2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Nissan Kicks

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Kicks doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CX-3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Mazda CX-3 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The CX-3’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Kicks doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The CX-3 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CX-3 and the Kicks 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 and rearview cameras.


From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.


The CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 26 more horsepower (148 vs. 122) and 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (146 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda CX-3 is faster than the Nissan Kicks:




Zero to 60 MPH

8.1 sec

9.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

23.8 sec

36.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.3 sec

10.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

80 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

110 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (11.9 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (12.7 vs. 10.8 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:





Front Rotors

11 inches

11.6 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

11.1 inches

8” drums

The Mazda CX-3 has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The CX-3 stops much shorter than the Kicks:





70 to 0 MPH

181 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-3 has larger tires than the Kicks (215/60R16 vs. 205/60R16).

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 Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring has standard 18-inch wheels. The Kicks’ largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Mazda CX-3’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The CX-3 has 1.4 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more front shoulder room and 1.8 inches more rear legroom than the Kicks.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-3 has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (44.5 vs. 32.3 cubic feet).


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

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 Kicks’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the CX-3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Kicks doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the CX-3 Grand Touring. The CX-3’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the CX-3 offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.


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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