2020 Mazda CX-3 vs. Nissan Rogue Sport: You Can’t Go Wrong

America’s love affair with midsize sedans replaced this notion with a newfound love for sports utility vehicles. More than 70 percent of automobiles sold in the United States last year were SUVs. With this lion’s share of the market, auto manufacturers are working faster than ever to unveil new and improved vehicles’ features.

Two such companies, Nissan and Mazda, are part of the race to the heap’s top. The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport and 2020 Mazda CX-3 are solid choices for a quality, dependable vehicle. It’s easy to see why industry experts say that you can’t go wrong with either model. But, which one offers the better value?

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport 

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport does everything decently well but doesn’t do anything to stand out. Consumer Reports gave the 4-door SUV an overall score of 78 with a predicted reliability rating of 83. The Rogue Sport is ranked third in a crowded subcompact sport-utility vehicle segment of 14 vehicles.

The Sport edition is a smaller and slower version of the Nissan Rogue, which Consumer Reports refers to as an “easy-to-drive, family-friendly vehicle.” Offering a spacious cabin, the condensed Sport model, in comparison, provides less room for car seats and is designed with a younger urban consumer in mind.

The comfortable ride of the Rogue Sport has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 141 hp. This small engine limits performance, taking 10.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. The responsive handling falls short of being “sporty” and left road testers feeling uninspired.

2020 Mazda CX-3

The number 4 spot of the subcompact sport-utility vehicle segment is the 2020 Mazda CX-3 with a Consumer Reports overall score of 73. With a predicted reliability rating of 89 percent, the CX-3 beat out most of the competition for past performance data.

With a starting price of $20,640, the 2020 Mazda CX-3 is fun to drive but lacks interior space. Consumer Reports said that “driving it puts a smile on your face.” That’s because of the agile handling that allows for an enjoyable ride. Unlike the harsh, loud ride offered by competitors, the CX-3 delivers a “rewarding driving experience.”

The four-cylinder engine offers powerful performance for a small SUV and has a fuel economy of 28 mpg overall. The lack of interior space in the CX-3 can be a deterrent for those looking for a roomier cabin. Shoulder and elbow room is at a premium, and the driver and passenger seating feels snug and limiting. Obstructed visibility and hard to use control knobs hinder the CX-3’s ability to beat out the competition.

Which SUV is the better value?

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport offers standard automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning systems. The SUV offers an unimpressive fuel economy estimate of just 26 MPG overall. The interior is more comfortable and better designed than most of its competitors. Consumer Reports’ impression noted, “While it’s among the quietest and most substantial models in its segment, it’s not the roomiest nor the most fuel-efficient.”

Consumer Reports claims the 2020 Mazda CX-3 demonstrates a quality that “trounces the most competitors.” As with the Rogue Sport, Mazda offers standard automatic emergency braking, safety warning systems, and adaptive cruise control. When it comes to performance, the CX-3 is more eager to take the twists and turns of the road with ease, and the smaller turning radius makes it easier to park in tight spaces.

The 2020 Mazda CX-3 is a better overall value, with powerful performance, better fuel economy, and a stylish interior. It is priced considerably lower than the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport, which has an MSRP of $23,430. While both vehicles are good choices for a subcompact SUV, the 2020 Mazda CX-3 comes up stronger in side-by-side comparisons.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between the Mazda CX-3 and the Mazda CX-30?