Honda HR-V vs Mazda CX-3 vs Nissan Qashqai

One of our favourite SUVs, the Nissan Qashqai, has two new and trendy upstarts to fend off: the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3

Words By What Car? team

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Nissan Qashqai

Our verdict

Honda and Mazda might have had plenty of time to study the Qashqai's strengths and weaknesses, but neither of them has managed to build a car that surpasses it.

The Qashqai offers a classier interior than its rivals, along with lower running costs and superior refinement. Plus, it continues to set the benchmark for ride comfort. It isn’t perfect – its 1.5 diesel engine could do with a bit more oomph and it’s a shame you can’t upgrade to Nissan’s excellent Connect touchscreen sat-nav on Acenta trim. However, these are small criticisms in what is otherwise a thoroughly brilliant package.

  • 'The Qashqai continues to set the benchmark for ride comfort'

Second place goes to the HR-V. In some ways, it’s actually more practical than the Qashqai, and you get even more active safety aids, including traffic sign recognition and a system that helps you reverse out of your driveway onto a busy road. It’s also predicted to hold on to its value well and comes with plenty of infotainment gadgets. Unfortunately, Honda’s touchscreen interface isn’t particularly user-friendly, the diesel engine is very noisy and ride comfort could be better. It’s also more expensive than the Qashqai in the long run, no matter how you’re buying.

The CX-3 is hardest to recommend. Yes, it’s well equipped and its engine delivers strong acceleration along with impressive real-world fuel economy. The trouble is, even if you’re not bothered by the CX-3’s cramped interior, you probably will be by its so-so interior quality and its bumpy ride. It’s also the most expensive each month if you’re buying on PCP finance, as most people choose to do.

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Also consider:

1st – Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 Acenta Smart Vision Pack

For Excellent refinement; cheapest to own or finance; composed handling; classy interior

Against Very basic infotainment; so-so performance

Verdict A fantastic all-rounder and still the best small SUV on the market

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full Nissan Qashqai review

2nd – Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 120 SE Navi

For Practical interior; great gearshift; strong engine

Against Noisy engine; fiddly touchscreen; crashy ride

Verdict No Qashqai, but the next best thing

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full Honda HR-V review

3rd – Mazda CX-3 1.5D 105 Sport Nav

For Agile handling; decent performance; lots of kit

Against Cramped inside; steering; interior quality

Verdict Good in areas, but not enough of them

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full Mazda CX-3 review

Specification: Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 120 SE Navi

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price Β£23,050

Target price Β£21,821

Power 118bhp

Torque 221lb ft

0-60mph 10.5sec

Top speed 119mph

Fuel economy 55.7mpg

CO2 emissions 108g/km

Mazda CX-3 1.5D 105 Sport Nav

Engine size 1.5-litre diesel

List price Β£21,895

Target Price Β£20,312

Power 104bhp

Torque 199lb ft

0-60mph 10.2sec

Top speed 110mph

Fuel economy 58.6mpg

CO2 emissions 105g/km

Nissan Qashqai

Engine size 1.5-litre diesel

List price Β£22,455

Target Price Β£20,495

Power 109bhp

Torque 192lb ft

0-60mph 11.8sec

Top speed 109mph

Fuel economy 54.7mpg

CO2 emissions 99g/km

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