Kia Seltos vs Mazda CX-3: A Comprehensive Comparison

Compare Kia Seltos vs Mazda CX-3 – When it comes to compact SUVs, the choices can be overwhelming. Two contenders that often catch the eye of prospective buyers are the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll delve into the various aspects of these two vehicles, helping you make an informed decision based on factors like pricing, dimensions, safety features, specs, and their respective pros and cons.

What’s the Difference Between Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-3?

Kia Seltos vs Mazda CX-3
Kia Seltos vs Mazda CX-3

The 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 are both subcompact SUVs that offer a variety of features and amenities. However, there are some key differences between the two models.


When considering a new vehicle, one of the most critical factors is pricing. Both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 offer competitive pricing options across their respective trims.

Let’s take a closer look at the pricing breakdown for each model.

– 2023 Kia Seltos Price

The 2023 Kia Seltos caters to a range of budgets by offering various trim levels, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Here’s a breakdown of the starting prices for different configurations:

Kia Seltos LX AWD – $23,340

The base model of the Seltos, featuring all-wheel drive, starts at $23,340. This entry-level trim provides a solid foundation of features, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.

Kia Seltos S FWD – $23,390

The front-wheel-drive variant of the Seltos S begins at $23,390. Despite its position as a higher trim compared to the base model, it offers additional features and amenities.

Kia Seltos SX – $28,340

Positioned as the top-tier trim, the Seltos SX starts at $28,340. This trim level comes loaded with advanced technologies, premium features, and a more powerful engine option.

The Kia Seltos lineup offers a balanced range of pricing options, allowing buyers to choose a trim that best suits their requirements and preferences.

– 2021 Mazda CX-3 Price

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 also comes with a competitive price structure, providing affordability without compromising on quality. Here’s a breakdown of the starting prices for the Mazda CX-3:

Mazda CX-3 Sport SUV 4D – $21,965

The base model of the 2021 Mazda CX-3 starts at a modest $21,965. Despite its affordability, this trim doesn’t skimp on style and performance.

Mazda CX-3 Range-Topping Sport SUV 4D – $21,965

The highest trim level, the Range-Topping Sport SUV 4D, also starts at $21,965. This uniform pricing for the top trim emphasizes Mazda’s commitment to offering value and quality across the lineup.

In conclusion, both the Kia Seltos and the Mazda CX-3 provide competitive starting prices that cater to a wide range of budgets.

However, it’s important to note that the final price may vary based on optional packages, features, and additional accessories chosen by the buyer.

In the end, whether you choose the 2023 Kia Seltos or the 2021 Mazda CX-3, you can find an option that aligns with your budget and desired features.

It’s advisable to visit dealerships, explore different trims, and take test drives to ensure that you’re making a decision that meets your needs and preferences while staying within your desired price range.

Read also: Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Kona

Fuel Economy

In the world of modern vehicles, fuel efficiency is a crucial consideration for both your wallet and the environment.

The 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 are no strangers to this, offering impressive fuel economy figures that can positively impact your daily commute and long-distance journeys.

– 2023 Kia Seltos Fuel Economy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the 2023 Kia Seltos will deliver commendable fuel efficiency numbers across its lineup.

Notably, the Seltos proves to be efficient in both city and highway driving scenarios. Here’s a breakdown of the estimated fuel economy figures for different models:

  • 2.0-liter Four-Cylinder Front-Wheel Drive: For front-wheel-drive Seltos models equipped with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the EPA estimates an impressive highway fuel economy of up to 35 mpg. This efficiency makes it an excellent choice for those who frequently embark on highway journeys.
  • Turbocharged 1.6-liter All-Wheel Drive: On a 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route, an all-wheel-drive Seltos featuring a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine managed to achieve around 30 mpg.

While slightly lower than the 35 mpg estimate, this figure is still commendable for a turbocharged powertrain.

– 2021 Mazda CX-3 Fuel Economy

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 also holds its own in the fuel efficiency department, catering to those who prioritize economical driving. Here’s a breakdown of the estimated fuel economy figures for the Mazda CX-3:

  • Front-Wheel Drive Model: The front-wheel drive variant of the 2021 Mazda CX-3 impresses with its EPA estimates of 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. These figures position it near the top of its segment in terms of fuel efficiency.
  • All-Wheel Drive Model: If you opt for the all-wheel-drive version of the Mazda CX-3, you can still expect admirable fuel efficiency. The all-wheel drive models carry EPA ratings of 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. During real-world testing, our all-wheel-drive Mazda CX-3 returned approximately 30 mpg, a figure that aligns well with its EPA highway rating.

