Battle of the subcompact crossovers: the spacious 2018 Honda HR-V goes up against the sporty 2018 Mazda CX-3

The subcompact crossover category has gotten rather popular, and at Cardinal Honda we're proud of our segment competitor: the Honda HR-V. It appeals to a wide range of shoppers from young professionals to small families to retirees, and even though it's only been on the market for a few years, it already has a strong fan base.

One of the HR-V's rivals is the Mazda CX-3 and today we're going to compare the two.


The HR-V comes with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and steering wheel controls. The base model keeps things simple, which is ideal for shoppers on a budget or those who prefer an "easy-going" list of features. For drivers who want a little more, there are two other trims that provide additional amenities.

Chose the EX trim and you get paddle shifters, a sunroof for the warmer months, a smart key with push button start, and heated front seats. You also get a 7-inch touchscreen that runs the HondaLink™ infotainment program and is Pandora capable. This trim also has the useful Honda LaneWatch™ safety feature, which is a camera mounted on the passenger-side mirror that displays what may be lurking in those blind spots. The top-level EX-L Navi trim adds the cherry on top with leather on the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob, navigation that uses voice recognition, and a subscription to SiriusXM.

The CX-3 also has three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The list of standard features is a little more robust, as you get a 7-inch touchscreen from the get go and the smart city brake support. The Touring trim has leatherette seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and two advanced safety technologies. The Grand Touring has LED lights, a paddle shifter for the automatic model, genuine leather seats with faux-suede inserts, an active driving display, and Bose 7-Speaker system.

The CX-3 does bring a few extra amenities and safety features to the segment, though the HR-V has a lower starting price that is especially noticeable on the first two trims.


The spacious interior is what really makes the HR-V shine amongst other subcompact crossovers. With all seats up, you'll have 24.3 cubic feet of cargo space and if you need the entire backrow you have a whopping 58.8 cubic feet! The HR-V also has the useful Honda Magic Seat® that can be configured multiple ways, and it's helpful for transporting oddly-shaped items.

The size of the HR-V also makes it a model that you can grow into, and even though the Honda CR-V or Honda Pilot are top-choices for families, you realistically could keep your HR-V if your family grew by one. That change is going to be more challenging with the CX-3....

With the seats up in the CX-3 you barely have any room! We're talking 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the back row down and you'll get 42.3 cubic feet, which is still a lot less than the HR-V!

For drivers that want to have the option to haul furniture, make an across-town move, or have more room for luggage and gear, the HR-V is a smart choice. If you choose a CX-3 you'll be calling your friend with an SUV or truck to help move furniture, need to rely on U-Haul, or have to take your friend's car for a weekend away.


The HR-V has a 1.8L engine with 144 horsepower. As we mentioned earlier, if you choose the EX or EX-L trims you get paddle shifters for extra control. 2WD and AWD are available.

The CX-3 has a 2.0L engine with 146 horsepower. It only has 2 extra horses than the HR-V, but it is known for being a zippy car that is fun to drive and more engaging; in case you didn't know, Mazda prides itself building cars with enthusiastic handling. The HR-V is perfectly capable of driving in the city and passing on the highway, but its claim to fame really is size over sportiness.

Both models have their high notes, but if you're looking for a crossover that has a ton of space and the ability to support you through multiple stages of life, the Honda HR-V is going to have a greater appeal! Stop into our dealership for a test drive and to learn more.


Cardinal Honda

531 Route 12
Directions Groton, CT 06340

  • Sales: (860) 910-0034
  • Service: (860) 910-0034
  • Parts: (860) 910-0034

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