Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4×4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul – Comparison Tests

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In the beginning, God may have created the ­heavens and the Earth, but it was Cambrian metazoan hookup culture that gave us the basis of most life-forms we know today. In the 550 million or so years since the Cambrian explosion, science tells us, just about every organism that ever existed has gone extinct. The lucky minority adapted, survived, and—skipping way ahead to the good part—became you and me. Automotive archeologists of the future will find in the fossil record of the early-21st-century evidence of a simi­lar explosion of new life-forms, with the emerging tiny-ute class being one bewilderingly diverse phylum.

All six wee boxes here bear traces of subcompact-hatchback DNA. The segment leader, the Kia Soul, shares its underpinnings with the Kia Rio. Renewed in 2014, the Soul took first place in a previous comparison testand is also the market’s favorite, with the American public annually snapping up more than 100,000 of these Korean parcels. Soul pricing starts just over $16,000, while the Soul + tested here—with its 164-hp 2.0-liter four, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and starting, and heated and ventilated front seats—rings in at $24,750. It’s the only vehicle in this gathering that isn’t four-wheel drive, because Kia doesn’t offer it that way.

Like the Soul, the Jeep Renegade has the profile of a car drawn by a four-year-old—a short rectangle atop a longer one atop some circular wheels. All-new for 2015, the Renegade shares its platform with the Fiat 500X, right down to its 101.2-inch wheelbase. With the test’s most powerful engine—also shared with the Fiat—sending 180 horsepower through a nine-speed automatic transmission, our Renegade Latitude 4×4 stickers at $26,360.

Still upright, but less of a cubist’s delight, is the Chevrolet Trax. Buick, of all brands, was one of the pioneers in the subcompact-crossover class. After sales of the Buick Encore surprised the suits, General Motors made the call to start shipping the more affordable Chevy—already available overseas—to the States. The $15,000 Sonic lends its platform and its 1.4-liter turbocharged four. Our four-wheel-drive LT checks in at $25,540.

The Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3 serve as the rectilinear subset’s foils. Their sculpted bodies suggest an athleticism that, if realized, ought to give them a leg up on the box-car set. From certain angles, the new-for-2016 Fiat 500X has the look of an embryonic Porsche Macan. The Easy trim level is just the second of five tiers, but this one is loaded with Beats audio, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, and a rearview camera. It rings in just shy of 30 grand, at $29,100.

It’s rare that a class of vehicle just explodes into being with such wildly divergent looks and characteristics.

If there’s such a thing as provenance in the $16,000-economy-car gene pool, the Honda HR-V has it. Based on the Fit, it boasts that seven-time10Bester’s outsized interior-space measurements and flexibility. The Fit itself was redone for 2015, its already colossal (for the class) interior benefiting from a 1.2-inch wheelbase stretch. The HR-V tugs the axles an additional 3.2 inches apart, so we’re expecting positively limousinelike stretch-out space. Fully loaded at $26,720, the Honda verges on Korean value standards.

Or maybe the Mazda CX-3 has the chromosomal hot ticket. It traces its roots to the Mazda 2, a cannonball of underpowered fun that, as of the 2016 model year, is no longer sold in the U.S. So if you want one, this is the form it now takes—and what a lovely form it is. With its long hood stretching in front of a cab-rearward greenhouse, the CX-3 certainly looks the sportiest. Pricing starts at just over $20,000, but this moderately optioned, four-wheel-drive Touring model rings up at $25,500.

We don’t have a Nissan Juke here because that early (and weird) subcompact-crossover experiment already lost a comparison test to the Mini Countryman. And we don’t have a Countryman here because Mini was unable to provide a competitively priced example. Even without them, our roster is already teeming with life.

Sixth: 2015 Chevrolet Trax LT AWD

Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul

It’s been years since we gathered a group of vehicles wherein the quickest car needed more than eight seconds to hit 60 mph. In the Trax, the slowest of our competitors, zero to 60 isn’t so much a sprint as it is a 10-year goal. We can’t remember the last time we pulled behind a city bus stopped at a red light instead of taking the adjacent open lane because we didn’t think we’d beat said bus off the line. Given the dearth of power, it’s particularly surprising that the six-speed automatic zings convincing downshifts in manual mode. But the driver calls for those shifts using a toggle switch on the side of the shifter, which is about as engaging as literally calling for shifts by hollering at the car. “Downshift! Upshift! [Wait for rpm to climb.] Up . . . [wait a little longer] shift!” Guess we’ll just leave it in automatic mode.

