2020 Audi Q3 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/12

The Q3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-3 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the Q3 and CX-3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q3 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The CX-3’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Q3 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q3. But it costs extra on the CX-3.

The Q3 Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System 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 Q3 and the CX-3 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Audi Q3 weighs 911 to 1054 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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q3 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 86 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CX-3 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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The Q3 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-3’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Q3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CX-3’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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The Audi Q3’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CX-3’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Q3’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 80 more horsepower (228 vs. 148) and 112 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Audi Q3 is faster than the Mazda CX-3:

Q3

CX-3

Zero to 30 MPH

3.2 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

9.6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

82.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Q3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Q3 has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Q3 has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi Q3 higher (7 out of 10) than the Mazda CX-3 (3 to 7). This means the Q3 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CX-3 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi Q3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-3.

The Q3 has Electronic Differential Lock, a true all-wheel-drive system, which uses a four wheel traction control system to redirect engine power to the axle and wheel that still has traction to keep the Q3 moving if even only one wheel still has traction. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a true all-wheel drive system; it could get stuck while one or more wheels still have traction.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Q3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:

Q3

CX-3

CX-3 AWD

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.1 inches

11.1 inches

The Q3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the CX-3 are solid, not vented.

The Q3 stops much shorter than the CX-3:

Q3

CX-3

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Q3 has larger standard tires than the CX-3 (235/55R18 vs. 215/60R16). The Q3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (255/40R20 vs. 215/60R16).

The Q3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-3’s standard 60 series tires. The Q3’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the CX-3’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the CX-3. The Q3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q3 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q3’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the CX-3 (105.5 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q3 is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-3.

The Q3 Prestige handles at .91 G’s, while the CX-3 AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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The Q3 has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q3’s rear seats recline. The CX-3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Q3 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (23.7 vs. 17.8 cubic feet). The Q3 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (48 vs. 42.7 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Q3 easier. The Q3’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.8 inches, while the CX-3’s liftover is 30.6 inches.

The Q3’s cargo area is larger than the CX-3’s in almost every dimension:

Q3

CX-3

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34”/65”

27.8”/58”

Max Width

54”

n/a

Min Width

39”

39.4”

Height

28”

26.6”

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Q3. The CX-3 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Q3 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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The Q3 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The CX-3 has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Q3 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-3 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Q3 and the CX-3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q3 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-3 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Q3’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.

If the windows are left open on the Q3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Audi Advanced Key optional on the Q3 allows you to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Mazda CX-3’s Pushbutton Start doesn’t unlock the doors or the cargo door.

The Q3’s power window, power lock and power mirror switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The CX-3’s power window (except driver window) and power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 Q3’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the CX-3’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

The Q3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The CX-3 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The Q3 Premium Plus/Prestige’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-3 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Q3 has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the CX-3.

The Q3’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 Q3 and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q3 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi Q3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The CX-3 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Q3 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The CX-3 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/12

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi Q3 and the Mazda CX-3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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