2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the CX-3 and the Crosstrek 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.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

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

Engine

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

 

CX-3

Crosstrek

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

3.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

14.5 sec

15.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.9 MPH

80.8 MPH

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-3 stops much shorter than the Crosstrek:

 

CX-3

Crosstrek

 

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

131 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 Crosstrek Limited’s 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Crosstrek Premium pulls only .79 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 Crosstrek Limited (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Crosstrek’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Subaru Crosstrek.

The CX-3 is 7.5 inches shorter than the Crosstrek, 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 1.5 inches lower than the Crosstrek (16” vs. 17.5”). The CX-3’s rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the Crosstrek’s (16” vs. 18”).

Ergonomics

The engine computer on the CX-3 disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-3 is less expensive to operate than the Crosstrek because it costs $234 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the CX-3 than the Crosstrek, including $121 less for a water pump, $176 less for a starter, $109 less for a fuel pump, $147 less for front struts and $150 less for a timing belt/chain.

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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