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The Q3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-3 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q3 and CX-3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q3 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The CX-3’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q3 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q3. But it costs extra on the CX-3.
The Q3 Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-3 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Both the Q3 and the CX-3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi Q3 weighs 953 to 1096 pounds more than the Mazda CX-3. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
The Q3 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-3’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The Q3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CX-3’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The Audi Q3’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CX-3’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Q3’s reliability 20 points higher than the CX-3.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.
The Q3’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 80 more horsepower (228 vs. 148) and 112 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Q3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Q3 has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Q3 has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 12.7 gallons).
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi Q3 higher (7 out of 10) than the Mazda CX-3 (3 to 7). This means the Q3 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CX-3 every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi Q3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-3.
For better stopping power the Q3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:
The Q3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the CX-3 are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Q3 has larger standard tires than the CX-3 (235/55R18 vs. 215/60R16). The Q3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (255/40R20 vs. 215/60R16).
The Q3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-3 Sport’s standard 60 series tires. The Q3’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-3 Sport. The Q3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring.
For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q3 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mazda CX-3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q3’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the CX-3 (105.5 inches vs. 101.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q3 is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-3.
The Q3 has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q3’s rear seats recline. The CX-3’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Q3 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (23.7 vs. 12.4 cubic feet). The Q3 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (48 vs. 44.5 cubic feet).
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Q3. The CX-3 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Q3 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a power liftgate.
The Q3 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The CX-3 has no towing capacity.
The Q3 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-3 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.
The power windows standard on both the Q3 and the CX-3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q3 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-3 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Q3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The CX-3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Q3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the CX-3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Q3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CX-3’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Q3 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 CX-3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.
The Q3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring.
The Q3 Prestige has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-3 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Q3’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The CX-3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Q3 and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q3 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-3 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Q3 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The CX-3 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mazda CX-3 isn't recommended.
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