While the Chevrolet’s 51 cubic feet of front-passenger space and 42 in the back are impressive, so capacious is its class that those figures don’t stand out in this test. But the Chevrolet’s upright seating position and low beltline grant the driver excellent sightlines, and there’s so much headroom that even our tallest tester noted that he could drive the Trax with an apple on his head. Also, the Trax topped our back-seat-comfort rankings with two people aboard, although when we added a third, the middle passenger had to lean his shoulders forward in order to clear the outboard riders.

The Trax expresses traits long associated with the genus Rental-carus: Excessively loud vocalizations, extreme lethargy, contagious melancholia, and a dull coat. If it weren’t for all its competitors, the Trax would be the fittest for survival.

Spacious as it is, the Trax’s cabin is rendered in materials that lag markedly behind the others tested. Flashing on the interior panels betrays where their molds parted, and while the circular dash vents look cool, in operation they feel like they’re grinding through a layer of kitty litter. The Trax rides comfortably enough and handles more competently than its skyscraper proportions suggest, but as we drove each of its competitors it slid further down our list. Its rental-fleet shape sets low expectations that it has no problem fulfilling. But its competitors are better.

Fifth: 2016 Honda HR-V EX-L AWD

Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul

The HR-V is based on the most decorated nameplate of any car here (the Fit), has the largest cargo hold and back seat, offers a competitively sized front seat, and is tied with the Kia and Mazda for nicest interior fit and finish. Not only does it have a spacious back bench, but the gentle upward slope of the floorpan beneath the front seats (to accommodate the under-floor fuel tank) means that back-seat ­riders can rest their sneakers on what resembles a six-figure luxury sedan’s rear footrests.

But the HR-V’s driving experience leaves much to be desired. Its 141 horsepower is three more than the weakest-in-test Trax, but the Honda’s 127 pound-feet gives up 21 to the Chevy and peaks nearly 2500 rpm later. The HR-V’s mooing CVT emphasizes just how hard the 1.8-liter works even while making little speed. Roll into the throttle when already underway, and you have to toe in deeply before the transmission starts to unwind rpm, which come on at such a leisurely pace that it ought to be wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Around town, the CVT lugs the engine at 1000 rpm, a speed that gently vibrates the entire car. There are paddle shifters, but the transmission does a disingenuous impression of a manual, with slow, drawn-out shifts. And while the compliant suspension grants the HR-V a comfortable highway ride, there’s nothing about the chassis or the steering that tells the driver much about what’s happening under the car.

Based on the same platform as our one-time favorite economy car, the Fit, the HR-V inherits none of that vehicle’s verve. It’s just a cushy little mushball with video-game steering and a drone-inducing CVT. It does, however, have the largest cargo hold in the tiny-ute class.

Much of its packaging disappoints, too. The sweptback windshield seems aimed at the driver’s forehead, forcing taller ones to adopt a similarly raked driving position. Combine that with a bottom seat cushion that angles forward and driving the Honda feels like doing the limbo. Despite its best-in-test rear-seat volume, the HR-V’s aggressive roofline cuts into headroom. Compared with the Honda Fit, which leads the industry for clown-car capacity, the HR-V is a blatant compromise. We found no storage bin or cubbyhole even big enough to stash our standard-issue reporter’s notebooks.

That’s what bothers us most about the HR-V: It’s entering into a competitive new space, but ignoring the fierce competition in its own showroom. It’s slower than the Fit and its fuel economy isn’t as good, but in exchange, you get less useful space. Might as well just get a Fit.

Fourth: 2016 Fiat 500X Easy AWD

Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul

Fiat is the perfect foreign partner for Mopar. The company that used to add cartoon-character decals to cars painted Top Banana and Sassy Grass, and named a special-edition pickup the Warlock, makes a fitting match for the company that produced the original, highly cheeky Cinquecento. And in this class of outsized personalities, the fraternal twins of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are something special.

