Toyota Corolla vs. Mazda Mazda3

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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 - July 8, 2019

Crossovers and SUVs may be the most popular offerings on the market these days, but compact sedans are making a comeback. Mazda and Toyota are spearheading the recurrence with their respective offerings, the Mazda3 and the Corolla. Both vehicles are great options for drivers looking for something small, affordable, safe, and easy to drive. And both have benefited from recent redesigns.

Is the Mazda Mazda3 or the Toyota Corolla the better option for the majority of drivers? Read below to find out. Additionally, if you want some more versatility and cargo space, both options are available in a hatchback body style that we compared here.

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

What the Corolla Gets Right

Right away, the all-new Toyota Corolla sedan earns some points for being the more affordable option of the two. Pricing for the 2020 Corolla starts at $20,430 including destination, while the 2019 Mazda3 is priced at $21,920.

The Corolla is also the more efficient vehicle. When properly equipped, the Corolla is capable of getting up to 34 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA. The best the Mazda3 can muster is 30 mpg combined. If saving even more money at the pumps is what you’re looking for, Toyota also offers the Corolla in a hybrid trim, which is rated to get a staggering 52 mpg combined.

Despite being the more affordable option, the Corolla comes with more safety features as standard. Thanks to the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety tech, it comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and road sign assist. The Mazda3 only comes with automatic emergency braking as standard.

Mazda might have made a name for itself as a brand that makes sporty cars that still excel at daily tasks, but it’s the Corolla that’s available with a six-speed manual transmission. Sure, a lot of people don’t know how to drive a car with a manual gearbox, but for the drivers that can, nothing beats a good six-speed. The only transmission that’s offered in the Mazda3 sedan is a six-speed automatic.

What the Mazda3 Gets Right

Performance-wise, the Mazda3 has the grunt to match its exotic design. Power for the Mazda3 comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 186 horsepower. The Corolla sedan comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 169 hp.

While the extra 20 hp is really noticeable and helps the Mazda3 feel much sportier than the Corolla, Mazda’s compact sedan has another trick up its sleeve: all-wheel drive. Available for $1,400 on everything but the base trim, all-wheel drive helps the Mazda3 provide drivers with extra security during inclement weather.

The Mazda3 might have the more upscale interior design, but the vehicle is the more spacious sedan. With a total of 92.8 cubic feet of passenger volume, the Mazda3 has 4.2 more cubic feet of space in the cabin than the Corolla. The extra space equates to more rear head room, more front and rear shoulder room, more front hip room, as well as front and rear leg room.

The Corolla Doesn’t Have the Magic

The all-new Toyota Corolla is better than any Corolla we’ve ever seen before. With a more affordable price tag, more safety features, and better fuel economy, it’s a great option. But the Mazda3 has a gorgeous design (both inside and outside), better driving dynamics, and more power. Mazda’s worked its magic again, making the latest Mazda3 one of the best compacts in the segment.

Our Verdict: Mazda Mazda3

Mazda has started its move upstream to offer luxury vehicles at a reasonable price. The Mazda3 is the most affordable vehicle in the automaker’s lineup, but it doesn’t feel like it. In fact, the Mazda3 feels and drives like a much more expensive car. Plus, it’s also spacious for a compact. These things help the Mazda3 edge past the Corolla.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Corolla »

Take a closer look at the Mazda Mazda3 »

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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