Mazda CX-3 - Honda HR-V - Nissan Juke - Subaru Crosstrek
Small crossovers are rapidly becoming more and more popular with people who need more cargo space than a compact can carry, but don’t want to give up small car versatility. Their car-like handling and maneuverability in narrow places and tight parking spaces make them a winning combination for active people not looking to sail a luxury liner down the highway. Four of the most popular vehicles in this segment are the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke and the Subaru Crosstrek.
The popularity of these small crossovers comes from more than just their versatility, but their price point as well. With the Mazda CX-3 starting at $20,860 when comparably equipped, it beats out the competition easily with the Honda HR-V coming in at $20,015, the Nissan Juke at $20,250 and the Subaru Crosstrek priced out considerably more at $21,595.
Power and Performance
Just because you bought an economy sized SUV and compromised to get car-like handling and more cargo space in a bite-size package, that doesn’t mean you have to give up driving excitement as well. Of course, if driving excitement is what you are looking for, you can eliminate the Honda HR-V and Nissan Juke from your short list immediately. Although the Juke comes with more power tipping the horsepower scale at 188 hp@5600 rpm as opposed to the Mazda CX-3’s modest 146 hp@6000 rpm, it gets that power to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which means you have to fight to get it to the ground. The Honda HR-V puts out a little less horsepower than the Mazda CX-3, 141 hp@6500 rpms, but it also is mated to a more fuel frugal than fun CVT. Other than the Mazda CX-3, that leaves the Subaru which offers very similar power and torque numbers. But the Subaru comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the Mazda comes with a 6-speed automatic. With today’s automatic transmissions shifting more efficiently, providing better fuel economy, and shifting faster than most drivers can manually shift a car, there are no longer any real advantages to purchasing a manual transmission other than to save money, but the Mazda CX-3 is already cheaper than the Subaru.
You would think that choosing the car that’s the most fun to drive would mean you’d shell out more for gas, but the Mazda CX-3 comes out ahead here as well. With an estimated 29 mpg city and 34 mpg HWY, only the Honda HR-V comes close which posts economy numbers of 28 city and 35 HWY. The Nissan Juke and Subaru come in with 28/32 and 23/31 respectively.
All of the vehicles here are well-appointed for the segment, with only very subtle differences between them. Many auto reviewers have found the interior of the Mazda CX-3 to be the most thought out with the highest attention to detail. However, some environments were outright inhospitable. The HR-V for example has ample rear legroom, but because of the raking roof line, anyone with legs long enough to need that much room will also be tall enough to feel their head hitting the roof. But for average sized people, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices.