2020 Mazda 3 vs. 2020 Acura ILX

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

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

The Mazda 3’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The ILX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Mazda 3 and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available 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, 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 ILX last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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There are over 2 times as many Mazda dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 3’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 12th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 21st in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Acura is ranked 28th.

Engine

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The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Mazda3 Sedan

FWD

Premium 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

ILX

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/34 hwy

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

MPG

Mazda3 Hatchback

FWD

Manual

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

ILX

FWD

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/34 hwy

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 ILX doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda 3 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The ILX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda 3 higher (7 out of 10) than the Acura ILX (3). This means the Mazda 3 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ILX every 15,000 miles.

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

The Mazda 3 stops much shorter than the ILX:

Mazda 3

ILX

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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The Mazda 3 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the ILX (107.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the ILX.

The Mazda 3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.8% to 39.2%) than the ILX’s (63% to 37%). This gives the Mazda 3 more stable handling and braking.

The Mazda 3 Premium Hatchback AWD handles at .88 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Mazda 3’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the ILX’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Chassis

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The Mazda 3 Sedan is 6.6 inches shorter than the ILX, making the Mazda 3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Mazda 3 Sedan has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (92.8 vs. 89.3).

The Mazda 3 Sedan has 4.3 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom and 1.1 inches more rear legroom than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

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The Mazda 3 Sedan has a larger trunk than the ILX (13.2 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

The Mazda 3’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Ergonomics

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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 ILX 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 ILX 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 ILX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 ILX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Mazda 3’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ILX’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Mazda 3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ILX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 ILX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 ILX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mazda 3 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The ILX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

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 ILX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 3 is less expensive to operate than the ILX because typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 3 than the ILX, including $67 less for a water pump, $273 less for a starter, $216 less for fuel injection, $141 less for front struts and $208 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 Mazda 3 outsold the Acura ILX by over three to one during 2019.

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

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