Pecheles Automotive Compares 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan VS 2018 Mazda CX-3 Near Washington, NC

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

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2018 Mazda CX-3

Safety Comparison

The Tiguan has standard post collision braking, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Tiguan (except S/SE) offers optional Maneuver Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Tiguan SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-3 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Compared to metal, the Tiguan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-3 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Tiguan and the CX-3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Volkswagen Tiguan weighs 825 to 1049 pounds more than the Mazda CX-3. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty Comparison

The Tiguan comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The CX-3’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Tiguan’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the CX-3’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability Comparison

The Volkswagen Tiguan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CX-3’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 27th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 38 more horsepower (184 vs. 146) and 75 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Tiguan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Tiguan FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (15.3 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Tiguan AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Tiguan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:





Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.1 inches

11.1 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Tiguan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (255/45R19 vs. 215/60R16).

The Tiguan SEL Premium’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tiguan has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-3 Sport. The Tiguan SEL Premium’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Tiguan has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mazda CX-3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Tiguan has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Tiguan flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tiguan’s wheelbase is 8.7 inches longer than on the CX-3 (109.9 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Tiguan is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-3.

For greater off-road capability the Tiguan has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (7.9 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the Tiguan to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Tiguan’s minimum ground clearance is 1.7 inches higher than on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring (7.9 vs. 6.2 inches).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Tiguan offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the CX-3 can only carry 5.

The Tiguan has 36.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (123.9 vs. 87.6).

The Tiguan has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and 5.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Tiguan’s middle row seats recline. The CX-3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Tiguan’s cargo area provides more volume than the CX-3.




Third Seat Folded

33 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed

37.6 cubic feet

12.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.7 cubic feet

44.5 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

73.5 cubic feet

44.5 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Tiguan easier. The Tiguan’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.4 inches, while the CX-3’s liftover is 30.6 inches.

The Tiguan’s cargo area is larger than the CX-3’s in every dimension:




Length to seat (2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Tiguan’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The CX-3 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Tiguan SEL/SEL Premium has a standard power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Tiguan SEL Premium, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Tiguan’s standard front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The CX-3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. The Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The CX-3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Tiguan has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The CX-3 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Touring/Grand Touring.

The Tiguan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring.

When the Tiguan SEL Premium is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The CX-3’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Tiguan has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The CX-3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Tiguan and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Tiguan has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-3 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Recommendations Comparison

The Volkswagen Tiguan outsold the Mazda CX-3 by over two to one during the 2017 model year.

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