Mazda CX-3 vs Skoda Yeti vs Suzuki Vitara
Skoda’s formidable Yeti faces strong competition from the new Mazda CX-3 and Suzuki Vitara family SUVs...
Despite the fact it’s seven years old, it’s the Skoda Yeti that triumphs here. It’s neither as fast as its rivals nor as well equipped, but its practical nature and on-easygoing road manners more than compensate for its foibles elsewhere.
It’s also the cheapest of the three to own privately, the cheapest company car, and the most affordable each month for those buying on PCP finance. The Skoda is the most upmarket inside, too, with a conservative and sturdy interior built from high-quality materials.
The Suzuki Vitara puts up a good fight, partly thanks to its more generous list of standard equipment, plus its impressive real-world fuel economy and its low purchase price. It might not steer as keenly as the Yeti and its interior is neither as plush nor as practical, but it’s the heavy depreciation and comparatively high monthly PCP costs that stop it from winning.
That leaves the Mazda CX-3 in third. The way the CX-3 looks will undoubtedly attract plenty of suitors, and there’s also lots to like about the way it drives; it’s unquestionably the most capable and fun through corners and easily the nippiest in a straight line.
Sadly, it just isn’t practical enough nor cheap enough to buy or run, which makes it hard to justify. Mazda rightly points out that a large proportion of buyers in this class take out PCP finance, and that the CX-3’s monthly costs in this area are competitive. However, the Yeti’s are even more so, and the CX-3 is the most expensive of the three for cash buyers.
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1st – Skoda Yeti
For Big and practical interior; fine road manners; cheapest to own
Against Choppy ride; so-so real-world economy; few tech treats
Verdict Feeling its age in a few areas, but still one of our favourite small SUVs
Rated 4 out of 5
2nd – Suzuki Vitara
For Loads of equipment; low price; eager engine; soft ride
Against Interior feels low-quality; lacklustre steering; heavy depreciation
Verdict Worth considering if value is your top priority
Rated 4 out of 5
3rd – Mazda CX-3
For Strong engine; tidy handling; good infotainment system
Against Limited space; pokey boot; too expensive
Verdict Great to drive but costly and no more practical than a small hatchback
Rated 3 out of 5
Specifications: Mazda CX-3 Skyactiv-G 120 SE-L
Engine size 2.0-litre petrol
List price £18,995
Target Price £18,290
Torque 154lb ft
Top speed 119mph
Fuel economy 44.6mpg
CO2 emissions 137g/km
Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI 110 SE
Engine size 1.2-litre petrol
List price £18,760
Target Price £17,304
Torque 129lb ft
Top speed 111mph
Fuel economy 39.8mpg
CO2 emissions 128g/km
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ5
Engine size 1.6-litre petrol
List price £19,000
Target Price £18,214
Torque 115lb ft
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 49.4mpg
CO2 emissions 123g/km