Welcome to Road Show Rivals where we bring together the best of the best to find out which machine you should take home.
Today it's small SUVs and we have three of the latest entrants In this increasingly competitive market.
From Jeep, the chunky Renegade.
From Mazda, the rather more curvaceous CX-3.
And from Honda, it's the brand new HRV.
We'll start with the HRV, which you can think of as a slightly less compact version of one our favorite compact cars, the Honda Fit.
It's a little bit taller, a little bit more room inside.
Kinda has available all wheel drive, yet still manages 35 miles per gallon on a highway.
It's possibly the most family friendly choice of the three, but it's also probably the most boring.
As configured, our HRV starts at a reasonable $26,720.
This is the 2016 Jeep Renegade, and as an added bonus, this is a trail rated version.
Now what it lacks in cargo space, it certainly does make up for in off-road prowess.
I've got 29 miles per gallon EPA estimated on the highway.
And an MSRP of $31,440 It's a little pricy.
Tiny tiny little bit.
The third car in our round up is the 2016 Mazda CX 3.
This is like a beefier version of the Mazda 3, and it's got plenty of Mazda's zoom zoom spirit.
Plus some surprising driver For system features.
This front wheel drive model gets 35 miles per gallon on the highway and our assessed price is $20,340.
We'll start with age before beauty and we're inside the Jeep Renegade which is the oldest of the three but that's not saying much since it's only been on the market since last year.
And as we mentioned it's the most expensive car but it's also the most powerful with a 180 horsepower on tap and 175 pound feet of stunt pulling trailer towing torque.
Actually you can only tow about a 2,000 pound trailer.
But that's more than the other two, who aren't ready to tow anything at all.
It's also the heaviest of the bunch, weighing in at 3,490 pounds.
That's thanks to the complex four by four system underneath.
Go for the two wheel drive version, and you'll shave some 400 pounds off of that mark, but you also get a smaller motor to go along with it.
In terms of driving dynamics, well this is not a road optimized Machine.
This is a Jeep, after all, and it feels like you're driving a Jeep.
It's over-sprung, over-dampened, and honestly, kind of bouncy most of the time, something that I think will come into its own when [UNKNOWN] takes it off road.
But this is the only one of the three that gives you That SUV driving perspective.
You're sitting up high, you're looking over the world and all the smaller cars around you.
In fact, this car feels like a much bigger car than it actually is.
By the way, did you know that Jeep has been making cars since 1941?
I didn't either, but thankfully they stamped it right here, on the center of the dashboard.
Just in case you need to see that every time you drive the car.
Maybe it's a Jeep thing?
I don't get it.
Next up is the new HRV, which has actually been on the market in Japan for a couple of years now, where it's called the Vizzle.
Why the name change well Honda obviously wants you to think of this as being closely related to its big brother the CR-V actually its much closer to the fit but that's a good thing.
The car weighs 3,100 lbs in all wheel drive trim as we have here and its powered by a 141 horsepower motor.
But go with the front wheel drive trim and you can shave some 200 pounds off of that figure.
Now if you're looking to tow a jet ski, or miniature pony or the like, you should know that Honda doesn't recommend towing anything with this car.
And that's despite having a 1500 100lb tour rating in Japan.
Overall, the HRV is a comfortable drive, if not a particularly invigorating drive.
The 141 horsepower offers decent performance and the ride is comfortable, but it's not really a great corner car for by any means.
The car has a continuously variable transmission or CVT, which enthusiasts love to hate But this one's actually reasonably responsive.
It's not gonna invigorate your life by any means, but it does do a good job of getting power to ground, and it does give you great fuel economy, which is pretty important in this segment.
Finally this sporty looking Mazda CX-3 which actually delivers on that look.
It's the lightest of the bunch at 2800 pounds but remember this is the only car with front wheel drive.
Go with the all wheel drive model and you're looking at 2,950 pounds which is still pretty light compared to the competition.
The motor puts out 146 horsepower.
And while Mazda again does not rate this car for towing in the US, in Europe it's rated for a max of 2,600 pounds which would have actually been class leading Except again, you're not supposed to tow anything with it here in the US.
As soon as you sit in this car you realize that far and away this is the sportiest of the bunch.
Their seats actually have bolsters which actually work.
So the steering wheel actually feels direct.
And while it's not especially powerful, again 146 horsepower is not a lot, it does get up and go with more aplomb Than any of the other.
It corners better.
It does have a little bit of roll in the corners, but you can actually have a genuinely good time in this car, much more so than either of the other two.
