2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support optional in the CX-3 as “Superior.” The 500X scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the CX-3 and the 500X 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-3 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 500X was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the CX-3 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500X. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500X ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 38 percent more Mazda dealers than there are Fiat dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the CX-3’s warranty.

Reliability

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 CX-3’s reliability 12 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-3 gets better fuel mileage than the 500X:

 

 

 

MPG

CX-3

 

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

500X

 

AWD

1.3 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-3 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500X requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-3 stops shorter than the 500X:

 

CX-3

500X

 

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X AWD Trekking/Trekking Plus’ optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the 500X pulls only .78 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 1.1 seconds quicker than the 500X Trekking (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the 500X’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.3 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the Fiat 500X.

The CX-3 is 5.9 inches narrower than the 500X, making the CX-3 easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The CX-3 has .3 inches more front legroom and .2 inches more rear legroom than the 500X.

The front step up height for the CX-3 is 3.4 inches lower than the 500X (16” vs. 19.4”). The CX-3’s rear step up height is 3.6 inches lower than the 500X’s (16” vs. 19.6”).

Cargo Capacity

The CX-3 has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (44.5 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the CX-3 Grand Touring, the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The 500X doesn’t offer memory seats.

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 500X 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 500X doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 500X’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The 500X Trekking/Trekking Plus’ cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The CX-3 Grand Touring’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

On extremely cold winter days, the CX-3 Grand Touring’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 500X doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The CX-3 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-3 has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

Model Availability

The CX-3 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

The CX-3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CX-3 will retain 45.65% to 46.16% of its original price after five years, while the 500X only retains 35.57% to 36.62%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-3 is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost much less on the CX-3 than the 500X, including $206 less for a water pump, $45 less for fuel injection and $248 less for a fuel pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-3 will be $4051 to $4134 less than for the Fiat 500X.

Recommendations

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

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its September 2015 issue and they ranked the Mazda CX-3 Touring AWD first. They ranked the Fiat 500X fourth.

The Mazda CX-3 outsold the Fiat 500X by over three to one during 2018.

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

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