Both the Fiat 500X and the Jeep Renegade highlight this class’s car-based roots with sure-footed, near-neutral handling; firm brake pedals; and steering wheels that at least hint to the driver at what’s going on down below. And the Tigershark 2.4-liter that the two share boasts the test’s highest output, along with a rumble gruff enough to match its bombastic name.

And yet the two mudskippers’ perform­ances varied. The Fiat’s Nexen-brand Korean rubber outlasted the Jeep’s Kumhos on the skidpad by a little and outstopped them by a lot. While the Jeep has a tippy feel thanks to a center of gravity proportional to its loftiest-in-test roofline, the comparatively taut Italian suffers its own kind of imperfect body control with paradigm-shifting head toss. We felt like sailors in a squall. Crest a hump wrong and you are battered senseless against the foremast—er, B-pillar.

Or maybe your head will just splinter the foremast. The 500X will change nobody’s perception of Italian build quality. Many of the plastic interior surfaces are hard and hollow, and while the gray door-panel pleather feels natural, it’s not the natural leather that it feels like. More like cold, dead skin before it’s turned into leather—and not necessarily cow skin. Maybe dolphin. Or fat Uncle Carl. It puts the lotion squarely in the basket.

In profile, the Fiat 500X looks like a knock-off Porsche Macan, which is to say it doesn’t look much like an SUV. If you want your 500X to look more off-roady, you’ll have to spring for the “Trekking” model, which has more silvery plastic on the nose.

The infotainment screen and, more important, the central instrument-panel display wash out completely in direct sunlight. And with the Fiat’s massive two-row sunroof, you get a lot of sunlight.

That $1700 option not only helped bloat the sticker price of this example to more than what you’d pay for a very nice one-size-up Honda CR-V, it also further cut into headroom that’s already hurting from the Fiat’s stylishly swept roofline. Bolt-upright seatbacks already thrust rear-seat passengers’ heads into the ceiling; with the sunroof, it becomes a kids-only affair in the back. Chrysler has a charming history of not taking itself too seriously. But if Fiat doesn’t ratchet up its quality in a hurry, it will find that customers don’t take it seriously, either.

Third: 2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude 4×4

Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul

Jeeps tend to do well in our comparison testing—unless they’re car-based Jeeps. Then, they tend to be in last place. But the Renegade has a back-road willingness absent not only in other Jeep products, but also in most vehicles not wearing overt sport branding. Its steering is nicely weighted and quick, and there’s a hint of hot hatch in the succinct damper strokes.

The Jeep’s seats were our favorite on the highway, though they lack the high-g support of the Mazda’s. Among the many Easter eggs incorporated in the Renegade’s design, the most appropriate one is the half-inch Sasquatch silhouette striding across the rear-window tint, just above the wiper. We like to think he’s strolling back to his Renegade, the only one of its class with room for the missus and a pair of Squatchlets. The Jeep’s 55 cubic feet of passenger space up front and 45 out back are more than you’d find in a Mercedes-Benz E-class. While our Jeep’s brown, gray, and orange interior would look out of place in a Benz, it’s also conspicuously rich for this price-conscious segment. And the Jeep’s styling is ambitiously adventurous, despite it enshrouding the vehicle with the fewest extras.

Yes, the Renegade is pretty much just a car engaging in elaborate cosplay, but we are charmed by the little bugger anyway. The cubic design allows for excellent cargo and passenger space. Its chassis is much more competent than we expected it to be.

An engine that actually pulls all the way to redline, and sounds good doing it, lends an upscale feel. The 2.4’s burly vocals never fray, again putting us in the new position of ranking anything about a car-based Jeep among the best in its class. Too bad we can’t say the same about the transmission. Something tells us ZF intended this unit for applications with more than 175 pound-feet of torque, especially if those things weigh nearly 3400 pounds. Leave it in auto and it always seems to be in the wrong gear. As in other applications of the ZF nine-speed, shifts are alternately harsh and slurred. The trans hunts around between eighth and ninth a lot on the highway, and needs to get down to at least seventh to maintain speed on even slight grades. It also responds lethargically to manual commands and won’t accept multiple manual downshifts. So if you start in ninth and want to get down to an appropriate gear for passing on a two-lane, start slapping the stick a good quarter-mile before that passing zone. Too bad the manual transmission isn’t available with the 2.4-liter because it, too, is a carlike kind of good.

