2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2018 Mazda 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Corolla’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 Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Corolla and the Mazda 3 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, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla 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 Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Mazda 3 isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 14 more horsepower (169 vs. 155) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 150) than the Mazda 3 Sport’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3 Sedan:

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

 

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Mazda 3 Sedan

 

Manual

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

 

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

28 city/38 hwy

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3 Hatchback:

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

 

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Mazda 3 Hatchback

 

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

 

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

28 city/37 hwy

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

Transmission

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

The Corolla 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 Toyota Corolla has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 3 (225/40R18 vs. 215/45R18).

The Corolla SE/XSE’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 Touring/Grand Touring’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Mazda 3’s (34.1 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Passenger Space

The Corolla has .1 inches more front legroom and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mazda 3.

Cargo Capacity

The Corolla has a larger trunk than the Mazda 3 4-Door (13.1 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Corolla and the Mazda 3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Corolla is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mazda 3 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Corolla’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 Mazda 3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Mazda 3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Corolla has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mazda 3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Corolla XLE/XSE’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Mazda 3’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Mazda 3 by almost five to one during 2018.

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

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