Course in addition to driving your car from point A to point B, you're also probably gonna have to haul some stuff
Stuff like laundry baskets, or bicycles, or babies, right?
People [UNKNOWN] babies.
The Renegade's the middle of the bunch.
I've got 18.5 cubic feet of space.
Behind the seat.
But don't think that that's gonna be enough for a bicycle.
So, let's take this guy out.
Let's see how we are with the laundry baskets.
Let's see, I can't double stack my laundry basket.
I can get two laundry baskets back there.
All right, car seats, car seats, car seats.
Let's see, you get this guy in here like that.
All right, that fits well.
Get this booster seat
Why are these so heavy?
They don't even have kids in them.
This guy fits in the middle.
I don't know if we're gonna be able to fit three all the way through.
I don't know you guys.
The second row seat, I"m not sure we're gonna get All three, wait, wait.
Get in there kid.
So, two laundry baskets, three car seats, no bike.
Now the Mazda's definitely the smallest of the bunch.
I've only got 10.1 cubic feet of space back her in our grand touring model, although that gets a little bit bigger for other the ten lines.
But I'm not even gonna try the bike.
I know it's not gonna work.
But Laundry baskets.
Looks like it's one.
Grade mark, laundry basket rating of one.
All right, now for the car seats.
All right, we've gotta give three of these babies a [UNKNOWN].
Man, it's hot.
Hauling babies is hot.
All right that's, my gosh, one.
Get in there.
And big guy.
You guys I really have to get back to the gym.
And there's two, I'm not sure about this third one.
This might be pushing it.
God how can these weigh so much!
Yeah, Safety safety third and all but that doesn't look right, so I think we can only definitely get two baby seats across the back.
If you do wanna fold those rear seats down you get 42.3 cubic feet of space, which will give you enough for Probably four laundry baskets, but yeah, this is small.
God, I gotta get in better shape.
But the true winner is the Honda HRV.
I've got 23.2 cubic feet of space behind these seats.
It's not quite enough for the bike, but it's definitely gonna be enough
For a trademark laundry basket rating, let's see here.
A four, wait for it, wait for it.
[LAUGH] There we go.
Trademark laundry basket rating of four.
But let's see what happens with the car seats.
I'm getting so good at this.
Like I have kids myself.
Which is hilarious to anybody who knows me.
Now This [UNKNOWN] car seat.
This kid's got two cup holders.
Man, I don't even have two cup holders in my car.
And the last one.
There we go.
Three car seats.
Trademark laundry basket [INAUDIBLE].
But there is another thing that makes this car even better when it comes to utility.
Come here, come here.
So, here's what makes the Honda HRV so special.
Two words for you.
Magic seats, baby.
All right anyway, so I just flip this guy up, push that guy down and look, I've got room to hold things that are four feet tall.
For navigation and in-cabin electronics, picking a winner from these three cars is tough.
All the navigation systems show plan and perspective view maps and they all use traffic data for dynamic route guidance.
The Jeep and the Honda use touch screens while the Mazda has a dial controller on the console.
None of these cars support Apple Carplay or Android Auto yet.
And that would give them an edge.
This Renegade comes with a contact version of [INAUDIBLE] U connect system.
That shows on the 6.5 inch touch screen.
Now I really like the full size U connect system on other Jeep models.
But, this one's kinda cluttered.
It's a little harder to find my way around the interface.
At first flush, the Honda HRV's nav system looks really good.
There's these touch controls on the bevel, and they only light up when you need them, and these menu icons slide into place, that looks really cool.
But, when you get into the sub menus, you kinda lose the aesthetic appeal, it doesn't look quite as good.
Now, for connected features, I've got Pandora and Aha app.
Integrated with this system.
Most have to be running off a connected smartphone.
My winning pick in this category is the Mazda TX3.
Here I've got simple controls on the console that let me control everything on the seven inch screen.
From the simple home screen I can get music.
Phone and navigation really easily and guess what?
This is actually a touchscreen too.
So if I can't figure out these controls I can just choose what I want right here.
As with all the navigation systems here the CX3 shows really nice maps.
I get 3D rendered buildings in the city and out in the country here I had got nice typographical features.
But this system works a little bit better because when I'm browsing around, it moves just a little more smoothly than the other systems.
For connected features I have aha, Pandora, and Stitcher apps integrated with the car.
Those would have to be running on my phone, to work.
But what really puts the CX-3 over the top is its driver assistance feature.
All the cars in this test have a backup camera and some sort of blind spot monitoring system.
But the CX-3 takes it further by having a head-up display and adaptive cruise control.
Those add safety and comfort on the highway, and that makes the CX-3 the winner in the electronics category.
