2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda CX-3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The CX-3 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Equinox doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the CX-3 and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-3 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Equinox was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The CX-3’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda CX-3 is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

CX-3

Equinox

Zero to 60 MPH

8.1 sec

8.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

23.8 sec

26.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.3 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

83 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-3 gets better fuel mileage than the Equinox:

 

 

 

MPG

CX-3

 

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

Equinox

 

FWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/32 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-3 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Equinox with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-3 stops much shorter than the Equinox:

 

CX-3

Equinox

 

70 to 0 MPH

181 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The CX-3 Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Equinox’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The CX-3’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Equinox w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 750 pounds less than the Chevrolet Equinox.

The CX-3 is 1 foot, 2.8 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the CX-3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the CX-3 Touring AWD is quieter than the Equinox LT AWD (39 vs. 43 dB).

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the CX-3 is 1.2 inches lower than the Equinox (16” vs. 17.2”). The CX-3’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Equinox’s (16” vs. 17.5”).

Ergonomics

The CX-3 Grand Touring has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-3 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Equinox doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The CX-3’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-3’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Equinox’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-3 Grand Touring has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Equinox doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-3 is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $504 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-3 than the Equinox, including $222 less for a water pump, $615 less for a muffler, $123 less for front brake pads, $81 less for a starter, $101 less for fuel injection, $405 less for a fuel pump, $394 less for a timing belt/chain and $77 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-3 will be $2395 to $10212 less than for the Chevrolet Equinox.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Mazda CX-3, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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

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