2020 Mazda 3 vs. 2019 Toyota Prius c

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

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 Prius c doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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

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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and driver alert monitors.

The Mazda 3 weighs 492 to 725 pounds more than the Toyota Prius c. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mazda 3 Sedan is safer than the Prius c:

3

Prius c

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

230

349

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

67 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.43/.64

.89/.54

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, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 3 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Prius c is not even a standard “Top Pick.”

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Toyota is ranked third.

Engine

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The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 87 more horsepower (186 vs. 99) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 125) than the Prius c’s 1.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda 3 is faster than the Toyota Prius c (automatics tested):

Mazda3

Prius c

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

10.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.7 sec

10.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

18.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

76 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

102 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

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

The Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius c (12.7 vs. 9.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius c (13.2 vs. 9.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

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

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Prius c

Front Rotors

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

10.43 inches

10.43 inches

9” drums

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

The Mazda 3 stops much shorter than the Prius c:

Mazda 3

Prius c

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

For better traction, the Mazda 3 has larger standard tires than the Prius c (205/60R16 vs. 175/65R15). The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Prius c (215/45R18 vs. 175/65R15).

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 Prius c’s standard 65 series tires. The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Prius c’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 3 Sedan has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius c. The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium has standard 18-inch wheels.

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

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the Prius c (107.3 inches vs. 100.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 4.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Prius c.

The Mazda 3 Premium Hatchback AWD handles at .88 G’s, while the Prius c pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 3 Premium Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the Prius c (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.5 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The Mazda 3 Sedan has 5.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Prius c (92.8 vs. 87.4).

The Mazda 3 Sedan has .6 inches more front legroom, 3.6 inches more front hip room, 3.4 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom, .1 inches more rear hip room and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius c.

Cargo Capacity

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The Mazda 3 Hatchback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Prius c with its rear seat up (20.1 vs. 17.1 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Mazda 3 to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Prius c.

Ergonomics

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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 Prius c doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Mazda 3’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Prius c has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

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 Prius c’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

The Mazda 3’s available cruise control switch is lit from behind, making it plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Prius c’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Mazda 3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Prius c’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Prius c’s optional manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Mazda 3 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 Prius c 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 Prius c doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Mazda 3 has standard extendable sun visors. The Prius c doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Mazda 3’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Prius c’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 Prius c’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 Prius c 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 Prius c.

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 and it can provide a boundary between children. The Prius c 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 Prius c doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mazda 3 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 Prius c doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

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The Mazda 3 comes in sedan and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Toyota Prius c isn’t available as a sedan.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Mazda 3 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Mazda 3 with a number “3” insurance rate while the Prius c is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 3 is less expensive to operate than the Prius c because typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 3 than the Prius c, including $437 less for a water pump, $222 less for fuel injection, $741 less for a timing belt/chain and $424 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda 3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Toyota Prius c isn't recommended.

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