Second: 2015 Kia Soul +

Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul

No other vehicle in this comparison existed prior to 2015; the Soul arrived for the 2010 model year. That’s given it plenty of time to develop while the rest are still settling major evolutionary issues such as gills versus lungs. The Kia ethos: Throw in a lot of extras at a low price. As the cheapest in the test, the Soul packs in more extras than anything else here, except the nearly $30,000 Fiat. Cooled seats alone should be worth 10 points in our final scoring if the vehicle is the only one to have them. It also has a huge, two-row sunroof as well as heated rear seats, outside mirrors, and steering wheel.

Whereas Kia used to package all its extra content in cheap, flimsy plastics, there’s hardly an off note anywhere in the 2015 Soul’s roomy cabin. From the soft-touch dash to the simple, easy-to-read gauges to the satin-silver-trim rings on the plentiful circular elements in the interior, it’s all obsessively designed and rendered in high-quality materials.

The Soul is no apex predator, but neither is it a possum, pooping itself and slipping into a coma when threatened. Its mantra seems to be “cush without slop, confidence without verve.” The steering is nicely weighted, but there’s not a lot of effort buildup or feedback through the wheel. It’s happiest gliding down the highway, not scorching down a remote two-lane (more likely in search of a restroom than fun). It goes where you want and mostly does what you ask, but there’s an isolation between driver and road that doesn’t egg you on.

Kia’s 2.0-liter is quiet at idle and willing enough under full throttle, though it, too, makes it clear that you’re not in a Volkswagen GTI. The transmission takes its time with shifts, but with just six ratios, it’s never far from the right one. Even though the Kia trails the FCA twins in output, it’ll beat both in a drag race. Confidence without verve indeed.

Kia’s been at this game the longest, and it shows. There’s little to gripe about in this attractively designed, reasonably priced, and well-equipped box. For snow country, a set of winter tires will more than compensate for the Soul’s lack of four-wheel drive.

Eye-catching design in and out sets high expectations, and the rest of the car performs well enough not to dissuade you from your opinion. Rarely are we so smitten with a vehicle that makes so little effort to engage the driver, but rarely do we encounter such a fully realized, personable, and funky commuter.

First: 2016 Mazda CX-3 Touring AWD

Mazda CX-3 AWD vs. Fiat 500X AWD, Honda HR-V AWD, Jeep Renegade 4x4, Chevrolet Trax AWD, Kia Soul

From its wagonlike appearance to its seating position to the overall driving experience, the CX-3 is an awful lot like the 10Best-winning Mazda 3. It’s 7.3 inches shorter and 1.1 inches narrower, but 3.4 inches taller. The black-plastic cladding around the wheel wells and along the rockers butches it up a little, but this vehicle is easily the weakest nod to the whole crossover/SUV pantomime. This is a tall car, period. Limited ground clearance means that its four-wheel drive is strictly an inclement-weather system, but the same goes for the rest of the group. A heavy, soaking rain just days prior made our deep-woods photo shoot plenty tense. While no car got stuck, none is equipped with tires optimized for anything more extreme than commuting in light snow.

Mazda’s suspension tuning is spot on. Body roll is minimal and rebound is firm and controlled, but the ride is taut without being abusive. Lightest by 153 pounds, the CX-3 undercuts the test’s heavyweight, the Renegade, by nearly a quarter-ton. With power and torque both in the bottom half of the scorecard, the Mazda nonetheless was the quickest and fastest. Not surprisingly, it also recorded the best observed fuel economy. The engine makes a pleasant mid-range oogle, but by the time it hits redline, it’s clear that this is a commuter engine, not a sports-car mill. But Mazda’s transmission throws a bone to enthusiast drivers, with a crisp manual actuation that calls up immediate shifts.

Having less weight to manage no doubt helped produce the test’s highest slalom speed. But with its tragicomically small 16-inch tires, not only does the Mazda look a bit awkward, it needed 181 feet to stop from 70 mph, tying the Jeep for worst. Upgrading to the sportier 18-inchers might improve that number and would certainly help the look.

