2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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.

The XC40’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 XC40 and CX-3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 offers optional 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 XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, 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 XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that 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 XC40 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround 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.

The XC40’s 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.

Both the XC40 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Volvo XC40 weighs 756 to 1045 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 XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CX-3 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

The XC40 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 XC40’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CX-3’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-3.

Engine

The XC40 T4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 39 more horsepower (187 vs. 148) and 75 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 100 more horsepower (248 vs. 148) and 112 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the XC40 T5 is faster than the Mazda CX-3:

XC40

CX-3

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

9.6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

82.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC40’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 XC40 has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (14.2 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XC40 has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (14.2 vs. 12.7 gallons).

The XC40 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC40, 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 XC40’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:

XC40

CX-3

CX-3 AWD

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.1 inches

11.1 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the CX-3:

XC40

CX-3

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the CX-3 (235/55R18 vs. 215/60R16). The XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (245/45R20 vs. 215/60R16).

The XC40’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 Sport’s standard 60 series tires. The XC40’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC40 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-3 Sport. The XC40’s optional 20-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 Volvo XC40 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 XC40 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the XC40 flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The XC40 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC40’s wheelbase is 5.2 inches longer than on the CX-3 (106.4 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XC40 is 3 inches wider in the front and 4.1 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-3.

The XC40’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57.9% to 42.1%) than the CX-3’s (59% to 41%). This gives the XC40 more stable handling and braking.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the CX-3 Touring AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a 2.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (8.3 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC40’s minimum ground clearance is 2.1 inches higher than on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring (8.3 vs. 6.2 inches).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the XC40 T5 R-Design AWD is quieter than the CX-3 Touring AWD (74 vs. 78 dB).

Passenger Space

The XC40 has 10.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (98 vs. 87.6).

The XC40 has .6 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front hip room, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom, 5.6 inches more rear hip room and 5.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

Cargo Capacity

The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (20.7 vs. 12.4 cubic feet). The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (57.5 vs. 44.5 cubic feet).

The XC40’s cargo area is larger than the CX-3’s in every dimension:

XC40

CX-3

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/65.7”

27.8”/58”

Max Width

47.8”

n/a

Min Width

39.5”

39.4”

Height

29.4”

26.6”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The CX-3 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. 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 XC40 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just waving your foot, completely leaving your hands free. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The XC40 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The CX-3 has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The XC40 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.

The XC40 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.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the XC40 and the CX-3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the XC40 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 XC40’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 XC40 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 also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the CX-3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC40’s power window, power lock, power mirror 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) and power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The XC40’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CX-3’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The CX-3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 XC40’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the CX-3’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CX-3 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The XC40 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 XC40’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring.

When the XC40 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 XC40 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which 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.

Both the XC40 and the CX-3 offer available heated front seats. The XC40 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.

The XC40 (except Momentum)’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 XC40 and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the XC40 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 XC40’s optional Park Assist Pilot 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the CX-3 because it costs $44 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the XC40 than the CX-3, including $127 less for fuel injection and $108 less for a power steering pump.

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

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