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...

Mazda CX-3 vs Skoda Yeti vs Suzuki Vitara

Our verdict

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

Mazda CX-3 vs Skoda Yeti vs Suzuki Vitara

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

Read our full Skoda Yeti review

Find a great Skoda Yeti deal

2nd – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda CX-3 vs Skoda Yeti vs 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

Read our full Suzuki Vitara review

Find a great Suzuki Vitara deal

3rd – Mazda CX-3

Mazda CX-3 vs Skoda Yeti vs Suzuki Vitara

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

Read ouf full Mazda CX-3 review

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Also consider:

Specifications: Mazda CX-3 Skyactiv-G 120 SE-L

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

List price £18,995

Target Price £18,290

Power 118bhp

Torque 154lb ft

0-60mph 8.7sec

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

Power 109bhp

Torque 129lb ft

0-60mph 11.1sec

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

Power 118bhp

Torque 115lb ft

0-60mph 9.5sec

Top speed 112mph

Fuel economy 49.4mpg

CO2 emissions 123g/km