2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Escape doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CX-3 has standard Smart City Brake Support, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Escape offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Both the CX-3 and the Escape 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mazda CX-3 is safer than the Escape:

 

CX-3

Escape

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

2 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

22 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Femur Force R/L

.5/.3 kN

.5/1.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

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 Escape was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Reliability

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-3 is faster than the Ford Escape:

 

CX-3

Escape 4 cyl.

Escape 1.5 turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

16.9 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.9 MPH

80.9 MPH

78.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

CX-3

 

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

Escape

 

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-3 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape with the 1.5 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 shorter than the Escape:

 

CX-3

Escape

 

70 to 0 MPH

181 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Escape Titanium AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Escape SE (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the Escape’s (34.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 800 pounds less than the Ford Escape.

The CX-3 is 9.8 inches shorter than the Escape, 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 Escape Titanium AWD (39 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the CX-3 is .8 inches lower than the Escape (16” vs. 16.8”). The CX-3’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Escape’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 Escape doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-3’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Escape’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

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 Escape doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Escape 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 Escape because it costs $81 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-3 than the Escape, including $48 less for a fuel pump, $294 less for a timing belt/chain and $221 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 $4293 to $5235 less than for the Ford Escape.

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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