2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2019 Mazda 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Elantra Sedan 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Elantra Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Mazda 3 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.


The Elantra Sedan comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 3’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Elantra Sedan 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the 3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Mazda 3 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Mazda 3’s (7 vs. 5 years).

There are over 44 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Elantra Sedan’s warranty.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the Elantra Sedan second among compact cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Mazda 3 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.


The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 15 more horsepower (201 vs. 186) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 186) than the Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Elantra Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda3 Sedan:


Elantra Sedan


Eco 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

33 city/41 hwy

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/41 hwy

SEL/Value/Limited 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Mazda3 Sedan


Premium 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/35 hwy


2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Elantra Sedan Eco’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Elantra Sedan has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (14 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.


A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is available on the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 3.

The Elantra Sedan has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Elantra Sedan Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 3:

Elantra Sport

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

The Elantra Sedan stops shorter than the Mazda 3:


Mazda 3

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 3 (225/45R17 vs. 215/45R18).

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 3’s optional 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Elantra Sedan Sport 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 solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Elantra Sedan has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Elantra Sedan a Mid-size car, while the Mazda 3 is rated a Compact.

The Elantra Sedan has 3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mazda 3 Sedan (95.8 vs. 92.8).

The Elantra Sedan has 2.3 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom, 1 inch more rear hip room and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mazda 3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Elantra Sedan has a much larger trunk than the Mazda 3 Sedan (14.4 vs. 13.2 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional Seat Easy Access glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Elantra Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Mazda 3’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

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

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Mazda 3 offer available heated front seats. The Elantra Sedan 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.

The Elantra Sedan has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Elantra Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the Mazda 3 is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 3 because typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the Mazda 3, including $47 less for a water pump, $62 less for a muffler, $48 less for front brake pads, $57 less for fuel injection, $286 less for a fuel pump and $18 less for front struts.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Elantra Sedan and the Mazda 3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Mazda 3 by over three to one during 2018.

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

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