New Mazda CX-3 & Renault Captur vs Seat Arona

Having been trounced by the Seat Arona, Mazda and Renault have revised their CX-3 and Captur small SUV offerings...

New Mazda CX-3 & Renault Captur vs Seat Arona
New Mazda CX-3 & Renault Captur vs Seat Arona

Our verdict

There’s no change at the top of this class: the Seat Arona still reigns supreme, thanks to its exceptional all-round talents. It’s good to drive, spacious inside and well equipped, as well as great value for money – especially if you get one on a PCP finance deal.

The Renault Captur has an eye-catching price, especially after discounts, gives it obvious appeal. It’s also practical by class standards, relatively hushed on the move and surprisingly well equipped in its new Iconic trim. The trouble is, it’s let down by a weak engine, poor visibility and a shortage of safety aids, plus heavy depreciation means it’ll cost you more than you might think in the long run.

It just edges the Mazda CX-3 though. Despite a recent facelift, the Mazda remains very much an also-ran. Punchy performance and slow predicted depreciation count in its favour, but it’s poorly equipped in entry-level SE Nav+ trim and the least practical car here.

1st Seat Arona - 5/5

Seat Arona driving

For Best to drive; cheapest monthly PCP repayments; roomiest in the back; best infotainment 

Against Performance is only adequate; you can’t add many options

2nd Renault Captur - 3/5

Renault Captur driving

For Cheapest to buy; well equipped; largest boot; sliding rear seats

Against Gutless engine; no automatic emergency braking; poor visibility at junctions

3rd Mazda CX-3 - 3/5

Mazda CX-3 driving

For Punchiest engine; decent infotainment; slow depreciation

Against Stingily equipped; not particularly practical; no automatic emergency braking

Specifications: Mazda CX-3 2.0 Skyactiv-G 121 SE Nav+

Engine 4cyl, 1998cc, petrol

List price £18,995

Target price £17,918

Power 119bhp @ 6000rpm

Torque 152lb ft @ 2800rpm 

Gearbox 6-spd manual

0-60mph 9.2sec

Top speed 119mph

Gov't fuel economy 45.5mpg

Test mpg 41.5mpg

CO2 emissions 141g/km

Specifications: Renault Captur 0.9 TCe 90 Iconic

Engine 3cyl, 898cc, turbo, petrol 

List price £16,500

Target price £15,531

Power 89bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque 103lb ft @ 2250rpm 

Gearbox 5-spd manual

0-60mph 12.4sec

Top speed 106mph

Gov't fuel economy 52.3mpg

Test mpg 42.9mpg

CO2 emissions 122g/km

Specifications: Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology

Engine 3cyl, 999cc, turbo, petrol 

List price £17,830

Target price £16,214

Power 94bhp @ 5000-5500rpm 

Torque 129lb ft @ 2000-3500rpm 

Gearbox 5-spd manual

0-60mph 10.8sec

Top speed 107mph

Gov't fuel economy 56.5mpg

Test mpg 44.2mpg

CO2 emissions 115g/km