Both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 demonstrate their commitment to fuel efficiency, allowing you to travel farther with fewer stops at the pump.

It’s important to note that actual fuel economy can vary based on driving conditions, maintenance, and individual driving habits.

For more detailed and up-to-date information about the Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-3’s fuel economy ratings, it’s recommended to visit the official EPA website or consult the manufacturers’ official resources.

By choosing a vehicle that excels in fuel efficiency, you can enjoy not only savings on fuel costs but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.


When it comes to choosing a compact SUV, understanding the dimensions of a vehicle is essential. The 2023 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Mazda CX-3 have distinct dimensions that play a role in everything from interior space to maneuverability.

Let’s explore the dimensions of each vehicle to see how they compare.

2023 Kia Seltos Dimensions

Length172.0 inches
Overall Width (without mirrors)70.9 inches
Height64.2 inches
Wheelbase103.5 inches
EPA Interior Volume126.2 cubic feet
Cargo Capacity (All Seats in Place)26.6 cubic feet
Maximum Cargo Capacity62.8 cubic feet
Turning Circle34.8 feet
Ground Clearance7.3 inches
Angle of Approach28.0 degrees
Angle of Departure28.0 degrees
Curb Weight2,948 pounds

Front Seat Dimensions:

Front Head Room40.0 inches
Front Leg Room41.4 inches
Front Shoulder Room55.5 inches
Front Hip Room53.5 inches
Bucket Front SeatsStandard
6-way Manual Driver Seat AdjustmentsStandard
Height Adjustable Driver SeatStandard
4-way Manual Passenger Seat AdjustmentStandard

Rear Seat Dimensions:

Rear Head Room38.4 inches
Rear Leg Room38.0 inches
Rear Shoulder Room54.7 inches
Rear Hip Room52.8 inches
Split-folding Rear SeatbackStandard
Reclining Rear SeatsStandard
Folding Center ArmrestStandard

– 2021 Mazda CX-3 Dimensions

Length168.3 inches
Overall Width (without mirrors)69.6 inches
Height60.7 inches
Wheelbase101.2 inches
EPA Interior Volume105.4 cubic feet
Cargo Capacity (All Seats in Place)17.8 cubic feet
Maximum Cargo Capacity42.7 cubic feet
Turning Circle34.8 feet
Ground Clearance6.1 inches
Curb Weight2,994 pounds
Maximum Payload996 pounds
Gross Weight3,990 pounds
Country of Final AssemblyJapan

Front Seat Dimensions:

Front Head Room38.4 inches
Front Leg Room41.7 inches
Front Shoulder Room53.5 inches
Front Hip Room52.3 inches
Bucket Front SeatsStandard
6-way Manual Driver Seat AdjustmentsStandard
Height Adjustable Driver SeatStandard
4-way Manual Passenger Seat AdjustmentStandard

Rear Seat Dimensions:

Rear Head Room37.2 inches
Rear Leg Room35.0 inches
Rear Shoulder Room50.4 inches
Rear Hip Room49.0 inches
Split-folding Rear SeatbackStandard
Folding Center ArmrestStandard

Understanding the dimensions of the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 is essential for making an informed decision.

The Seltos offers slightly more cargo capacity and interior volume, while the Mazda CX-3’s compact dimensions are designed for maneuverability in urban environments.

As you assess your needs and priorities, consider how these dimensions align with your lifestyle and usage requirements.

Read also: Hyundai Tucson vs Kia Seltos

Color Options

Personalizing your vehicle to match your style is an exciting part of car ownership. Both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 offer a range of exterior and interior color options to cater to various preferences.

Let’s explore the available color choices for each model.

– 2023 Kia Seltos Color Options

Exterior Color:

  • Clear White/Black Cherry Roof
  • Gravity Gray
  • Neptune Blue
  • Snow White Pearl
  • Cherry Black
  • Steel Gray
  • Starbright Yellow/Black Cherry Roof
  • Mars Orange
  • Dark Ocean Blue/Clear White Roof

The variety of exterior colors for the 2023 Kia Seltos ensures that buyers can choose a hue that resonates with their individual tastes and style.

From classic neutrals to vibrant tones, the Seltos offers a diverse palette to make a statement on the road.

