MazdaCX-3_11 Two of the most recognizable Compact SUVs or Crossovers on Malaysian roads are none other than the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V. Both Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V are the first in the segment for each respective marque. The Mazda CX-3 came into the market a lot later than the Honda HR-V, having only arrived in mid-December last year.

The HR-V, on the other hand, landed in February 2015 and has since been one of the bread and butter model for Honda Malaysia. The Mazda CX-3 has started to gain ground among the locals, although the pricing factor may be one of the important aspects, especially when compared to the HR-V’s much more feasible price structure.

Let’s kick things off with the newer Mazda CX-3 Crossover: The CX-3 is the fifth model to carry the KODO – Soul of Motion design theme and SKYACTIV Technology, among Mazda’s mass-produced vehicles. The CX-3 can be considered a compact version of Mazda’s best-selling Crossover SUV and CX-3’s larger sibling, the CX-5. The CX-3 is characterized by its five-point grille at the front with the robust outlook, and overall impression of the CX-3 entails a vehicle that distinguishes itself with a long hood, short overhangs, large wheels and a lean cabin. The CX-3 conveys a sense of motion even when standing still…

The Honda HR-V (Hip & Smart Runabout Vehicle) shares stark similarities to the CR-V; much like the CX-3 and CX-5. At glance at the Honda HR-V entails the familiar signature front grille and LED headlights with DRLs. To the side, the deep-etched slanting shoulder lines take on a Coupe-like precedence, while the 16-inch wheels fit the Crossover rather nicely. The rear door handle is positioned at the edge of the rear window to represent sleekness of a Coupe. Additionally, the door handles on the driver and front passenger’s side come in either body color or chrome. From the rear, the LED combination lights and a shark fin antenna bring out the HR-V’s youthful semblance.

The CX-3 and HR-V differ ever so slightly when compared side by side, but the HR-V has the advantage when it comes to overall dimensions: in length, the CX-3 measures 4,275 mm to the HR-V’s 4,294 mm; width difference is 7mm with the HR-V at 1,772mm and CX-3 at 1,765 mm; HR-V is taller by 70 mm (1,605mm) compared to CX-3’s 1,535mm; and the HR-V has a longer wheelbase at 2,610 mm against the CX-3’s 2,570 mm. Does overall size or dimensions really matter for potential buyers of this segment? We figure that car buyers of this segment in the country would prefer a little more space, given a choice, but that’s not a major decision making factor.

Moving the inside, the CX-3 has a meter cluster with chrome-accented ring and 3-D dial face, whereas the HR-V has an ambient meter cluster that turns color to green; when Eco mode is activated. Due to its shorter wheelbase and overall height, the CX-3 has sightly less head- and leg-room than the HR-V. In addition, the HR-V is boosted by Ultra Seat configuration, enabling Utility, Long and Tall seating, storage arrangements. Further plus points for the HR-V are the touch panel control, depending on versions, compared to the CX-3’s more conventional turn knobs, single zone wide flow air-conditioning and high deck center console with armrest. On technologies and amenities, the HR-V comes with Mirror Link with HDMI connectivity and SIRI Eyes for iPhone users. Although the offering descriptions sound more advanced in the HR-V, the technology for communication and infotainment aren’t all that new and is limited to iPhone users (although Honda later included connectivity for Android users in the newer HR-Vs). The Mazda CX-3’s MZD Connect, on the other hand, is a one stop center for all things related to communication and infotainment. The MZD Connect is also a lot user friendly and has a less complex presentation, compared to the HR-V more trendy graphics.

In the powerplant department, the Mazda CX-3 carries a punchy 156PS/204Nm 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine that’s paired to a SKYACTIV-G 6-speed auto transmission. The HR-V makes good with a 1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine with CVT transmission for an output of 142 PS @ 6.500 rpm and 172 Nm @ 4,300 rpm of torque. Without a doubt, buyers of this segment would prefer the more punchy CX-3 over the more subtle HR-V.

Both Crossover SUV models have plenty of safety features which are most or less similar, except for Mazda CX-3’s Dynamic Stability Control versus the HR-V’s Vehicle Stability Assist and the CX-3’s more familiar handbrake vs the HR-V’s Electric Park brake. Also, the HR-V has been given a 5-star Asean N-CAP safety rating, probably due to its much earlier evaluations. The CX-3 should receive its due recognition in time.

While there are three versions to the Honda HR-V with prices between RM 98,688.79 till 118,228.50, there’s only a single value preposition for the new Mazda CX-3 at RM 135,143.19; all prices include insurance. The Mazda CX-3 is offered in five colors (Soul Red Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Jet Black, Meteor Gray, and Deep Crystal Blue); similar to the HR-V number of colors on offer (Ruse Black Metallic, Alabaster Silver, Modern Steel Metallic, Taffeta White and Crystal Black Pearl). On warranty, Mazda CX-3 comes with 3-year, 60,000 km and the HR-V adopts a 5-year warranty with 10,000 km service interval.

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