highway stints – which might replicate your commute, or it might not.

The fact that there’s still less than a litre between these three is enough for us to call this part of the test a draw.

Hyundai Venue Active8
Suzuki Vitara8
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport8

Driving

The majority of this test focused around urban driving and testing how each of these three models would fit into your lifestyle if you owned them. But we didn’t ignore the distance drivers, those commuters who cover thousands of kilometres on their way to work and back – so we did a return stint to Sydney’s western suburbs. We’ll run through them individually.

The majority of this test focused around urban driving, but we also did a return stint to Sydney’s western suburbs. The majority of this test focused around urban driving, but we also did a return stint to Sydney’s western suburbs.

The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport felt the zestiest of these three, with its larger capacity and more powerful engine offering up a bit more sting to its acceleration. Its transmission is smart, too – it made the most of the pulling power on offer, and there’s a ‘Sport’ mode if you think you need it.

The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport felt the zestiest of these three. The Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport felt the zestiest of these three.

But the Mazda stumbled a bit when it came to other elements of the drive experience. It felt less composed over bumpy sections of road, wasn’t as comfortable over speedhumps, and it was the only one of these three models to touch down when exiting driveways. It’s no real SUV, then – its ground clearance is 160mm, compared to the Venue’s 170mm and the Vitara’s 185mm.

  • When it came to parking, the Mazda was fine. When it came to parking, the Mazda was fine.
  • The Mazda is 4275mm long, 1765mm wide and 1535mm tall. The Mazda is 4275mm long, 1765mm wide and 1535mm tall.

When it came to parking, the Mazda was fine – its steering can be inconsistent in its weighting, though it steers well generally. Our big annoyance with the CX-3 when pulling out of parking spots or just generally in driving around town was its driver’s side mirror, which isn’t convex, and can make visibility from the driver’s seat even worse (it’s not great to begin with).

The Suzuki Vitara was more composed over larger bumps than the Mazda, though it does tend to pick up smaller ripples in the road. Not to the point of annoyance, and never does it feel uncomfortable.

The Suzuki Vitara was more composed over larger bumps than the Mazda. The Suzuki Vitara was more composed over larger bumps than the Mazda.

The SUV-like driving position – up high, with a great view of the road and your surroundings thanks to the Vitara’s large glasshouse – meant it was easy to see out of, and therefore easy to park. The lack of parking sensors on this spec (not to mention the other safety shortfalls… ahem) meant the camera was vital for reverse-parallels, which it managed quite well. We did note that the steering could feel a little bit gluggy when changing from lock to lock during parking moves, but it was mostly light and manageable. One annoyance with it when parking was the fact the shifter doesn’t stop at ‘D’ – instead, it goes to ‘M’ for manual mode, and during three-point turns or reverse-parallel parks, it was too easy to mistakenly choose M instead of D.

  • The SUV-like driving position meant it was easy to see out of, and therefore easy to park. The SUV-like driving position meant it was easy to see out of, and therefore easy to park.
  • The Vitara is 4175mm long, 1775mm wide and 1610mm tall. The Vitara is 4175mm long, 1775mm wide and 1610mm tall.

Its engine isn’t strong, but its transmission tends to hang on to gears to try and keep it in its prime powerband. This wouldn’t be such an issue if it were a bit quieter, but it gets really raucous if you’re climbing hills or accelerating from standstill a lot. In everyday cruising, it’s adequate, and the insulation in the cabin from road noise and wind noise is actually quite good.

The Hyundai Venue Active felt the most resolved and mature of these three, which is a surprise given it’s the smallest here. It felt the smallest, particularly when parking, with excellent visibility and a really tight turning circle (10.2 metres, as opposed to 10.4m for Vitara and 10.6m for CX-3). That meant on some occasions the Venue only required a U-turn where the others needed a three-point turn. The steering can weight up when you’re parking – feeling heavy when you’d want it to be lighter – but because it’s so small and manoeuvrable, it’s not that big a deal.

The Hyundai Venue Active felt the most resolved and mature of these three. The Hyundai Venue Active felt the most resolved and mature of these three.

The Venue’s throttle response is eager – almost too eager at times, as it can jump from a standstill – and that tends to disguise the engine’s lack of grunt. It isn’t sluggish, but it sure doesn’t push the zing-o-meter into the red zone. But its transmission does a mostly good job, shifting smoothly and smartly for the most part (though we did note one or two occasions where it held gears for no reason).

  • The Venue felt the smallest, particularly when parking, with excellent visibility and a really tight turning circle. The Venue felt the smallest, particularly when parking, with excellent visibility and a really tight turning circle.
  • The Hyundai Venue is 4040mm long, 1770mm wide and 1592mm tall. The Hyundai Venue is 4040mm long, 1770mm wide and 1592mm tall.

