2018 Honda Fit vs. 2018 Mazda 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Fit and the Mazda 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Fit is safer than the Mazda 3:

 

Fit

Mazda 3

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Stress

166 lbs.

232 lbs.

Neck Compression

18 lbs.

70 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

52/54 lbs.

107/251 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

29.9%

48%

Neck Stress

191 lbs.

213 lbs.

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

78 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Fit is safer than the Mazda 3:

 

Fit

Mazda 3

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

206

245

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

217 G’s

276 G’s

Hip Force

391 lbs.

465 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

237

245

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

10 inches

14 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are over 72 percent more Honda dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fit’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fit third among small cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Mazda 3 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 20th in initial quality. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 27th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Fit gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3:

 

 

Fit

Mazda 3

 

 

1.5 4 cyl. (130 HP)/6-spd. Manual

29 city/36 hwy

27 city/37 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Manual

 

 

n/a

25 city/33 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Manual

 

1.5 4 cyl. (128 HP)/CVT

33 city/40 hwy

28 city/37 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

 

1.5 4 cyl. (128 HP)/Auto

31 city/36 hwy

26 city/35 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

Transmission

The Fit Auto has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Fit stops shorter than the Mazda 3:

 

Fit

Mazda 3

 

70 to 0 MPH

178 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Chassis

The Honda Fit may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 450 pounds less than the Mazda 3.

The Fit is 1 foot, 2.2 inches shorter than the Mazda 3 5-Door, making the Fit easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Fit EX is quieter than the Mazda 3 5-Door (69 vs. 70 dB).

Passenger Space

The Fit has .9 inches more front headroom and 3.5 inches more rear legroom than the Mazda 3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Fit’s rear seats recline. The Mazda 3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Fit has a larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Mazda 3 5-Door with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 47.1 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Fit has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Mazda 3 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Fit has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mazda 3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Fit EX-L’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Mazda 3’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fit owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Fit will cost $40 to $1100 less than the Mazda 3 over a five-year period.

The Fit will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Fit will retain 48.54% to 50.38% of its original price after five years, while the Mazda 3 only retains 40.72% to 46.47%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fit is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 3 because it costs $315 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Fit than the Mazda 3, including $7 less for a water pump, $182 less for an alternator, $31 less for front brake pads, $89 less for fuel injection and $85 less for a fuel pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Fit will be $3108 to $4687 less than for the Mazda 3.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Honda Fit and the Mazda 3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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