2019 Toyota Rav4 vs. 2019 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Rav4 (except LE) offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Rav4 Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-3 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Rav4 and the CX-3 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Toyota Rav4 weighs 418 to 811 pounds more than the Mazda CX-3. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 for 2 years and 25,000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-3.

There are over 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Rav4’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

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

Engine

The Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 55 more horsepower (203 vs. 148) and 38 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Rav4 is faster than the Mazda CX-3:

 

Rav4

CX-3

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

83 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Rav4 LE 4WD gets better fuel mileage than the CX-3 AWD (27 city/34 hwy vs. 27 city/32 hwy).

The Rav4 has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Rav4 has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Rav4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-3.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Rav4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:

 

Rav4

CX-3

CX-3 AWD

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Rav4 has larger standard tires than the CX-3 (225/65R17 vs. 215/60R16). The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (235/55R19 vs. 215/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rav4 LE/XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-3 Sport. The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Rav4 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mazda CX-3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Rav4 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Rav4 flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Rav4’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the CX-3 (105.9 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the CX-3.

For greater off-road capability the Rav4 LE/XLE has a 2.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (8.4 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the Rav4 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s minimum ground clearance is 2.4 inches higher than on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring (8.6 vs. 6.2 inches).

Chassis

The front grille of the Rav4 Adventure/Limited uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CX-3 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Rav4 has 11.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (98.9 vs. 87.6).

The Rav4 has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 2 inches more front hip room, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear headroom, 2.8 inches more rear legroom and 6 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4’s rear seats recline. The CX-3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Rav4 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 12.4 cubic feet). The Rav4 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (69.8 vs. 44.5 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Rav4 (except LE) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the Rav4 Limited, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Rav4 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The CX-3 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Rav4’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The CX-3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

Both the Rav4 and the CX-3 offer available heated front seats. The Rav4 Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the CX-3.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Rav4 Adventure/Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The CX-3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The CX-3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Rav4 and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-3 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Rav4 Adventure has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Mazda CX-3 by almost 23 to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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