2020 Chevrolet Trax vs. 2019 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Compared to metal, the Trax’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-3 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Trax 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Trax is safer than the Mazda CX-3:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.7 inches

.8 inches

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

199 G’s

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

85 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.


The Trax’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-3’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Trax’s warranty.


The Chevrolet Trax’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 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Trax has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (14 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Trax has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (14 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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




Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

The Trax stops much shorter than the CX-3:



70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Trax has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For greater off-road capability the Trax has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (6.2 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the Trax to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Trax has 5.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (92.8 vs. 87.6).

The Trax has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear legroom, 1.7 inches more rear hip room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

Cargo Capacity

The Trax has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (18.7 vs. 12.4 cubic feet). The Trax has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 44.5 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Trax easier. The Trax’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the CX-3’s liftover is 30.6 inches.

Servicing Ease

The Trax has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The CX-3 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.


The power windows standard on both the Trax and the CX-3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Trax 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 Trax’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The CX-3’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

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

The Trax has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The CX-3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Trax LT/Premier has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Trax is less expensive to operate than the CX-3 because typical repairs cost much less on the Trax than the CX-3, including $3 less for front brake pads, $59 less for a starter, $253 less for fuel injection and $4 less for front struts.


The Chevrolet Trax outsold the Mazda CX-3 by over five to one during 2018.

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

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