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Mazda CX-3 vs Honda HR-V

Mazda CX-3 Akari vs Honda HR-V VTi-L

Mazda's CX-3 and Honda's HR-V are little but the competition between them is big. Richard Berry starts a fight between the two popular SUVs.   

value

Mazda CX-3 Akari

$33,290

This Akari grade sits at the top of the CX-3 range and comes with the lot. This includes a 7-inch display with satnav and reversing camera, leather seats, stop/start system, proximity unlocking, climate control, heads-up display, LED DRLs and sunroof.

Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS

$32,990

The VTi-L is the star of the HR-V show and also comes fully kitted out. There’s a seven-inch display with a multiple-angle turning and reversing camera, leather seats, proximity unlocking, rain sensing wipers, paddle shifters, climate control, front and rear parking sensors and panoramic sunroof.

design

Mazda CX-3 Akari

Mazda has done a mighty good job of taking the platform from its smallest car – the Mazda 2 and crafting a great looking SUV on it. It may be small but it’s beautiful. The cabin has a high quality feel, with comfortable seats and plenty of room for those up front. Legroom in the back is acceptable and headroom is good. The boot, however, is verging on small at 264 VDA litres with all seats up and we couldn’t fit our larger pram into it.

Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS

The HR-V is also easy on the eye from the outside. Inside, is modern with a flush mounted display and colourful instrument cluster, but there’s a hard plastic dash and a lower quality feel to the door trims. Based on the Jazz, the HR-V also has its adjustable Magic Seat System. There’s plenty of legroom in the back, but headroom is tight for taller passengers. The HR-V’s boot is bigger than the CX-3’s at 437 litres, plenty of room for a larger pram.

technology

Mazda CX-3 Akari

The 109k/W192Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine in the CX-3 we tested is the same four-cylinder that’s in the MX-5 but it doesn’t feel as smooth as the one in the little roadster. That said it’s an excellent engine that’s responsive and has more than enough grunt for the CX-3. With the smooth-operating six-speed automatic fuel is used at 6.1L/100km.

Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS

The HR-V has a 105kW/172Nm 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder which Honda also uses in the Civic. Combined with the CVT automatic transmission, the engine doesn’t have the same excellent responsiveness as the Mazda. Fuel economy is higher too at 6.9L/100km, but the HR-V is also 114kg heavier.

safety

Mazda CX-3 Akari

The CX-3 scored a maximum ANCAP crash test rating of five stars and come with ABS, EBD, traction and stability control. A major strength of the Akari is the extra safety equipment it brings in the form of blind spot monitoring, auto high beam, land departure warning and rear cross traffic alert.

Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS

The HR-V has a five-star ANCAP crash test rating. There’s ABS, EBD, WEB, traction and stability control. This top-of-the-range HR-V is equipped with Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System package and that adds collision and lane departure warning, and auto highbeams.

driving

Mazda CX-3 Akari

The CX-3 is fun to drive. We’re not talking MX-5 fun, but its small size, responsive engine, great steering and excellent driving position make this a really enjoyable little SUV to get around in.

Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS

The HR-V has a comfortable ride, great steering and the turning camera helps with changing lanes, but it’s no match for the driving experience of the CX-3, the Honda just didn’t give us the same sense of connection and fun as the Mazda.

Verdict

Mazda CX-3 Akari

Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS

There’s a lot to like about both these tiny SUVs - they're great value for money, safe and have their own strong design qualities. But while the HR-V offers more cargo space, the sense of fun and connection that comes with driving the CX-3 sees it win today. 

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