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2021 Honda HR-V vs. 2021 Mazda CX-30: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Honda HR-V is hardcore reliable while the 2021 Mazda CX30 is a glamour queen. Both accomplish the same goal. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The Honda HR-V returns with only minor updates for 2021.
  • As a relatively new entry, the Mazda CX-30 puts a premium on refined drive dynamics.

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Honda HR-VBase Price: $21,020 / Read our 2021 Honda HR-V Review

What we like: Honda’s least expensive crossover; Flexible interior and cargo space; Auto emergency braking.

What we would change: Make the HR-V engine more powerful; Improve it to properly compete with rivals. Make Honda Sensing available to all trim levels.

Overview: The Honda HR-V continues with few changes from a year ago, with excellent reliability and resale value, as seen in most Honda vehicles. The “Magic Seat” aids in interior flexibility and cargo space, along with generous passenger room. Continuously variable transmission (CVT) is just ok. Sadly, you need to buy the mid-level HR-V EX to take advantage of the optional Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. All-wheel-drive is standard on top-shelf Touring trim level. All others must pony-up $1,500 for lesser trims.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Honda HR-V returns relatively unchanged this year, with minor trim updates. All trim levels except base LX receive new wheel designs, while the Sport model gets new rear privacy glass.

Features and Technology: Sadly, you must step up to the EX trim for the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assists including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and the Honda LaneWatch blind-spot camera.

What does the future hold: Still a first-generation vehicle in the United States, the 2021 Honda HR-V follows the same pattern set forth at its introduction in 2016. Expect a new design sometime late next year as a 2022 model. See new Honda HR-V models for sale near you.

2021 Mazda CX-30

2021 Mazda CX-30Base Price: $21,900 / Read our 2021 Mazda CX-30 Review

What we like: Upscale exterior design; luxurious interior trim; great handling and ride; Quiet cabin.

What we would change: Ix-nay on the body cladding-ay. There’s too much that does nothing stylistically; No Skyactiv engine option; Not totally unlike the CX-3.

Overview: Attractive, modern and upscale, and destined to become one of Mazda’s best-sellers, the Mazda CX-30 offers an interesting bridge vehicle between the CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers. In most cases, it offers perfect dimensions for an urban dweller. Based on the Mazda’s excellent Mazda3, it offers all-wheel-drive, a raised height, and a luxury appearance that looks rich beyond its current sticker price.

What’s new for 2021: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto become standard throughout, while the Preferred model gains power moonroof. The new top-line Premium model offers upgrades including Bose 12-speaker audio system and more.

The new 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo offers 250 horsepower when used with 93 octane fuel. The new Turbo model will also include i-Activ all-wheel drive and a 12-speaker Bose system. Exterior flourishes will add 18-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels, larger exhaust pipes, and gloss black outside mirrors.

Features and Technology: All-wheel drive, available on all trim levels will now cost $1,400 on non-turbo models, but standard on CX-30 2.5 Turbo. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone climate control, included on CX-30 Select. Top-spec CX-30 model includes LED head- and taillights, adaptive front lighting, power liftgate, head-up display, a Bose premium audio system, and Sirius XM satellite radio.

What does the future hold: The Mazda CX-30 is brand new for the 2020 model year; Expect minor updates on all trim levels, standard equipment groupings, and slight price increases going forward. See new Mazda CX-30 models for sale near you.

Honda HR-V vs. Mazda CX-30: Strengths Comparison

Honda HR-V: Honda reliability and resale value; Good passenger layout and cargo-hauling capability.

Mazda CX-30: Fun-to-drive factor built into each Mazda, including the CX-30; Base engine is fun; New 2.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 will be even better, especially with AWD.

2021 Honda HR-V vs. 2021 Mazda CX-30:  Which is better?

Honda has a bulletproof reputation for reliability and resale but Mazda with its new CX-30 is not far behind. Between the two, from a driver’s standpoint, you can’t beat the handling and dynamic ability that comes built-in. For that reason, we recommend the Mazda CX-30. Find a Honda HR-V for sale or Find a Mazda CX-30 for sale

2021 Honda HR-V 2021 Mazda CX-30
Popular Powertrains
Engine 1.8-liter I4 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower 141 @ 6,500 rpm 186 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 127 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm 186 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission CVT with O/D 6-spd automatic with O/D
Fuel Economy 30 mpg (28 city/34 hwy) 28 mpg (25 city/33 hwy)
Also Available AWD 2.5-liter turbo I4; AWD
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5-star 5-star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 102.8 inches 104.4 inches
Overall Length 170.4 inches 173.0 inches
Width 69.8 inches 70.7 inches
Height 63.2 inches 61.7 inches
Turning Diameter 37.4 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 37.6 inches 38.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.3 inches
Legroom, Front 41.2 inches 41.7 inches
Legroom, Rear 39.3 inches 36.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.8 inches 55.6 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 54.5 inches 53.6 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 96.1 cu. ft. 94.1 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume 24.3/58.8 cu. ft. 20.2/45.2 cu. ft.

Mark Elias
Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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