The Venue’s ride is very good – nicely composed in almost all situations, and that makes for a comfortable ride for those up front and in the back. It feels settled and smooth, and that – combined with its eager-enough engine, and its zippy steering and city-friendly size – make it our winner for this part of the test.

Hyundai Venue Active9
Suzuki Vitara8
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport7

Safety

Whether you’re buying a small SUV as an urban family run-around, or maybe there’s just two of you, safety is still a vital consideration.

And there’s a gap in terms of what you get in each of these particular models. The Suzuki is scant on safety gear as a base model, but you get better tech in the higher grades – likewise, if you get the base CX-3 or Venue you miss out on a few items. We tried to line these cars up close on price, and also had to consider what was available to us.

At the time of testing, the Hyundai hasn’t been put through the ANCAP crash test procedure, while the Mazda scored the maximum five-star rating in 2015, which was the same year the Vitara scored five stars. The Mazda has seen a range-wide upgrade to its safety gear, while the Suzuki scores better tech in the top grades.

Here’s a breakdown of the safety equipment levels of these particular variants.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)

Yes

No

Yes

Rear AEB

No

No

Yes

Pedestrian detection

Yes

No

Yes

Lane departure warning

Yes

No

No

Lane keeping assist

Yes

No

 

No

Blind spot monitoring

No

No

Yes

Rear cross traffic alert

No

No

Yes

Reversing camera

Yes

Yes

Yes

Rear parking sensors

Yes

No

Yes

Front parking sensors

No

No

No

 

Airbag count

6

7

6

ANCAP score

Not yet rated

5 stars - 2015

5 stars - 2015

Auto high beam lights

Yes

No

No

As you can see, this spec of Vitara is poorly equipped by modern standards, so it scores accordingly for this part of the test. The fact it’s a circa-$5000 jump to the next model means it’s hard for budget-conscious consumers to get a good deal on safety in the Vitara ecosphere.

The Venue is well equipped, though still missing a few goodies the older CX-3 gets. But it does get auto high-beams, which is neat.  

It’s the Mazda that wins this section. Easily.

If you’re wondering: “Where is the Mazda CX-3 built?”; “Where is the Suzuki Vitara built?”; or “Where is the Hyundai Venue built?”; the answers are Thailand (CX-3), Hungary (Vitara) and South Korea (Venue).

Hyundai Venue Active7
Suzuki Vitara5
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport9

Ownership

Your ideal ownership experience might mainly come down to affordable service costs, or long service intervals, or a long warranty, or complementary roadside assist. Perhaps you just want to pre-pay your servicing costs as part of your finance payments… no matter your preference, we’ve got the info you need.

 

Hyundai Venue Active

Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport

Warranty

Five years/unlimited kilometres

Five years/unlimited kilometres

Five years/unlimited kilometres

Servicing intervals

12 months/15,000km

12 months/15,000km

12 months/10,000km

Average service cost (over five years)

$315

$313

$332.20

Pre-purchase servicing available?

Yes (three-, four- or five-year plans)

No

No

Roadside assistance included?

Yes – up to 10 years

Yes – five years

Yes – five years

The cost of servicing is competitive between these three models, but the fact you need to service the CX-3 every 10,000km could be a burden for some.

The roadside assist offer from Hyundai is very appealing - if you service your car with the brand, you get ten years of cover. Mazda gives you five years’ cover no matter where you service your CX-3, while Suzuki offers three years’ roadside assist, and five years’ cover if you service your car with the brand.

Hyundai Venue Active9
Suzuki Vitara8
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport8

Verdict

You will make your own decisions about what your needs and requirements are. You might just be sold on the appearance of one of these models, or you might be sold on the ownership promise, or the value, or the safety equipment.

it’s no surprise that the result of this test very, very close. it’s no surprise that the result of this test very, very close.

And it’s no surprise that the result of this test was very, very close.

It’s a lack of advanced safety gear that lets the Suzuki Vitara 2WD down in this test. If it had the same tech you get in the model above (or either of its rivals), it would have been our winner in this test. But we ruled it out based on its lax safety tech offering, so it comes third.

Second place goes to the Mazda CX-3, which offers exceptional safety gear for the money. But our testers found it was let down by its practicality first and foremost. That might matter to you, or not, but it remains a polished offering in the class.

Our winner in this test is the Hyundai Venue Active. It has attractive pricing and equipment levels, a decent level of safety equipment, a really well packaged and nicely presented interior, and yet it manages to fit all of that into a very compact footprint. If you want a city-friendly SUV, this is a very impressive option.

Hyundai Venue Active7.9
Suzuki Vitara7.6
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport7.8


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