And now my favorite part of the test.
It's the off-road part.
Now I wanna make a little bit of a distinction between all wheel drive and four wheel drive.
I mean we could go on forever about this but surprising to say that all wheel drive is best for inclement weather and four wheel drive is best for inclement terrain.
Like this giant hill here behind me that we're gonna take all three cars up.
Now, this is a front-wheel drive CX3.
You can get an all-wheel drive, and that's pretty engaging on the pavement, but this has only got 6.1, ooh, inches of ground clearance.
So we're not going anywhere.
I can't even get past the first bump.
Yeah, I would say you don't wanna take this baby on anything else besides a graded dirt road.
Now I gotta try and back this up.
Now the HRV fears a little bit better in that it has 6.7 inches of ground clearance, and it's got all wheel tires, but they're rated for mud and snow.
But it's still just an all wheel drive car.
There's no low range.
There's nothing the all wheel drive system is definitely going to do what it wants to do, not necessarily what you want it to do, but it's going a lot better than I thought it was going to.
Just going as slow at I am.
There we go.
That's a far as we're going to get.
[LAUGH] That was a good eight feet of the hill.
Honestly, you know if you had to get through some soft sand, probably dropping your tire pressure and keeping the revs high would get you through it, but don't get cocky.
Jeep Renegade time.
Now this is a trail-rated version.
I've got skid plates on my transfer case, transmission and on my fuel cell.
I've got five different off road modes here.
Auto, snow, sand, mud and rock.
I have put this baby into sand and look at that, she is crawling up like it ain't no thing.
Now if I wanted to put this into the low gear, I could have.
Come on girl, come on girl, come on girl.
There you go.
I could have a 20 to 1 A real good ratio, but I really don't think I need that.
There is nothing like going off road.
And I just love it so much.
Nope, come on go, come on go.
[LAUGH] That's my baby!
How you doing?
Honestly, all you gotta do is let the car do the work for you, right?
You wanna go as slow as possible and as fast as necessary All right I see a spot up here where I can turn around, because another great thing that the renegade has is hill descend control.
So, let me get this baby turned around.
I'm going to go downhill right?
And I've got hill descend control so I'm going to put it in follow and press hill descend control.
Hill descent is on.
And now, I'm gonna take my foot off the break, and all I'm gonna do is steer.
[LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] I have to tell you, it's a little nerve wracking, look at that.
I am, this is, it might not seem like it's super steep you guys, but it's pretty steep.
[LAUGH] It goes pretty good.
If you're going up on your mountain roads to your cabin I think you're gonna be pretty satisfied.
You've seen how the test went.
Let's talk about the results.
Emmy I think we've got a clear winner for the off-road portion.
My gosh of course.
I mean the Renegade, it's trail rated.
I've got 20 to 1 crawl ratio.
I've got skid plates on the bottom.
This thing is going to get you wherever you need to go within reason.
How about the interior technology?
Well for the nav systems and stuff like that, it's pretty tough choice.
They'll have connected features, they'll have a really good nav system.
But I went with the CX3 ultimately beacuse it also has a driver's [UNKNOWN] system, it's got adaptive cruise control, and a head up display.
And you just don't really find that in this segment, none of these cars quite match that.
So CX3 for electronics.
And in terms of driving down [UNKNOWN] the Jeep has the most power, but it really doesn't feel that way on the road.
All of us were fighting over the keys for the CX3, that's the most Fun on the road for sure.
The HRV is fine, it's comfortable.
It's not really that dynamic, it kind of lacks personality.
By and large, absolutely the CX3 is the fun, but we've still got to pick a winner here.
Yeah, that's a tough one to slice because each of these cars has their strengths.
I mean I would personally go with the CX3 because I like the looks of it and I like the driving character.
But maybe at the end of the day for this segment, practicality Amy, which would you take home?
Yeah I mean I always picked my car based on personality and the Jeep Renegade has that in spades.
So I really do love that, but again I do see the value in that HRV.
Yeah I think in terms of driving that [INAUDIBLE] again which would be something I would be looking forward would be the CX3 but ultimately if your talking practicality, if your talking about cost and economy too.
The Honda's really hard to beat.
So I think we got to go with the practical choice.
Yeah, I mean I've got to admit I like the CX32.
Great driving character, but calling it an SUV?
It's so small.
It's so tiny.
There's no cargo room, and just for this segment, practicality, practicality, practicality HRV.
Well, if you want to go off road it's the jeep.
If you want to have the most fun on the road.
It's the Mazda but overall it's gotta be the Honda HR-V.