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2021 Honda HR-V vs Mazda CX-3

2021 Honda HR-V vs Mazda CX-3
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2021 HR-V vs CX-3 - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Those in the market for a new vehicle should take note of two great options, the 2021 Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. With their affordability, modern features and technology, plus comparable dimensions between models - potential buyers may have difficulty deciding which one best suits them. To assist with this decision we offer an overview to provide all necessary details about both vehicles so that consumers can make an informed choice on what is right for their particular needs.

The Powertrain

Under the hood of a 2022 Honda HR-V lies an impressive 1.8-liter engine with four cylinders, yielding 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet torque. On the other hand, Mazda's 2021 CX-3 comes armed with an even larger two liter engine boasting 148 hp as well as 146 lb.-ft., providing extra power for all your driving needs!

The larger engine of the 2021 Mazda CX-3 gives it an edge when it comes to acceleration. Even with a full load or while climbing hills, this extra power allows greater responsiveness than its Honda counterpart can provide – perfect for those taking casual drives around town.

Drivers interested in crossovers and smaller SUVs will appreciate the Honda HR-V's Eco Assist System, designed to maximize efficiency for any journey. Fuel economy ratings are exceptional - front wheel drive models boasting up to 28 MPG city/34 highway while all-wheel drives bring you 27MPG city/31 highway making long trips more economical. All four trims offer the option of AWD at no extra cost, allowing a customized driving experience tailored just for you!

The CX-3 offers one trim level, with seating for up to five passengers and the choice of either front-wheel or all wheel drive. For those looking for a fuel efficient ride, this model provides maximum estimated MPG ratings of 29/34 in FWD configurations and 27/32 when equipped with AWD - perfect for urban commutes!

Mazda's CX-3 offers drivers a thrilling ride with its 6-speed automatic transmission and Sport mode. For those times when the driver wants complete control, Mazda also provides manual shift capability for added versatility. Honda has equipped the HR-V with a Continuously Variable Transmission which allows the car to perform at peak efficiency; additionally, there is an engaging Sport Mode as well as paddle shifters for even more personalized driving experience!

There are some minor differences between the powertrains and mechanical components of these two models. By a slight margin, the Mazda feels like the more athletic vehicle, and it barely wins the matchup in terms of fuel efficiency.


With their easy maneuverability and sleek cabin design, the Honda CX-3 and HRV are versatile vehicles ideal for tackling tight spaces. The Active Noise Cancellation feature in the former gives it a quiet ambiance - nearly matching that of an average sedan. Moreover, its ground clearance is 6.1 inches with FWD versions measuring 7.3 inches whereas AWD models measure up to 6.7 inches respectively; making them perfect for off-roading.

Honda and Mazda have incorporated useful features to make climbing hills with their vehicles a breeze. Both brands offer Hill Assist technologies, allowing the driver to activate them with just one press of the brakes before taking off again on an incline. Honda calls its feature "Hill Start Assist", while Mazda labels theirs as "Hill Launch Assist". So no matter what type of hill motorists find themselves stopped on- whether due to traffic or other conditions - they can rely on these convenient braking systems for added peace of mind when climbing out!

The HR-V and CX-3 are both acclaimed for their versatile cabins, offering customers the freedom to arrange seating as desired. Outfitted with split bench seats in a 60/40 configuration, these models offer an unparalleled level of flexibility - whether you need room only on one side or require additional space across the entire row.

The Honda HR-V offers the more spacious option for passengers, particularly those in the second row. It has a generous 41.2 inches of legroom up front and 39.3 inches in back compared to just 35 inches of space offered by its rival Mazda CX-3 - an ideal choice if buyers plan on frequently having adults seated as passengers.

Mazda crossovers boast a generous 18 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear, and that number increases to 42.7 when both rows are folded down. For those looking for more capacity, Honda's HR-V offers an impressive 58 cubic feet - 24 behind the back seats alone!

While only slightly larger in length and height, the Honda's superior optimization of space allows for significantly more cargo and passenger room - an impressive feat that truly sets it apart from other similarly-sized vehicles like the Mazda.

There is an important feature that's only found in the Honda. It's something that the company calls a Magic Seat. This seat can be folded down like any typical rear bench in a crossover or SUV, and part of it can also be lifted up. Specifically, the seat cushion can be lifted up and held in place against the seatback. This provides another storage option that can be useful when transporting taller items.

Enjoy the journey even more with a convenient infotainment system. Both models come equipped to keep you connected and entertained on-the-go, providing access to touchscreen technology, Bluetooth streaming capabilities, Pandora radio functionality and compatibility with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. Discover why these features make this vehicle truly enjoyable!

The 2021 CX-3 offers plenty of features for a streamlined driving experience, including voice recognition and six speakers. Its digital instrument cluster brings sportiness to the vehicle with its interactive gauges - no need to upgrade or customize further!

