2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the CX-3 and the Forester 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, crash mitigating brakes, 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 Forester has not been tested, yet.

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.

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 Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Forester’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 650 pounds less than the Subaru Forester.

The CX-3 is 1 foot, 1.8 inches shorter than the Forester, making the CX-3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-3 will be $230 to $5596 less than for the Subaru Forester.

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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