2021 Kia Seltos 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 2020/08/11

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Seltos are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Seltos S Turbo/EX/SX has standard Rear Cross-Traffic Avoidance Assist 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 Seltos S/EX/SX’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 Seltos 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Seltos comes with a full 5-year/60,000-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 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Seltos 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the CX-3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the CX-3 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 32 percent more Kia dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Seltos’ warranty.

Reliability

© 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 2020/08/11

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 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 Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Seltos S 1.6T/SX’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (175 vs. 148) and 49 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Seltos’ 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 Seltos has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (13.2 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Kia Seltos S 1.6T/SX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-3.

The Seltos 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.

The Seltos offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The CX-3 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Seltos Turbo

CX-3

CX-3 AWD

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

11.1 inches

11.1 inches

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/08/11

For better traction, the Seltos Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (235/45R18 vs. 215/60R16).

The Seltos 2.0L’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 Seltos Turbo’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the CX-3’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Seltos 2.0L has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the CX-3. The Seltos Turbo has standard 18-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Seltos AWD 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 solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Seltos 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Seltos’ wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer than on the CX-3 (103.5 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Seltos is 2 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-3.

For greater off-road capability the Seltos has a 1.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (7.3 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the Seltos to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Seltos’ minimum ground clearance is 1.1 inches higher than on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring (7.3 vs. 6.2 inches).

Passenger Space

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The Seltos has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom, 3.8 inches more rear hip room and 4.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

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

Cargo Capacity

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The Seltos has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (26.6 vs. 17.8 cubic feet). The Seltos has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (62.8 vs. 42.7 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Seltos EX/SX 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.

The Smart Key standard on the Seltos EX/SX 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 Seltos S/EX/SX’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 Seltos (except LX) 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.

Both the Seltos and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Seltos S/EX/SX 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 Kia Seltos EX/SX has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The CX-3 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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