Small SUV Comparison, Mazda CX-3 Vs Hyundai Kona

Small SUV Comparison


The small SUV market is hot and competitive right now. Key players in the small SUV range are Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Kona, Mitsubishi ASX, Subaru XV and the Mazda Cx-3. Whether you are a young urban single, couple or an empty nester the small SUV offers looks and practicality for the price of a hatch. But has that little bit extra.

In all honesty, choosing the best small SUV based on drive, looks and pricing is hard. Car manufacturers have crammed these cars with plenty of desirable options and priced them competitively. In most cases, it comes down to personal choice. However to make it a little easier for you we have chosen to compare the Mazda Cx-3 sTouring and the Hyundai Kona Elite. Two small SUV’s we are getting a lot of enquiry on.

Let’s break it down.

Image Small SUV Comparison Mazda CX-3 Vs Hyundai Kona Elite


2018 sees the small SUV market launched at by a bold new player, the Hyundai Kona. The Kona is definitely a ‘Kimmy look at me’ type of car. The new Kona’s looks have been described as polarising to ugly. Where do we sit? Yes the design is different and yes the colours are bright and yes initially we were unsure. However, as time goes on we quite like the fun youthfulness of this new kid. So we are on-board. Ultimately, it is up to you. Looks are in the eye of the beholder, aren’t they?


  • Bold distinctive looks and stand out profile appeal to those looking for uniqueness
  • Sporty 17” Alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, and colours such as Acid Yellow offer a point of difference for buyers while the added choice of roof colour finishes the huge level of personalisation available with the Kona
  • Pumped out guards and clever use of bumpers swallowing the headlights and indicators
  • Inside, the Kona Elite treats the occupants with bolstered front seats which do a better than average job of being comfortable and figure hugging at the same time.
  • The leather steering wheel and gear knob are nice to the touch option to choose coloured stitching and accents


  • 5-star ANCAP safety rating. Standard with Blind spot collision warning, Forward collision avoidance, Lane keep assist and rear traffic collision warning
  • Smart Passive safety options such as Impact sensing auto door unlock is a nice touch
  • We think having the rear seating child seat restraints in the roof for all three is also something other manufacturers should take note of so their boot space isn’t affected when carrying small children


  • 1.6L 4 Cylinder Direct Injection Turbo Petrol Engine
  • 130KW @ 5,500RPM
  • 265NM @ 1,500RPM

Comfort and Quality

  • The Hyundai Kina Elite comes with leather seating, steering wheel and gear selector
  • The Elite has the option of Piano black for it accents and fixtures such as steering wheel inserts, door handles, vents and dials. Coloured seatbelts are also available for the adventurous
  • Power adjustment for both driver and passenger
  • Wireless phone charging brings the Kona well and truly into the technology forefront
  • Smart key and push-button start for convenience


  • Seating 4 adults comfortably and 5 in a pinch
  • 17”alloy wheels
  • Head up Display, excellent cargo area lighting, an active anti-theft alarm and easy to use 7” touchscreen display with full multimedia control over Apple Car Play and Android Auto3

Fuel Economy

  • 6.7L/100KM on the combined cycle

Cup Holder Test

  • Front 2 X cup holders in console
  • Back 2 X bottle holders in the centre armrest


Mazda is arguably the market leader in this small SUV category and for good reason. Even though the design was launched in 2015 it is still the best looking car in our opinion. However, it is more than looks. Driveability, internal finish and safety are just a few standout features.


  • Strong head-turning style universally admired. Appearing larger than expected given it is based on the Mazda 2 platform
  • Aggressive sloping roofline, strong deep front grill, liberal use of black highlights and neat sporty backend
  • Sporty 18″ alloys
  • Internal finish standard is commensurate with the high standard Mazda has become known for
  • All lighting internal and external is LED
  • Given the small footprint, front seat space is generous and comfortable but a little less so in the back.


  • Achieves the maximum 5 Star ANCAP rating
  • 6 airbags
  • Mazda design and patent G-Vectoring Control. This software technology automatically controls the amount of weight to the front wheels when cornering. The driver is unaware of the shift but provides a more secure driving experience. A safer and overall better drive.
  • Front and rear AEB ( Autonomous Emergency Braking) only one in its class
  • Reversing camera


  • 2.0L direct injection 4 Cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine
  • 109KM @ 6,0000 RPM
  • 195NM @ 2,8000RPM


  • Uncluttered well-designed dash with Active Driving Display ( or head-up display)
  • Auto wipers
  • Climate-controlled air conditioning
  • Floating 7″ MZD Infotainment System that works
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • 6 Speaker audio
  • Given the size, noise is always a concern but Mazda have added new front and rear suspension, retuned shocks and improved steering, under carpet-insulation, thicker glass and upgraded engine mounts. For the sole purpose of noise reduction internally.
  • Not technically designed for off-road. However, for a small wheel based car, it handles conditions pretty well although a little light and skittish over road corrugations.


  • Seating for 4 adults comfortably
  • Leather Accented upholstery
  • Leather steering wheel, gear knob and park brake
  • Power Sunroof
  •  Keyless entry and drive
  • 3 years/unlimited km warranty
  • Resale is returning 60-70 percent on trade-in


  • Front 2 X cup holders in console
  • Back 2 X bottle holders in door pockets


If it is an adventurous design you seek in a small SUV with a look at me attitude then the Hyundai Kona may well be the car for you. The design is meant to be a little controversial so if you are a fabulous young thing wanting to make your mark or have seen the back of your brood and want a crossover car that is a bit more fun then your last people mover then the Hyundai Kona needs serious consideration.

Even though the Mazda Cx-3 is the market leader in the small SUV range it isn’t perfect. It was a tough call for us to choose one over the other. The CX-3 is a little more expensive and slightly smaller internally. However, we felt this was outweighed by the overall design integrity, the quality Mazda finish, drive and safety features plus the excellent resale. Bringing it in just ahead of the new Hyundai Kona.

A final comment we think the Kona needs to grow into its looks to perhaps bring it in line with the Mazda. From what we know new colour options are coming soon. Perhaps giving those who want a little less “look at me” a reason to choose the Kona over the CX-3!







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