The Mazda CX-3 was recently refreshed and is one of the best-selling compact SUVs in the country, but is it better than the all-new Subaru XV?
2017 Mazda CX-3 Akari
Pricing $35,490+ORC (from $20,490+ORC) Service Intervals 12 months or 10,000km Warranty three-years, unlimited kilometres Safety five star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol Power 109kW at 6000rpm Torque 192Nm at 2800rpm; 270Nm Transmission six-speed automatic Drive all-wheel drive Dimensions 4275mm (L); 1765mm (W); 1550mm (H) Turning Circle 10.6m Ground Clearance 155mm Boot Space 264/1174 litres Spare Space Saver Fuel Tank 44L Thirst From 4.4-6.7L/100km (combined)
2017 Subaru XV 2.0i-S
Pricing $35,240+ORC (from $27,990+ORC) Service Intervals 12 months, 12,500km Warranty three-years, unlimited kilometres Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer petrol engine Power 115kW at 6000rpm Torque 196Nm at 4000rpm Transmission CVT Drive All-wheel drive Dimensions 4465mm (L); 1800mm (W); 1615mm (H); 2665mm (WB) Turning Circle 10.8m Ground Clearance 220mm Angles 18-degrees (A); 28.8-degrees (D) Boot Space 310/765L Spare Temporary Spare Fuel Tank 63 litres Thirst 7.0L/100km (claimed combined)
What are we testing and why?
The Mazda CX-3 was first launched here back in 2015 and so the refreshed model that arrived here in May this year looks the same. Indeed, Mazda’s product boss, Minoru Takata said that’s because Mazda wanted to avoid change for change’s sake. So, all the new stuff is under the skin. For instance, Mazda’s G-vectoring control is now standard across the range, it also gets a redesigned bushing control arm, retuned dampers and tweaks to the rear multi-link bushing. Other enhancements include better NVH, improved engine sound and electric front seats with two memory positions. But the headline is that the 2017 CX-3 leads its segment with the best standard of safety across the entire model range. All models now get Mazda’s smart city brake support, or autonomous electronic braking (AEB), which functions in both forward and reverse movements. It is standard from the base model Neo and sets a benchmark for some other manufacturers to follow… Curiously, a reverse camera is not standard in Neo and will set buyer’s back around $500 – a feature usually found standard.
And now we come to the Subaru XV. This is the little SUV that could for Subaru; fast becoming one of the company’s best sellers, the Subaru XV is the second all-new model to lob based on Subaru’s new global platform. Sure, its starting price is more than the CX-3 but in the upper reaches the CX-3, especially in all-wheel drive trim, lines up with the XV, and while the XV is longer than the CX-3 and thus gets a bigger boot, the two vehicles are still fighting for the attention of the same buyers.
The two we’re considering for the sake of this argument are the Mazda CX-3 Akari (2.0L) AWD which lists from $35,490+ORC and the XV 2.0i-S which undercuts, slightly, the CX-3 at $35,240+ORC, although the lesser all-wheel drive models also line-up on price and specification.