To larger drivers, though, the Mazda can feel like a seven-eighths–scale car, with a narrow driver’s seat that presses broader shoulders up against the B-pillar and puts knees tight into the door panel and center console. In the back seat, with his knees buried in the front seatbacks and head pressed hard into the headliner, technical editor Eric Tingwall, at 6 feet 2 inches, looked like a casting waiting to be popped from a mold.

We know handling prowess is not top-of-mind for most mini-suv buyers. But if we have the choice between a mini SUV that is fun to drive and one that is not, we will choose fun every time. Certainly when that’s combined with best-in-test acceleration and fuel economy.

If you fit, the CX-3 is a lovely place to be. Mazda’s combination of interior design and materials is unbeatable. Our example’s two-tone black-and-charcoal seats were trimmed with red piping, echoing red accents on the door panels and in the air vents. Those spherical vents have a zero-g feel, as though they’re suspended in outer space.

It’s this insistence on perfection in all things big and small that gives the CX-3 the win; its maker’s sixth straight comparison-test victory. We’re witnessing the birth of a new dominant species all right—not necessarily the subcompact crossover, but Mazda.

COMPARISON TESTS

VEHICLE
2015 Chevrolet
Trax LT
AWD
2016 Fiat
500X Easy
AWD
2016 Honda
HR-V EX-L
AWD
2015 Jeep
Renegade
Latitude
4×4
2015 Kia
SouL +
2016 Mazda
CX-3
Touring
AWD
BASE PRICE $24,820 $25,100 $26,720 $24,290 $19,515 $24,090
PRICE AS TESTED $25,540 $29,100 $26,720 $26,360 $24,750 $25,500
DIMENSIONS
LENGTH 168.5 inches 167.2 inches 169.1 inches 166.6 inches 163.0 inches 168.3 inches
WIDTH 69.9 inches 70.7 inches 69.8 inches 74.3 inches 70.9 inches 69.6 inches
HEIGHT 65.9 inches 63.7 inches 63.2 inches 66.5 inches 63.0 inches 60.7 inches
WHEELBASE 100.6 inches 101.2 inches 102.8 inches 101.2 inches 101.2 inches 101.2 inches
FRONT TRACK 60.6 inches 60.7 inches 60.4 inches 60.6 inches 61.7 inches 60.0 inches
REAR TRACK 60.6 inches 60.7 inches 60.6 inches 60.6 inches 62.2 inches 59.9 inches
INTERIOR VOLUME F: 51 cubic feet
R: 42 cubic feet
F: 51 cubic feet
R: 40 cubic feet
F: 51 cubic feet
R: 47 cubic feet
F: 55 cubic feet
R: 45 cubic feet
F: 50 cubic feet
R: 47 cubic feet
F: 49 cubic feet
R: 38 cubic feet
CARGO BEHIND F: 48 cubic feet
R: 19 cubic feet
F: 32 cubic feet
R: 12 cubic feet
F: 56 cubic feet
R: 23 cubic feet
F: 51 cubic feet
R: 19 cubic feet
F: 50 cubic feet
R: 19 cubic feet
F: 42 cubic feet
R: 12 cubic feet
POWERTRAIN
ENGINE turbocharged DOHC 16-valve inline-4
83 cu in (1364 cc)
SOHC 16-valve inline-4
144 cu in (2360 cc)
SOHC 16-valve inline-4
110 cu in (1799 cc)
SOHC 16-valve inline-4
144 cu in (2360 cc)
DOHC 16-valve inline-4
122 cu in (1999 cc)
DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-capable inline-4
122 cu in (1998 cc)
POWER HP @ RPM 138 @ 4900 180 @ 6400 141 @ 6500 180 @ 6400 164 @ 6200 146 @ 6000
TORQUE LB-FT @ RPM 148 @ 1850 175 @ 3900 127 @ 4300 175 @ 3900 151 @ 4000 146 @ 2800
REDLINE / FUEL CUTOFF 6500/6500 rpm 6500/6500 rpm 6750/6750 rpm 6750/6500 rpm 6800/6500 rpm 6800/6800 rpm
LB PER HP 23.6 18.7 22.0 18.9 18.8 20.1
DRIVELINE
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic 9-speed automatic CVT 9-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
DRIVEN WHEELS all all all all front all
GEAR RATIO:1/
MPH PER 1000 RPM/
MAX MPH
1 4.58/4.9/32
2 2.96/7.5/49
3 1.91/11.7/76
4 1.45/15.4/100
5 1.00/22.3/115
6 0.75/29.8/110
1 4.71/4.3/28
2 2.84/7.1/46
3 1.91/10.6/69
4 1.38/14.7/96
