Head to Head: Subaru XV Vs Mazda CX-3
What are the CX-3 and XV like to drive?
The Subaru XV uses the same refreshed 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine as its Impreza sibling with the same power and torque figures, which are 115kW at 6000rpm and 196Nm of torque at 4000rpm. This engine is mated to a CVT with “seven gear ratios” when driving in Manual mode or “Auto Stepped Speed Control” when in D for Drive. Fuel consumption is a combined 7.0L/100km.
The XV also cooped some local development work on its suspension and the XV we get here definitely feels more compliant and yet agile than our preview drive of the XV in Japan suggested. The way the thing handles corrugated roads, changes in direction on both bitumen and dirt, dials in the driver to the car’s doings but insulates the cabin from road and wind noise really is benchmark-setting stuff.
The steering too is nice and meaty with good on-centre feel and stability. The brakes are progressive and feelsome in their action and the transmission is both quiet and adept at making the most of the power and torque available to it. The XV also gets X-Mode which adds an extra layer of rough road usability to the thing, you can read more about it in our road tests of the XV.
If you like driving the CX-3 is one of the better compact SUVs on the market. The recent update has added Mazda’s G Vectoring tech to make the steering more convincing. There’s no reason to choose diesel over petrol (although petrol should be your choice) if you’re a city-dweller but they’re both lots of fun to drive without a significant penalty in ride quality. The all-wheel drive CX-3s are also very sure-footed in the wet or loose stuff for that extra bit of security, but when the going gets rough, the CX-3 is no match for the XV with its towering ground clearance of 220mm and permanent all-wheel drive system. The CX-3 runs an on-demand system and can match the XV’s X-Mode system either.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol offers 109kW and 192Nm of torque which runs through a conventional six-cylinder automatic rather than the XV’s CVT.