Interior Color:

  • Black, Leatherette/Cloth

The interior of the 2023 Kia Seltos features a refined and comfortable space with black leatherette/cloth seats, creating a modern and inviting ambiance for both the driver and passengers.

– 2021 Mazda CX-3 Color Options

Exterior Color:

  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Snowflake White Pearl
  • Machine Gray Metallic
  • Jet Black Mica
  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Ceramic Metallic
  • Eternal Blue Mica

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 offers a stunning array of exterior colors, ranging from sophisticated metallic shades to vibrant blues and reds. These colors allow you to tailor the CX-3’s appearance to match your personal style.

Interior Color:

  • Black, Cloth

The interior of the 2021 Mazda CX-3 features comfortable black cloth seats, creating a sleek and cozy cabin space for both the driver and passengers.

Whether you prefer a bold and eye-catching exterior or a sleek and sophisticated interior, both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 provide color options that enable you to express your individuality through your vehicle.

When choosing colors, consider not only your personal preferences but also how they complement the overall design and aesthetic of the vehicle.

With these options, you can create a compact SUV that truly reflects your unique style on every journey.

Safety Features

When it comes to choosing a vehicle, safety is paramount. Both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 come equipped with a range of safety features to provide peace of mind on the road.

Let’s delve into the safety offerings of each model to understand how they prioritize driver and passenger safety.

– 2023 Kia Seltos Safety Features

Kia’s commitment to safety is evident in the suite of driver-assistance technologies offered in the 2023 Seltos.

While some advanced features are limited to higher trims, the Seltos ensures that safety remains a priority throughout the lineup. Here are the key safety features:

  • Standard Automated Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection: This feature helps mitigate potential collisions by applying brakes automatically if a pedestrian is detected in the vehicle’s path.
  • Standard Lane-Departure Warning with Lane-Keeping Assist: The Seltos assists drivers in maintaining their lane, sending alerts if unintentional lane departure is detected and gently guiding the vehicle back into the lane if necessary.
  • Available Adaptive Cruise Control and Cyclist Detection: The range-topping SX trim offers advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, which adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe following distance, and cyclist detection, enhancing safety around vulnerable road users.

For comprehensive information about the Seltos’s crash-test results, prospective buyers are encouraged to visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.

2021 Mazda CX-3 Safety Features

The 2021 Mazda CX-3’s safety credentials are impressive, earning top marks in crash-test ratings and receiving recognition from esteemed safety organizations. Here are the key safety features of the CX-3:

  • Standard Automated Emergency Braking: The CX-3 comes standard with automated emergency braking, which helps prevent or mitigate collisions by automatically applying the brakes if a potential front-end collision is detected.
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert: These features enhance awareness by notifying the driver of vehicles in their blind spots and approaching traffic while reversing.
  • Available Lane-Departure Warning: The CX-3 offers a lane-departure warning to alert the driver when unintentional lane departure occurs.
  • Available Adaptive Cruise Control: This feature helps maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting the speed as needed.

The CX-3’s commitment to safety is further underscored by its excellent crash-test ratings, including a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

In conclusion, both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 prioritize safety by offering a range of standard and available features aimed at preventing accidents and protecting occupants.

When considering these vehicles, buyers can take confidence in the robust safety features they offer, contributing to a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.

Read also: Kia Sportage vs Kia Seltos


When investing in a new vehicle, having a solid warranty can provide peace of mind and assurance of the manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s reliability.

The 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 each come with warranty packages, but there are differences in terms of coverage and duration. Let’s explore the warranty offerings for both models.

– 2023 Kia Seltos Warranty

Kia is renowned for its generous warranty coverage, often setting the standard in the industry. The 2023 Seltos continues this trend by offering an exceptional warranty package that underscores the manufacturer’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Here’s a breakdown of the warranty coverage for the Kia Seltos:

  • Limited Warranty: Kia provides a limited warranty that covers a duration of 5 years or 60,000 miles. This warranty ensures that buyers have ample coverage during the initial years of ownership, protecting against potential defects.
  • Powertrain Warranty: The Seltos comes with an impressive powertrain warranty that covers a duration of 10 years or 100,000 miles. This extensive coverage is a testament to Kia’s confidence in the durability and reliability of their powertrain components.
  • Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance: Unlike some competitors, the Kia Seltos does not offer complimentary scheduled maintenance as part of its warranty package.

