Mazda Mazda3 vs. Toyota Corolla Hatchback

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - December 17, 2018

The Mazda Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla Hatchback are two economy cars that are both titans out of Japan, wrestling for a slice of the mass-market pie. Both are practical and economical, stuffing as much value as possible into a petite package. All the same, the two cars offer different takes on a classic product, one dynamic and flashy, the other all spartan practicality. Which wins out in the end?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Mazda3 & Corolla Hatchback »

What the Mazda3 Gets Right

The Mazda3 manages to slide in with the advantage in price. A base 2018 Mazda3 5-Door starts at just $20,240, which is $670 less than the cheapest 2019 Corolla Hatchback. That may not seem like a huge difference, but the Mazda3 is roomier as well. The Mazda3 has nearly six inches more rear leg room, and a full eight inches more rear hip room. The Mazda3 wins out on cargo capacity as well, with 20.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats compared to 17.8 in the Corolla Hatchback.

The Mazda3 will also please performance drivers. While the Corolla is limited to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 168 horsepower, the Mazda3 is available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 184 hp. The Mazda3 is also available with a six-speed automatic transmission, as opposed to the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) on the Corolla hatchback.

What the Corolla Hatchback Gets Right

The Corolla’s greatest victory is at the fuel pump, where it bests the Mazda3 by a few miles per gallon. With its CVT gearbox, the Corolla Hatchback manages an EPA-estimated 32 miles per gallon city, 42 mpg highway, and 36 combined. That's exceptional, even compared to the Mazda3 5-Door's respectable 28/37/32 mpg (city/highway/combined) with the automatic transmission.

Despite a smaller base infotainment screen, the Corolla does win out in one respect many buyers will appreciate. The Corolla system is Apple CarPlay compatible, while the Mazda3 is currently compatible with neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto.

Personality or Efficiency?

With its combination of verve and value, the Mazda3 makes a compelling package. It proves that personality doesn’t have to come at the cost of practicality, even in a competitive mainstream class. The main draw of the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is its fuel efficiency, where it still holds a tangible advantage over the Mazda3.

Our Verdict: Mazda3

Although the Corolla may outsell the Mazda3, we think the Mazda is the one to have. It may lose a few mpg at the pump, but based on value and dynamism, it’s the companion we’d choose.

Take a closer look at the Mazda Mazda3 »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Corolla Hatchback »

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

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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