2019 Mazda 3 vs. 2018 Toyota Yaris Liftback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda 3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Toyota Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Mazda 3 offers optional Rear Smart Brake Support that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Mazda 3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Mazda 3 offers an optional 360-Degree Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Yaris Liftback only offers a rear monitor.

The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Mazda 3 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Mazda 3 and the Yaris Liftback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and driver alert monitors.

The Mazda 3 weighs 687 to 940 pounds more than the Toyota Yaris Liftback. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Engine

The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 80 more horsepower (186 vs. 106) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 103) than the Yaris Liftback’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 3 Premium/Hatchback/AWD’s fuel efficiency. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Yaris Liftback (12.7 vs. 11.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Yaris Liftback (13.2 vs. 11.1 gallons).

Transmission

The Mazda 3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Yaris Liftback.

A six-speed manual is no cost option on the Mazda 3 Hatchback, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Yaris Liftback.

A six-speed automatic is standard on the Mazda 3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a four-speed automatic is available for the Yaris Liftback.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Yaris Liftback:

 

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Yaris Liftback L/LE

Yaris SE 5dr Liftback

Front Rotors

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

10 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.43 inches

10.43 inches

7.87” drums

10.2 inches

The Mazda 3 has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Rear drums are standard on the Yaris Liftback. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 3 has larger standard tires than the Yaris Liftback (205/60R16 vs. 175/65R15). The Mazda 3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Yaris Liftback (215/45R18 vs. 195/50R16).

The Mazda 3 Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Yaris Liftback L/LE’s standard 65 series tires. The Mazda 3’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Yaris SE 5dr Liftback’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 3 Sedan has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Yaris Liftback L/LE. The Mazda 3’s optional 18-inch wheels are larger than the 16-inch wheels on the Yaris SE 5dr Liftback.

The Mazda 3’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Yaris Liftback only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 8.5 inches longer than on the Yaris Liftback (107.3 inches vs. 98.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 3.7 inches wider in the front and 4.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Yaris Liftback.

Passenger Space

The Mazda 3 Sedan has 7.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Yaris 5dr Liftback (92.8 vs. 85.1).

The Mazda 3 Sedan has 1.7 inches more front legroom, 4.6 inches more front hip room, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear legroom, .8 inches more rear hip room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Yaris 5dr Liftback.

Ergonomics

The Mazda 3 Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Mazda 3 has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Mazda 3 Premium has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and warning light readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Mazda 3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Yaris Liftback’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

The Yaris Liftback’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The Mazda 3’s standard doors lock when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

Push Button Start standard on the Mazda 3 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s Advanced Keyless Entry and Start will also allow unlocking the driver’s door and trunk without taking your keys out). The Toyota Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Mazda 3 Base Sedan’s standard variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Yaris Liftback’s fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 3 Premium has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Mazda 3 has standard power remote mirrors. The Yaris Liftback L doesn’t offer either a remote driver side or passenger side mirror. The driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.

The Mazda 3’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Yaris Liftback LE/SE’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

When the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Yaris Liftback’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Mazda 3’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Yaris Liftback.

The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) has a standard Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard smartphone integration for the Mazda 3 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Yaris Liftback doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Recommendations

The Mazda 3 outsold the Toyota Yaris by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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