5 1.00/20.3/120
6 0.81/25.0/115
7 0.70/29.0/105
8 0.58/35.0/92
9 0.48/42.3/85
Low: 2.53/5.5/37
High: 0.41/34.0/117
1 4.71/4.5/29
2 2.84/7.5/49
3 1.91/11.4/74
4 1.38/15.5/101
5 1.00/21.7/114
6 0.81/26.6/109
7 0.70/30.0/99
8 0.58/37.4/86
9 0.48/44.0/79
1 4.40/5.3/34
2 2.73/8.5/55
3 1.83/12.7/83
4 1.39/16.7/109
5 1.00/23.2/116
6 0.78/29.8/110
1 3.55/4.9/33
2 2.02/8.6/58
3 1.45/12.0/82
4 1.00/17.4/118
5 0.71/24.5/120
6 0.60/29.0/115
AXLE RATIO:1 3.53 3.73 5.44 3.73 3.27 4.33
CHASSIS
SUSPENSION F: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: torsion beam, coil springs
F: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
F: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: torsion beam, coil springs, anti-roll bar
F: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
F: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: torsion beam, coil springs
F: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: torsion beam, coil springs
BRAKES F: 11.8-inch vented disc
R: 10.6-inch disc
F: 12.0-inch vented disc
R: 11.0-inch disc
F: 11.5-inch vented disc
R: 11.1-inch disc
F: 12.0-inch vented disc
R: 11.0-inch disc
F: 11.0-inch vented disc
R: 10.3-inch disc
F: 11.0-inch vented disc
R: 11.1-inch disc
STABILITY CONTROL partially defeatable, traction off partially defeatable partially defeatable partially defeatable, traction off partially defeatable traction off
TIRES Continental ContiProContact
P205/70R-16 96H
M+S
Nexen Classe Premiere CP671
215/60R-17 96T
M+S
Michelin Primacy MXV4
215/55R-17 94V
M+S
Kumho Crugen Premium
225/55R-18 98H
M+S
Kumho Solus TA31
215/55R-17 94V
M+S
Yokohama Avid S34
P215/60R-16 94H
M+S
C/D TEST
RESULTS
ACCELERATION
0–30 MPH 3.2 sec 3.0 sec 3.7 sec 3.1 sec 2.9 sec 2.8 sec
0–60 MPH 9.8 sec 8.7 sec 9.3 sec 9.1 sec 8.5 sec 8.1 sec
0–100 MPH 36.6 sec 28.0 sec 29.1 sec 32.9 sec 26.5 sec 23.8 sec
0–110 MPH 40.3 sec 45.6 sec 32.5 sec
¼-MILE @ MPH 17.5 sec @ 79 16.8 sec @ 82 17.4 sec @ 82 17.0 sec @ 81 16.7 sec @ 84 16.3 sec @ 86
ROLLING START, 5–60 MPH 10.3 sec 9.0 sec 9.8 sec 9.9 sec 8.6 sec 8.3 sec
TOP GEAR, 30–50 MPH 5.1 sec 4.6 sec 4.8 sec 4.8 sec 4.0 sec 3.9 sec
TOP GEAR, 50–70 MPH 7.0 sec 6.1 sec 6.7 sec 6.6 sec 6.1 sec 5.7 sec
TOP SPEED 115 mph (drag ltd) 120 mph (gov ltd) 117 mph (drag ltd) 114 mph (drag ltd) 116 mph (drag ltd) 120 mph (drag ltd)
CHASSIS
BRAKING 70–0 MPH 169 feet 163 feet 170 feet 181 feet 167 feet 181 feet
ROADHOLDING,
300-FT-DIA SKIDPAD
0.72 g* 0.78 g* 0.84 g* 0.74 g* 0.78 g* 0.81 g*
610-FT SLALOM 38.5 mph* 39.6 mph* 39.7 mph* 38.5 mph* 38.9 mph* 42.1 mph*
WEIGHT
CURB 3256 pounds 3361 pounds 3106 pounds 3395 pounds 3085 pounds 2932 pounds
%FRONT/%REAR 60.7/39.3 60.3/39.7 59.8/40.2 59.9/40.1 60.9/39.1 59.8/40.2
CG HEIGHT 24.5 inches 25.0 inches 25.0 inches 26.0 inches 25.0 inches 22.5 inches
FUEL
TANK 14.0 gallons 12.7 gallons 13.2 gallons 12.7 gallons 14.2 gallons 11.9 gallons
RATING 87 octane 87 octane 87 octane 87 octane 87 octane 87 octane
EPA CITY/HWY 24/31 mpg 21/30 mpg 27/32 mpg 21/29 mpg 23/31 mpg 27/32 mpg
C/D 300-MILE TRIP 23 mpg 24 mpg 26 mpg 25 mpg 25 mpg 28 mpg
PRACTICAL STOWAGE
NO. OF 9 X 11 X 16-IN BOXES, SEATS UP/FOLDED 10/31 6/24 14/37 12/37 7/31 7/22
LENGTH OF PIPE 115.3 inches 110.3 inches 115.8 inches 119.5 inches 118.8 inches 112.0 inches
LARGEST FLAT PANEL, LENGTH X WIDTH 57.5 x 39.5 inches 59.5 x 37.8 inches 64.0 x 39.5 inches 60.5 x 37.5 inches 57.5 x 41.5 inches 56.5 x 39.0 inches
SOUND LEVEL
IDLE 42 dBA 41 dBA 41 dBA 40 dBA 36 dBA 39 dBA
FULL THROTTLE 78 dBA 73 dBA 77 dBA 74 dBA 77 dBA 78 dBA
70-MPH CRUISE 71 dBA 69 dBA 71 dBA 70 dBA 69 dBA 71 dBA

