Mazda Mazda3 vs. Mazda Mazda6

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - June 18, 2019

Long seen as a brand that puts driver enjoyment before everything else, Mazda has set its sights on prioritizing something everyone can get behind: luxury. This doesn’t mean the automaker has turned its back on fun cars, it’s just that luxury’s at the forefront now. Two cars that signify Mazda’s change in philosophy are the redesigned Mazda3 and the Mazda6.

While there are clear differences between the two, like size, price, and performance, there are a couple of other distinctions that might have you leaning toward one option over the other. We researched both to see which is the better fit for the majority of consumers.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Mazda3 & Mazda6 »

What the Mazda3 Gets Right

As the smaller vehicle competing in the compact segment, the Mazda3 is the more affordable option. Pricing starts at $21,920 for the sedan or $24,520 for the hatchback. The Mazda6 is slightly pricier than the Mazda3 hatchback with a starting price of $24,720.

In addition to saving you money in the initial purchase, the all-new Mazda3 also saves you money at the pumps over the Mazda6. In its optimal configuration, the Mazda3 achieves an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway, and 30 combined. The best the Mazda6 can muster is 26/35/29 mpg (city/highway/combined).

While Mazda stopped offering a manual transmission across the range of both the Mazda3 and Mazda6 lineups for the 2019 model year, a six-speed manual is still optional on the range-topping Mazda3 hatchback Premium trim. Driving enthusiasts are sure to enjoy this fact.

What the Mazda6 Gets Right

If performance is what you’re after, the Mazda6 is the better choice. The sedan is offered with two engines that are both more powerful than the Mazda3’s sole motor. The base engine in the Mazda6 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 187 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder is also offered that generates 250 hp. The only engine available in the Mazda3 is the 186-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder.

With its larger blueprint, the Mazda6 is more spacious than the Mazda3. The Mazda6 sedan has more front head room, front and rear shoulder room, rear hip room, rear leg room, and passenger volume than the Mazda3 sedan. Cargo volume is also up in the Mazda6 compared to the Mazda3 sedan – 14.7 cubic feet compared to 13.2 cubic feet.

In the range-topping Signature trim, the Mazda6 gets downright luxurious with a heated steering wheel, Napa leather-trimmed seats, Sen Wood trim, ultrasuede trim, ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear seats, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, a head-up display, and 19-inch wheels.

Being All-New Helps the Mazda3

While the Mazda6 isn’t old, the Mazda3 was redesigned for the 2019 model year. This little difference helps make things more of an even playing field between the two. The Mazda6 has consistently been a better choice over the Mazda3 because of its size, performance, and looks, but the all-new Mazda3 is better in every way and finally has what it takes to best its bigger sibling.

Our Verdict: Mazda Mazda3

With an available hatchback body style, manual transmission, and all-wheel drive, the Mazda3 offers more options than the Mazda6. The redesigned model also brings more attractive styling inside and out, and combines luxury and comfort in a value-oriented package.

Take a closer look at the Mazda Mazda3 »

Take a closer look at the Mazda Mazda6 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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