2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Corolla Hatchback 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 CX-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 Hatchback’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 CX-3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Corolla Hatchback’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-3 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Corolla Hatchback and the CX-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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla Hatchback 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 CX-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 Hatchback’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 Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 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 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.

Engine

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The Corolla Hatchback’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 20 more horsepower (168 vs. 148) and 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is faster than the Mazda CX-3 (automatics tested):

Corolla

CX-3

Zero to 30 MPH

3.4 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

9.6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

82.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Corolla Hatchback

FWD

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/37 hwy

Auto

Nightshade 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

32 city/42 hwy

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

32 city/41 hwy

XSE 2.0 SOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

CX-3

FWD

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/34 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

The Corolla Hatchback has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (13.2 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The Corolla Hatchback offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Corolla Hatchback offers an optional 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 CX-3 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Corolla Hatchback’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-3:

Corolla

CX-3

Front Rotors

11.5 inches

11 inches

The Corolla Hatchback stops shorter than the CX-3:

Corolla

CX-3

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Corolla Hatchback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-3 (225/40R18 vs. 215/60R16).

The Corolla Hatchback SE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-3’s standard 60 series tires. The Corolla Hatchback’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the CX-3’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Corolla Hatchback offers optional 18-inch wheels. The CX-3’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback 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 CX-3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Corolla Hatchback has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Corolla Hatchback flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Corolla Hatchback’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the CX-3 (103.9 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The Corolla Hatchback XSE handles at .82 G’s, while the CX-3 AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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The Corolla Hatchback has .3 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

Ergonomics

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

The Corolla Hatchback’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 CX-3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla Hatchback 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 CX-3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Smart Key System standard on the Corolla Hatchback allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Mazda CX-3’s Pushbutton Start doesn’t unlock the doors or the cargo door.

The Corolla Hatchback’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The CX-3 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The Corolla Hatchback XSE has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the CX-3.

The Corolla Hatchback XSE’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 CX-3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Corolla Hatchback and the CX-3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Corolla Hatchback XSE has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-3 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla Hatchback is less expensive to operate than the CX-3 because it costs $264 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Corolla Hatchback than the CX-3, including $16 less for a muffler, $31 less for front brake pads, $52 less for fuel injection and $204 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 2020/08/09

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla Hatchback as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Mazda CX-3 by almost 19 to one during 2019.

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