* stability-control inhibited

Final Results
VEHICLE
RANK

Max Pts. Available

1

2016 Mazda
CX-3
Touring
AWD

2

2015
Kia
SouL +

3

2015 Jeep
Renegade
Latitude
4×4

4

2016 Fiat
500X Easy
AWD

5

2016 Honda
HR-V EX-L
AWD

6

2015 Chevrolet
Trax LT
AWD

DRIVER COMFORT 10 8 8 9 7 5 8
ERGONOMICS 10 9 9 8 7 6 6
REAR-SEAT COMFORT 5 2 4 4 2 3 4
REAR-SEAT SPACE* 5 2 5 4 3 5 3
CARGO SPACE* 5 3 4 4 1 5 4
FEATURES/AMENITIES* 10 6 9 5 10 7 5
FIT AND FINISH 10 8 8 7 6 8 5
INTERIOR STYLING 10 9 8 9 7 7 4
EXTERIOR STYLING 10 8 8 9 7 5 3
REBATES/EXTRAS* 5 0 1 0 0 0 0
AS-TESTED PRICE* 20 19 20 19 16 18 19
SUBTOTAL 100 74 84 78 66 69 61

POWERTRAIN
1/4-MILE ACCELERATION* 20 20 18 17 18 15 14
FLEXIBILITY* 5 5 5 3 4 4 4
FUEL ECONOMY* 10 10 7 7 6 8 5
ENGINE NVH 10 7 7 8 8 6 6
TRANSMISSION 10 9 8 7 7 4 6
SUBTOTAL 55 51 45 42 43 37 35

CHASSIS
PERFORMANCE* 20 18 17 15 18 19 15
STEERING FEEL 10 9 6 6 6 5 6
BRAKE FEEL 10 9 7 7 7 6 6
HANDLING 10 10 6 7 7 5 5
RIDE 10 8 8 8 7 8 6
SUBTOTAL 60 54 44 43 45 43 38

EXPERIENCE
FUN TO DRIVE 25 22 15 16 14 11 9

GRAND TOTAL
240
201
188
179
168
160
143

* These objective scores are calculated from the vehicle’s dimensions, capacities, rebates and extras, and/or test results.

(caranddriver.com)

 

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