2021 Volvo V60 vs. 2020 Mazda 3

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 2020/10/23

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo V60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The V60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the V60 and Mazda 3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The V60 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Mazda 3’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The V60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The V60 Inscription has standard CTA Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The V60 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Mazda 3 only offers a rear monitor.

Both the V60 and the Mazda 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and driver alert monitors.

The Volvo V60 weighs 700 to 1180 pounds more than the Mazda 3. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The V60 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 3’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The V60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mazda 3’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the V60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 3.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the V60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Mazda 3’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the V60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the V60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Mazda 3’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The V60 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 64 more horsepower (250 vs. 186) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 186) than the Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The V60 T8 Polestar’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 229 more horsepower (415 vs. 186) and 308 lbs.-ft. more torque (494 vs. 186) than the Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the V60 T5 is faster than the Mazda 3 (automatics tested):

V60

Mazda3

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

8.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.2 MPH

87.7 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 2020/10/23

On the EPA test cycle the V60 T8 Polestar running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3 AWD Hatchback (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 25 city/33 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the V60 Recharge running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3 AWD Hatchback (28 city/33 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

The V60 T8 Polestar can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The Mazda 3 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the V60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the V60’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The V60 has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The V60 has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).

The V60 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo V60, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 3.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the V60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 3:

V60 T5

V60 Polestar Engineered

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

10.43 inches

10.43 inches

The V60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Mazda 3 are solid, not vented.

The V60 stops shorter than the Mazda 3:

V60

Mazda 3

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the V60 has larger tires than the Mazda 3 (235/45R18 vs. 205/60R16). The V60’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 3 (235/45R18 vs. 215/45R18).

The V60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 3 Sedan’s standard 60 series tires. The V60’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the V60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Mazda 3 Sedan. The V60’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Volvo V60 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 3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The V60 offers an available set of manually adjustable shock absorbers. They allow the driver the manually set the shock absorbers to a stiff setting for amateur competitions and return them to lower levels for a comfortable ride on normal streets. This allows the driver to choose between a comfortable ride or excellent handling during competitions. The Mazda 3’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The V60 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the V60’s wheelbase is 5.8 inches longer than on the Mazda 3 (113.1 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the V60 is 1.3 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than on the Mazda 3.

The V60 Inscription AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Mazda 3 Premium Sedan AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Cargo Capacity

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The V60 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Mazda3 Hatchback with its rear seat up (23.2 vs. 20.1 cubic feet). The V60 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Mazda3 Hatchback with its rear seat folded (50.9 vs. 47 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the V60. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the V60’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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The V60 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Mazda 3 has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The V60 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mazda 3 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the V60 and the Mazda 3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the V60 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.

If the windows are left open on the V60 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Mazda 3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the V60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The V60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The V60’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

Both the V60 and the Mazda 3 offer available heated front seats. The V60 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Mazda 3.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the V60 Inscription keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the V60’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The V60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Mazda 3.

The V60 has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium.

Both the V60 and the Mazda 3 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the V60 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The V60’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2020/10/23

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the V60 is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 3 because typical repairs cost less on the V60 than the Mazda 3, including $122 less for a power steering pump.

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

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