Why the 2021 Mazda CX-3 Can’t Compete Against the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 and 2021 Subaru Crosstrek are subcompact SUVs that are only kind of in competition with one another. While the CX-3 has loads of safety features, it can’t really compete with the Crosstrek’s combination of a great road test score and comfort. Let’s look at what else makes the Crosstrek a much better choice than the CX-3. 

A red 2021 Subaru Crosstrek with mountains in the background.
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek’s road test score blows away the 2021 Mazda CX-3

Consumer Reports gives the Crosstrek an 87 to the CX-3’s 64. To perform the road test, Consumer Reports purchases vehicles and then runs more than 50 tests on them at their huge site in Connecticut. These tests include things like handling, braking, and even comfort. 

Consumer Reports gives the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek a pretty good 3/5 for its acceleration. It can reach 0 to 60 in 10.2 seconds, which is slower than the CX-3’s 9.6 seconds. The Crosstrek’s transmission scores a 4/5. Routine and emergency handling both receive a very good 4/5, with a max avoidance speed of 55 mph. 

The CX-3 also gets a 5/5 for transmission, and so does its routine handling. Emergency handling is just a 4/5, though overall the handling is better int he CX-3. Its max avoidance speed is similar, at 54 mph. 

The Subaru Crosstrek gets a perfect 5/5 for its braking. It can brake from 60 mph on dry pavement in 125 feet and 136 feet on wet pavement. The Crosstrek’s headlights only score a 3/5.

The Mazda CX-3 gets an almost perfect 4/5 for its braking. It can brake from 60 mph on dry pavement in 135 feet and 148 feet on wet pavement. The CX-3’s headlights also only score a 3/5.

Comfort in the 2021 Mazda CX-3 and 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is where things really differ

While their performance may be somewhat similar, the comfort scores in the CX-3 and Crosstrek are very dissimilar. 

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 gets an okay 3/5 for its ride, as well as for noise. Front-seat comfort is also okay, at a 3/5. Rear seat comfort gets only a 2/5. 

Interior fit and finish get a very good 3/5. The trunk and cargo space scores only a 1/5, with just 18 cubic feet of storage space. In their road test results, Consumer Reports notes that this isn’t the right car for family road trips. 

On the other hand, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek gets a very good 4/5 for its ride. It’s also fairly quiet: it scores a 4 for its noise. Unfortunately, front-seat comfort is lacking, with just a 3/5. Rear seat comfort gets a 4/5.

Interior fit and finish get an okay 3. The trunk and cargo space scores only a 2/5, with just 27.5 cubic feet of storage space. While this may not be much, it’s a lot more than the CX-3.

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 comes out on top of safety features

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 comes standard with a decent amount of safety features. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking for the city and highway, lane departure warning, blindspot warning, rear cross traffic warning, and pedestrian detection are all standard in the 2021 Mazda CX-3. So are a rear view camera, anti lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and daytime running lights. Lane keeping assistance isn’t available.

On the other hand, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comes standard with surprisingly few safety features. Only a rear view camera, anti lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and daytime running lights are standard. 

Optional are forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking for the city and highway, lane keeping assistance, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning. 

Both the IIHS and NHTSA have crash-tested the 2021 Mazda CX-3. The IIHS gives it all good ratings. The NHTSA gives it five stars for everything except for its rollover rating. The rating for both the 2WD and 4WD rollover is four stars.

Both the IIHS and NHTSA have crash-tested the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek. The IIHS gives it all good ratings. The NHTSA gives it five stars for overall crash, but just four stars for overall frontal-crash, overall frontal-crash: driver, and overall frontal-crash: passenger side. The overall side crash, overall side crash: driver and passenger sides, and side pole crash are all five stars. The rating for the 4WD rollover is four stars.

Overall, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek has higher ratings than the 2021 Mazda CX-3. Still, safety features in the CX-3 are more plentiful, and crash test ratings vary between the two. While the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is undoubtedly a good choice, the 2021 Mazda CX-3 isn’t necessarily a bad choice, either. 

RELATED: Why Does Consumer Reports Prefer the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek to the 2021 Mazda CX-30?