– 2021 Mazda CX-3 Warranty

Mazda, while not offering warranties as extensive as Kia’s, still provides competitive coverage for their vehicles.

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 comes with a warranty package that aligns with industry standards. Here’s a breakdown of the warranty coverage for the Mazda CX-3:

  • Limited Warranty: Mazda’s limited warranty covers a duration of 3 years or 36,000 miles. While shorter compared to Kia’s coverage, it still provides essential protection against potential defects during the initial ownership period.
  • Powertrain Warranty: The Mazda CX-3 offers a powertrain warranty that spans 5 years or 60,000 miles. This coverage ensures that critical powertrain components are protected for an extended period.
  • Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance: Similar to the Kia Seltos, the Mazda CX-3 also does not include complimentary scheduled maintenance as part of its warranty package.

In conclusion, the 2023 Kia Seltos distinguishes itself with an impressive warranty package, offering both a longer limited warranty and a more extended powertrain warranty compared to the 2021 Mazda CX-3.

While Mazda’s warranty coverage aligns with industry standards, Kia’s extended coverage may provide added peace of mind for buyers seeking long-term protection for their investment.

It’s recommended to carefully consider your needs and priorities when evaluating warranty options and their potential impact on your ownership experience.


When comparing two compact SUVs like the 2023 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Mazda CX-3, understanding the specifications under the hood can provide insight into their performance capabilities.

Let’s dive into the specifications of each model’s engine, power output, and other important technical details.

– 2023 Kia Seltos Specs

Base Engine Size2.0 L
CylindersInline 4
Base Engine TypeGas
TransmissionContinuously Variable-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeFront-Wheel Drive
Horsepower146 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Cam TypeDouble Overhead Cam (DOHC)
Valve TimingVariable

The 2023 Kia Seltos is equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that delivers 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque.

This engine is mated to a continuously variable-speed automatic transmission, providing smooth acceleration and efficient performance.

The Seltos offers a front-wheel-drive configuration, ensuring responsive handling and comfortable driving dynamics.

– 2021 Mazda CX-3 Specs

Base Engine Size2.0 L
CylindersInline 4
Base Engine TypeGas
Transmission6-Speed Shiftable Automatic
Drive TypeAll-Wheel Drive
Horsepower148 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque146 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
Cam TypeDouble Overhead Cam (DOHC)
Valve TimingVariable
Direct InjectionStandard
Max Payload Capacity996 lbs.

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 features a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that generates 148 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque.

The engine is paired with a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, providing a balance of performance and efficiency.

The CX-3 stands out with its all-wheel-drive configuration, enhancing traction and stability on various road conditions.

Both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 feature similar engine sizes, cylinder configurations, and valvetrain configurations.

While the Seltos offers a front-wheel-drive setup, the CX-3 comes with all-wheel drive, catering to different driving preferences and needs.

When considering these specifications, it’s important to evaluate how they align with your driving style, performance expectations, and the types of road conditions you’ll encounter.

Read also: Mazda CX-3 vs Kia Sportage

Resale Value: 2023 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 has a higher resale value than the Kia Seltos. According to, the Mazda CX-3 retains 6.5 percentage points more of its value than the Kia Seltos.

This means that a 2021 Mazda CX-3 is expected to be worth about $1,500 more than a 2023 Kia Seltos after 5 years.

Here is a table comparing the resale value of the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3:

Model5-Year Depreciation Rate5-Year Retained Value
Kia Seltos42.1%57.9%
Mazda CX-335.6%64.4%

The Mazda CX-3 has a higher resale value for a few reasons. First, Mazda is a more premium brand than Kia, and premium brands tend to have higher resale values.

Second, the Mazda CX-3 is a more desirable vehicle than the Kia Seltos. It has a more stylish design, a nicer interior, and better driving dynamics.

Finally, the Mazda CX-3 is a smaller vehicle than the Kia Seltos, and smaller vehicles tend to have higher resale values.

If you are looking for a car with a high resale value, the Mazda CX-3 is a better choice than the Kia Seltos.

However, if you are looking for a car with more features and space, the Kia Seltos is a better option. Ultimately, the best car for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Reliability: 2023 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Mazda CX-3

The 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 have both received good reviews for their reliability, but the Seltos has a slight edge.

The Seltos has a predicted reliability score of 4.5 out of 5 from J.D. Power, while the CX-3 has a score of 4.0 out of 5.

