From lit­tle things ...

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter: @RTMBlack­burn

WITH­OUT doubt, mini-SUVs are the next big thing. You only have to look at the ini­tial sales of the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V to see that.

The Mazda racked up more than 800 sales in just eight days, while the Honda found 1081 buy­ers in March, out­selling its larger and more es­tab­lished CR-V stable­mate.

But be­fore you head into your near­est deal­er­ship, it might pay to pack a cal­cu­la­tor and a tape mea­sure, be­cause you may be pay­ing for style over sub­stance. The top of the range CX-3 diesel costs just $1300 less than the cheap­est CX-5 diesel, and for our money, the CX-5 is by far the bet­ter buy.

Yes the CX-3 has more lux­u­ries, in­clud­ing ex­tra safety equip­ment and leather trim, but the CX-5 brains it on en­gine power, drive­abil­ity and sheer size. Go the other way and the Mazda2 hatch is sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper and not that much smaller.

In fact the wheel­base — the dis­tance be­tween the front and rear wheels and the main fac­tor de­ter­min­ing leg room — is iden­ti­cal in the hatch and SUV. Much of the size dif­fer­ence be­tween the two is in the pumped up guards and bumpers.

The Honda HR-V is big­ger than the Jazz, with more lug­gage space and a larger en­gine, but is it worth $10,000 more? By way of com­par­i­son, the dif­fer­ence be­tween a Mercedes-Benz GLA soft­roader and the A-Class on which it’s based is only $6000. And the Ger­mans don’t usu­ally miss when it comes to charg­ing a fash­ion pre­mium.

If you feel you need some­thing big­ger than a Jazz, you could get a Civic hatch with sim­i­lar room to an HR-V and still keep $3000 in your pocket.

We get the ap­peal of the mini-SUV — it’s an SUV for the price of a hatch­back. But be­fore you sign on the dot­ted line, ask the sales staff to show you the hatch­back it’s based on and the next size up in both hatch­backs and SUVs. Chances are you’ll be pleas­antly sur­prised.

Honda HR--V,, Maz­zda CX-- 3

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