2019 Toyota Rav4 vs. 2019 Mazda 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Rav4 and the Mazda 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Rav4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 167 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Mazda 3 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 3.

There are over 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Rav4’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Mazda is ranked third.

Engine

The Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (203 vs. 186) than the Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Rav4 gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda3 Hatchback:

 

 

 

MPG

Rav4

FWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

LE 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/34 hwy

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

Mazda3 Hatchback

FWD

Manual

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

 

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

The Rav4 has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Rav4 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Rav4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 3.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Rav4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 3:

 

Rav4

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.43 inches

10.43 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Rav4 has larger standard tires than the Mazda 3 (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 3 (235/55R19 vs. 215/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rav4 LE/XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Mazda 3 Sedan. The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the Mazda 3.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Rav4 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mazda 3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Mazda 3.

Chassis

The front grille of the Rav4 Adventure/Limited uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Rav4 has 6.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mazda 3 Sedan (98.9 vs. 92.8). The Rav4 has 6.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mazda 3 Hatchback (98.9 vs. 92.7).

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4’s rear seats recline. The Mazda 3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Rav4 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Mazda3 Hatchback with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 20.1 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Rav4’s cargo door uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Mazda 3’s useful trunk space.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Rav4 (except LE) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the Rav4 Limited, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

The Rav4 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Mazda 3 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Rav4’s optional outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

Both the Rav4 and the Mazda 3 offer available heated front seats. The Rav4 Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Mazda 3.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Rav4 Adventure/Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Rav4 XLE AWD/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the Rav4 and the Mazda 3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Rav4 Adventure has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Mazda 3 by almost seven to one during 2018.

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

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