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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus UX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda CX-3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the UX Series deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The UX Series’ side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The CX-3’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.
The UX Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The UX Series offers optional Parking Support Brake that uses 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 UX Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
The UX Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Compared to metal, the UX Series’ 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 UX Series and the CX-3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
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 UX Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 83 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CX-3 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.
The UX Series 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.
Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the UX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the CX-3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the CX-3 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The UX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-3’s (6 vs. 5 years).
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 53 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mazda is ranked second.
The UX 200’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 21 more horsepower (169 vs. 148) and 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The UX 250h’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 33 more horsepower (181 vs. 148) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.
As tested in Motor Trend the Lexus UX Series is faster than the Mazda CX-3:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the UX 250h gets better fuel mileage than the CX-3 AWD (41 city/38 hwy vs. 27 city/32 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the UX 200 FWD CVT gets better fuel mileage than the CX-3 FWD (29 city/37 hwy vs. 29 city/34 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the UX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the UX Series Hybrid’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 UX Series has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better stopping power the UX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:
The UX Series stops shorter than the CX-3:
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the UX Series has larger tires than the CX-3 (225/50R18 vs. 215/60R16).
The UX Series’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-3’s standard 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the UX Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the CX-3.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the UX Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The CX-3 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
For superior ride and handling, the Lexus UX Series 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 UX Series 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.
The UX Series has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the UX Series 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 UX Series’ wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the CX-3 (103.9 inches vs. 101.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the UX Series is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-3.
For better maneuverability, the UX Series’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the CX-3’s (34.2 feet vs. 34.8 feet).
The UX Series has 2.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (90.4 vs. 87.6).
The UX Series has .3 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front hip room, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, 3.3 inches more rear hip room and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.
The UX Series has a much larger cargo volume than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (21.7 vs. 17.8 cubic feet).
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the UX Series. The CX-3 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the UX Series’ power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 70% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.
The UX Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
When three different drivers share the UX Series, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a memory system.
The UX Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The UX Series’ 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 UX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the CX-3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
Smart Access standard on the UX Series allows you to unlock the driver’s door, 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 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 UX Series’ available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the CX-3’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The UX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CX-3 doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The UX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The CX-3 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.
When the UX Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The CX-3’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The UX Series’ optional 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 UX Series offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the CX-3.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the UX Series 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.
On extremely cold winter days, the UX Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The UX Series’ 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 UX Series and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the UX Series 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 Lexus UX Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The CX-3 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus UX Series and the Mazda CX-3, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Lexus UX Series outsold the Mazda CX-3 by 496 units during 2019.
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