Mazda CX-3 vs Nissan Juke & Renault Captur
The Mazda CX-3 is the latest small crossover to arrive on the scene. Can it outgun two key rivals?
Yet the public’s appetite for trendy crossovers is showing no sign of decline, and Mazda is renowned for delivering off-roaders that look good, are great to drive, offer frugal running costs and boast plenty of family-friendly practicality.
The larger CX-5 SUV is an Auto Express favourite, and with the CX-3, Mazda is hoping it’s applied that winning formula to a smaller model.
We’ve lined up two of its toughest rivals in the form of the stylish Juke and the practical Captur to give Mazda’s new model a stern test.
All three boast downsized diesel engines that claim strong efficiency. Plus, the cars offer something different to a conventional five-door supermini, as they focus on design and personalisation – thus enabling buyers to make their compact crossovers stand out from the crowd.
Can the CX-3 hit the ground running and go straight to the top of this highly competitive class? Read on to find out.
Car group tests
- Volkswagen T-Cross vs Mazda CX-3 vs SEAT Arona
- Mazda CX-3 vs Hyundai Kona vs Peugeot 2008
- Hyundai Kona vs Citroen C3 Aircross vs Mazda CX-3
- Audi Q2 vs Mazda CX-3 vs Mercedes GLA
- Suzuki Vitara S vs Mazda CX-3
Used car tests
Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which compact crossover is crowned winner of this test...
Customisation is king in the crossover sector, but the Mazda loses ground to the Nissan and Renault, with less scope to personalise the car. However, the CX-3 looks the sharpest from the outside and feels more premium; particularly inside, where the Sport Nav trim gets contrasting upholstery.
These cars are meant to offer practicality on par with a supermini. While the Captur and the CX-3 serve up even more usability, with lots of room inside and a commanding driving position, the Juke’s packaging is poor. No matter where you’re sat, it feels compromised.
The Mazda might be pricey, but its kit count is the best of our trio. It’s the only one that gets LED headlamps and autonomous braking as standard, with upmarket features like heated seats and a reversing camera among the range of equipment.
1st place: Mazda CX-3
Its price might seem steep next to rivals, but the CX-3 justifies the gap thanks to its mix of great design, class and driving dynamics. It can’t match the Captur for versatility, but when it comes to mixing fashion-led styling with practicality, it’s more convincing than the ageing Juke. Of these high-spec models, it’s the CX-3’s kit list that’s the most appealing, too, with lots of safety features.
2nd place: Renault Captur
Quality isn’t the Captur’s strongest suit, but with a functional interior sporting a few touches of design flair, it has just enough charm to relegate the Juke to third place. The spongy edge to how the Renault drives ensures it can’t compete with its rivals on the road, though. Instead, strong fuel economy and low running costs mean it appeals to the head more than the heart.
3rd place: Nissan Juke
In this company, the Nissan feels outclassed dynamically and practically. The Juke’s mid-life update improved its good points further, but the poor packaging remains, which hampers its chances against fresher cars like the CX-3 and Captur. It’s still fun to drive, but factor in the car’s hefty price tag with Nissan’s styling add-ons and it makes the CX-3 look like good value.
Other options in this category…
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 DDiS SZ5
Price: £19,499 Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 118bhp
It might not be as stylish, but with more power and 106g/km CO2 emissions, the Vitara makes financial sense. The SZ5 model gets lots of kit, including keyless go, adaptive cruise, a reversing cam and sat-nav.
Citroen C4 Cactus Flair BlueHDi 100
Price: £18,090 Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 98bhp
If you want to stand out from the crowd, the Citroen C4 Cactus fits the bill. Its quirky design boasts Airbumps to help avoid car park door dings; it’s less powerful, but 92g/km CO2 emissions make for low running costs.
|Mazda CX-3 1.5 D Sport Nav 2WD
|Renault Captur 1.5 dCi Dynamique S Nav
|Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi Tekna Exterior+ Pack
|On-the-road price/total as tested
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel
|48 litres/repair kit
|45 litres/repair kit
|46 litres/space saver
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)
|Turning circle/drag coefficient
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery
|Service intervals/UK dealers
|12,500 miles (1yr)/170
|18,000 miles (1yr)/153
|18,000 miles (1yr)/225
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th
|50-70mph in 5th/6th
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket
|Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control
|Climate control/leather/heated seats
|Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go