In the Honda, the four trims all have different technology packages. The base model, which is the LX, doesn't even have smartphone compatibility. It does have Bluetooth, so drivers can make hands-free phone calls and stream music. The LX has four speakers and uses a five-inch color LCD screen. The next trim is the Sport. It's where the HR-V gets the standard seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and Pandora compatibility. The EX and EX-L each have six speakers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and HD Radio.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


Driving is made safer with modern vehicles equipped with the latest safety features. Passengers are protected from harm by three-point seatbelts and multiple airbags, while rear view cameras help drivers be more aware of their surroundings. Traction control and stability control systems respond to risk instantly for greater peace of mind on the roads; most importantly, brake assist applies maximum pressure when a driver has pressed down hard so that sudden stops can be achieved quickly in emergencies.

The HR-V and CX-3 have even greater potential to increase safety beyond their use in emergencies. These components are designed to proactively enhance driver wellbeing, allowing for a more confident experience behind the wheel.

For instance, the Mazda CX-3 has blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. These systems can watch out for vehicles that may be difficult, or even impossible, for the driver to see, and they can alert drivers to dangerous situations. The CX-3 can slow itself down if it seems like its approaching another vehicle or a pedestrian too quickly; right before this happens, a warning would be issued with the hopes that the driver could take action to remedy the situation. The CX-3 also has adaptive cruise control, which means that it can adjust its speed if necessary to maintain proper distancing, and it has lane departure warning.

The Honda HR-V features an array of driver assist technologies, exclusive to its top two trims. Not only will these systems alert drivers if they are drifting out of their lanes - the higher trim versions can provide gentle steering corrections for re-centering purposes.

Which Has the Best Value?

When thinking about value, it's necessary to examine prices. The Mazda CX-3 starts at $20,790. With the Honda, things are more complex since there are four trims. The LX costs $21,220, the Sport is priced at $23,170, the EX starts at $24,420, and the EX-L is the most premium trim with a price of $26,020. Getting all-wheel drive on any of these trims from either company costs approximately $1,500.

The Mazda CX-3 is an impressive option when it comes to budget vehicles. Its base trim offers superior value compared with the Honda HR-V, and boasts some advanced safety tech that isn’t available in other models at this price bracket - like LED headlights with auto leveling capabilities as well as remote entry and automatic climate control. The icing on the cake? An athletic rear spoiler completes its sleek look!

The first two trims of the Honda have some of these same elements, but they only have halogen headlights and manual climate control. The Sport, though, does have fog lights and black underbody spoilers to enhance its appearance, and it has sport pedals and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter.

The top half of the Honda lineup stands out much more than the lower half, mainly because these trims have driver-assist technologies and many extra components like power moonroofs and heated side mirrors. Starting with the EX, there are automatic climate control systems, push button start, and heated front seats.

Experience a seamless connection to your car when you use smart entry technology. No need for buttons or keypads—simply walk up and touch the sensor on the door handle of your vehicle, allowing it to recognize that you're nearby and unlock without a hitch!

Upgrade to the 2021 EX-L and experience sophisticated luxury with its leather upholstery, plus gain convenient features like an automatic dimming rearview mirror. Decide if these enhanced amenities are worth it for you!

Which is Better?

Both the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX3 offer drivers a unique variety of features, making them ideal choices for different lifestyles. Those looking for more traditional SUV qualities may find themselves drawn to the larger size, higher ground clearance and spacious interior of the HR-V - perfect for those who need plenty of room during their journey. Meanwhile, those seeking something with sportier specs would likely be better off considering Mazda's offering due its lower profile design choice and flexibility on various terrain types.

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 offers the best of both worlds, combining an aerodynamic exterior with a more compact and lower to the ground frame. This combination is enhanced by its standard driver-assist systems as well as an ultra modern infotainment system that rivals even higher end vehicles. Not only does it offer great style but also upgraded responsiveness over comparable models such as 2021 Honda HR-V - making this crossover vehicle one of top choices on today's market!

Price and available trim levels are going to be key factors as well. Those who like having choices will be happier with the Honda HR-V since there are four trims to choose from. The top two have many upscale amenities that make them feel luxurious. The lower trims don't have as many advantages, but they still have very comfortable cabins and generous cargo capacity, and they can prove to be reliable.

For those looking for a more spacious option than the typical compact SUV, the 2021 Honda HR-V offers plenty of customization with its range of trims. Alternatively, the 2021 Mazda CX-3 is an ideal choice if you're in search for that stylish edge without breaking your budget - it may not have all bells and whistles but comes loaded with tech packages to make sure you don't miss out on any feature!

Used 2021 Honda HR-V: