2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the CX-3 and the Compass 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 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 Compass was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.


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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Jeep is ranked 22nd.


As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-3 is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):




Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.9 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the UX Series gets better fuel mileage than the Compass:







CX-3 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy



CX-3 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy



Compass 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy



Compass 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/31 hwy



Compass 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/31 hwy



Compass 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy


The Mazda CX-3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Compass.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-3 stops much shorter than the Compass:





60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

148 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

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 Compass Sport’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the Compass 4x4 Trailhawk’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.3 feet). The CX-3’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Compass’ (34.8 feet vs. 36.3 feet).


The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 700 pounds less than the Jeep Compass.

The CX-3 is 4.7 inches shorter than the Compass, making the CX-3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the CX-3 is 3.4 inches lower than the Compass (16” vs. 19.4”). The CX-3’s rear step up height is 4.7 inches lower than the Compass’ (16” vs. 20.7”).


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 Compass 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 Compass doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Compass’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Compass Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited’s 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-3 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the CX-3 with a number “8” insurance rate while the Compass is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-3 is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the CX-3 than the Compass, including $90 less for a water pump, $63 less for a muffler, $3 less for a starter, $119 less for a fuel pump, $130 less for front struts and $84 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-3 will be $1675 to $1757 less than for the Jeep Compass.


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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