QUESTION – VERA (QUESTION FROM 4/4/2017):
Can I ask you how the Suzuki Vitara compares with the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3. Which of these three would you prefer? I know I will need to increase my budget but I want to make sure I make the correct decision.
ANSWER – NATHAN PONCHARD:
All three of those SUVs hold genuine appeal. The HR-V is the clear winner for space utilisation – it smashes the CX-3 for boot and rear-seat flexibility, for example, but it doesn't steer or perform as crisply, and its front seats are fairly average for cushion support.
The CX-3, updated in May, is the sportiest of the three, and the most fun to drive. It also offers the broadest model range and the option of AWD at a lower price point.
And the Suzuki sits somewhere in the middle - not as fun as the Mazda, not as roomy as the Honda, and not as well-finished as either of the other two inside.
The CX-3’s update has addressed its noise issues (engine, road and tyre noise), and its suspension is slightly retuned for a smoother ride. The current car, which has these faults, may still be in run-out so there's a chance you may get one with a discount.
The CX-3 Maxx petrol FWD is our pick for value, but its RRP (not including on-road costs) is $24,390. Its driving position is also lower than the Vitara/HR-V, and its boot is small. But it will likely have the best resale value of the three.
The base Honda HR-V VTi is currently $26,490 driveaway (if you live in Victoria - I punched 3000 in as a postcode on the website – and while stocks last), which is a decent deal. Like I said, if you value space, it's unbeatable for the money, but perhaps lacks the personality of the other two
And at the previously mentioned price ($24,990 driveaway for the RT-S auto), the Vitara is good value, too.
If the size works, go for the CX-3. Otherwise, either of the other two are solid bets.