2019 Honda HR-V vs. 2019 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the HR-V and the CX-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 all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.


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 HR-V’s warranty.


The engine in the HR-V has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the CX-3 has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

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.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 3 places higher in reliability than Mazda.

Fuel Economy and Range

The HR-V has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (13.2 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.


The HR-V 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 CX-3 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the HR-V’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:




Front Rotors

11.5 inches

11 inches

The HR-V stops much shorter than the CX-3:





70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The HR-V’s 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.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the HR-V has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-3 Sport.

Suspension and Handling

The HR-V AWD has front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the HR-V AWD flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the HR-V’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the CX-3 (102.8 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The HR-V EX-L AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the CX-3 Touring AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the HR-V has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (6.7 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the HR-V to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The HR-V’s minimum ground clearance is .5 inch higher than on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring (6.7 vs. 6.2 inches).


The HR-V Sport/EX/EX-L/Touring uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The CX-3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the HR-V EX-L AWD is quieter than the CX-3 Touring AWD (76 vs. 78 dB).

Passenger Space

The HR-V has 12.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (100.1 vs. 87.6).

The HR-V has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the HR-V’s rear seats recline. The CX-3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The HR-V has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (24.3 vs. 12.4 cubic feet). The HR-V has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (58.8 vs. 44.5 cubic feet).

Economic Advantages

The HR-V will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the HR-V will retain 52.5% to 54.17% of its original price after five years, while the CX-3 only retains 43.08% to 43.95%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the HR-V is less expensive to operate than the CX-3 because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the HR-V than the CX-3, including $7 less for a muffler, $24 less for front brake pads, $209 less for fuel injection and $15 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda HR-V will be $1173 to $2119 less than for the Mazda CX-3.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Honda HR-V outsold the Mazda CX-3 by almost six to one during 2017.

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

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