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2016 Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V tie with disappointing fuel economy

Mazda says it has class-leading numbers, but that is not our reading of the numbers.

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Today Mazda released the official fuel economy test results for the all-new 2016 CX-3, saying it has “class-leading fuel economy numbers." The ratings are not bad. The new CX-3 earns a 29 MPG combined EPA estimate in AWD versions and 2WD versions are rated 31. Bearing in mind that the CX-3 and the HR-V are marketed as city vehicles, the city rating of the 2WD CX-3 is an important number. The Mazda CX-3 in 2WD form does top the HR-V here with a 29 MPG rating compared to 28 for the HR-V. So technically, the CX-3 is “leading”, but it is a stretch.

As interesting as these new sub-compact crossovers are, neither gets outstanding fuel economy compared to other vehicles that will do the same jobs. For example, the Toyota Prius' fuel economy simply blows both of these out of the water as a city car, topping 50 MPG. It comes in three sizes too, so drivers can choose how much space they need. The Prius is a 5-door hatchback just like the CX-3 and HR-V though not offered with AWD. The Prius will be about 10 to 15% more expensive than these vehicles when compared with similar features. Frankly speaking, in terms of city vehicles the Kia Soul EV and Nissan Leaf EV might be the better comparisons.

The Subaru Outback also has some impressive fuel economy numbers that make these new sub-compact crossovers look a little disappointing. In terms of an affordable family car, the Outback is more expensive by about 20%, but much larger. The Outback is rated at 33 MPG highway, beating both the CX-3 AWD and the HR-V AWD’s rating of 32. The Outback is not as good in the city (25MPG), but its combined rating of 28 is just 1 MPG lower than the 29 MPG the HR-V and CX-3 rate.

The Honda HR-V
and Mazda CX-3 will both advertise starting prices near $20K, but we configured an AWD HR-V EX-L trim with Nav and its price without any further options is $26,720. A comparison to the Prius, Outback, and the two EVs is more than fair. All the vehicles we spoke of in this story use regular unleaded fuel (or electricity).

Both the new 2016 Honda HR-V and the new Mazda CX-3 look to be excellent vehicles that customers will love. However, neither has much to brag about in terms of fuel economy.

If you would like to make your own comparisons of the fuel economy of vehicles this is the best website to start with:

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