This means that the Seltos is expected to have fewer problems over the course of its lifetime than the CX-3.Here is a more detailed comparison of the two SUVs’ reliability ratings:

J.D. Power Predicted Reliability Score:

  • Kia Seltos: 4.5 out of 5
  • Mazda CX-3: 4.0 out of 5

Consumer Reports Reliability Rating:

  • Kia Seltos: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Mazda CX-3: 3 out of 5 stars

CarEdge Cost of Ownership:

  • Kia Seltos: $5,200 in 5 years
  • Mazda CX-3: $5,700 in 5 years

The Seltos also has a lower cost of ownership than the CX-3, according to CarEdge. This means that it will be cheaper to maintain and repair over the course of its lifetime.

Ultimately, the 2023 Kia Seltos is the more reliable SUV of the two. It has a better-predicted reliability score, a higher Consumer Reports reliability rating, and a lower cost of ownership. If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable SUV, the Seltos is a great option.

Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing between the Seltos and the CX-3:

  • Size and cargo space: The Seltos is larger than the CX-3, so it has more interior and cargo space. This makes it a better choice for families or people who need a lot of space for cargo.
  • Fuel economy: The CX-3 gets better fuel economy than the Seltos. If fuel economy is important to you, the CX-3 is the better choice.
  • Technology: The Seltos has more standard technology features than the CX-3. This includes features like a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. If you’re looking for a car with a lot of technology features, the Seltos is the better choice.

Pros and Cons

Choosing between the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 involves weighing their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Both models offer unique features and qualities that can cater to different preferences and priorities. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of each vehicle to help you make an informed decision.

– 2023 Kia Seltos: Pros and Cons


  • Plenty of Cargo Space: The Seltos boasts ample cargo space, making it well-suited for those who require room for luggage, groceries, or outdoor gear.
  • Upscale Interior Design and Materials: The Seltos offers an interior that exudes sophistication, with high-quality materials and a design that’s pleasing to the eye.
  • Distinctive Styling and Paint Choices: The Seltos stands out with its unique styling elements and a range of paint options that allow buyers to express their individuality.


  • Front Seats Aren’t Very Comfortable for Long Drives: Some drivers may find the front seats less comfortable during extended journeys, which can impact overall driving comfort.
  • Less Than Athletic Handling: While the Seltos excels in other areas, its handling might not be as sporty as some rivals, impacting its performance on winding roads.

– 2021 Mazda CX-3: Pros and Cons


  • Attractive and Comfortable Interior: The CX-3 offers an interior that’s not only visually appealing but also comfortable, creating a pleasant environment for both drivers and passengers.
  • Engaging Driving Experience: With its responsive handling and spirited performance, the CX-3 provides an engaging and enjoyable driving experience.
  • Impressive Fuel Economy: The CX-3’s efficient engine contributes to impressive fuel economy figures, allowing you to travel farther on a tank of gas.
  • Good Selection of Driver Aids and Active Safety Features: The CX-3 comes equipped with a range of driver-assistance technologies that enhance safety and convenience.


  • Below-Average Cargo Space: The CX-3’s cargo space might not be as spacious as some competitors, limiting its capacity for larger items.
  • Cramped Rear Seat: The rear seat of the CX-3 might feel cramped for taller passengers, affecting overall passenger comfort.
  • Suspension Tuning Could Be Too Firm for Some: While the CX-3 offers an engaging driving experience, its suspension tuning might be too firm for those who prioritize a smoother ride.


Both the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Mazda CX-3 have their own set of pros and cons, making them suitable for different types of drivers and lifestyles.

The Seltos shines with its cargo space and upscale interior, while the CX-3 impresses with its engaging driving experience and fuel efficiency.

Understanding these pros and cons will help you align your priorities with the qualities that matter most to you, ultimately guiding you toward the vehicle that best meets your needs and preferences.


Which SUV offers better fuel efficiency?

Both the Seltos and CX-3 offer commendable fuel efficiency, making them economical choices for daily driving.

Does the Seltos come with a better warranty?

Yes, Kia’s industry-leading warranty coverage adds to the Seltos’ appeal for long-term ownership.

Are these SUVs suitable for families?

While both SUVs can accommodate small families, the Seltos might be more family-friendly due to its larger size.

Do these vehicles have all-wheel drive options?

Yes, both the Seltos and CX-3 offer all-wheel drive variants for enhanced traction and control.

Which SUV has a more premium interior?

The CX-3 leans towards a more premium interior, with upscale materials and a refined design.