2020 Mazda 3 vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

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

Both the Mazda 3 and the Impreza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 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 Impreza is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2020.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Subaru is ranked 7th.

Engine

© 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’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 34 more horsepower (186 vs. 152) and 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda 3 is faster than the Subaru Impreza (manual transmissions tested):

Mazda3

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

9.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

81.4 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda 3 is faster than the Subaru Impreza (automatics tested):

Mazda3

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.3 MPH

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

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 Subaru Impreza (6 to 7). This means the Mazda 3 produces up to 1.1 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Impreza every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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

A six-speed manual is no cost option on the Mazda 3 Hatchback Premium, 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 Impreza.

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 front brake rotors are larger than those on the Impreza:

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Impreza

Impreza Sport

Front Rotors

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

10.9 inches

11.6 inches

The Mazda 3 stops much shorter than the Impreza:

Mazda 3

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Impreza.

The Mazda 3 Premium Sedan handles at .86 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Mazda 3 Premium Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Mazda 3’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Impreza’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Mazda 3 Sedan is 7.1 inches shorter than the Impreza Sedan, making the Mazda 3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The Mazda 3 Sedan has a larger trunk than the Impreza Sedan (13.2 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza’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 Impreza’s 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 Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

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 Impreza’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Impreza doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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 Impreza doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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The Mazda 3 is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Impreza doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

© 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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 3 is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because it costs $218 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 3 than the Impreza, including $79 less for a water pump, $215 less for a starter, $174 less for front struts and $108 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 both the Mazda 3 and the Subaru Impreza, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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