2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

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 Santa Fe doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the CX-3 and the Santa Fe 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, 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 Santa Fe has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

CX-3

 

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

Santa Fe

 

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/25 hwy

 

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

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 Santa Fe SE/SEL’s standard 65 series tires. The CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Santa Fe’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Santa Fe’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 1400 pounds less than the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The CX-3 is 1 foot, 7.5 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the CX-3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the CX-3 has standard flush composite headlights. The Santa Fe has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the CX-3 is 2 inches lower than the Santa Fe (16” vs. 18”). The CX-3’s rear step up height is 2.5 inches lower than the Santa Fe’s (16” vs. 18.5”).

Ergonomics

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 Santa Fe doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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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