Neither the Mazda3 nor the Focus is a perfect ten for safety, but they're both very well equipped. All models of the Mazda3 include four-wheel disc brakes, which is a slight advantage, but the Mazda3's three-star federal side impact score might be a cause for concern. You can get a rear camera system in the Focus, while the Mazda3 offers a blind spot warning system.
Although standard equipment on base models of both the Focus and Mazda3 is comparable, it's the Focus that definitely has an edge on features. MyFord Touch, Ford's sophisticated voice- and touch-screen-based system for connectivity with smart phones and media players (plus climate controls), outclasses the interface in the Mazda3. Likewise, the Focus offers a full-featured (and easier to use) navigation system, plus available Park Assist. But a few features like bi-xenon adaptive lighting, memory power seats, blind-spot monitoring, and a ten-speaker Bose surround sound system certainly make the Mazda3 no technology slouch.
Our Overall Rating numbers these two models are very close; and here even more than usual it comes down to priorities. If you love to drive and want the best-driving, gas-stingy small car, we can't think of much better than the Mazda3i Touring or Grand Touring with the SkyActiv engine. But you'll probably be happier with the Focus if a more sophisticated interior feel or advanced infotainment features are what you're after.
|2013 Ford Focus||2012 Mazda MAZDA3|
|Whether or not you consider the exciting new ST performance model, the 2013 Ford Focus lineup is evidence that small cars don't have to feel so appliance-like.||With its new Skyactive powertrains, the 2012 Mazda3 is the eco-conscious choice that sure doesn't drive like one.|
|Read moreWith sweeping curves and crisp detailing, the 2013 Ford Focus is an extrovert inside and out.||Read moreFrom the outside, the 2012 Mazda Mazda3 remains one of the more stylish small-car picks—especially in its distinctive five-door hatchback form.|
|Read moreA new Focus ST spices up the performance potential; otherwise, the Focus lineup feels athletic and nimble.||Read moreThe 2012 Mazda3 models are still at the top of their class in driving excitement—and fuel-efficient new Skyactiv powertrains don't spoil any of the fun.|
|Read moreSporty doesn't mean uncomfortable here; the Focus has a spacious interior, and the refinement of a more expensive vehicle.||Read moreThe 2012 Mazda3 has nice front seats, though its tight backseat access, lackluster trims, and road noise still place it only mid-pack for comfort and perceived quality.|
|Read moreThe Focus offers impressive occupant protection and can be equipped with a few standout safety-tech features.||Read moreThe 2012 Mazda3 is the first affordable small car to offer blind-spot monitoring, and its safety ratings have been mostly good.|
|Read moreThe 2013 Focus feels more upmarket compared to some other compact models, and the tech-savvy Titanium has premium-brand appeal.||Read moreIn Touring or Grand Touring trims, the 2012 Mazda3 can be had with some premium-car tech features; but it's surprisingly well equipped as a $16k basic commuter.|
|Read moreThe 2013 Ford Focus lineup is no standout, but the Focus Electric sure is, and the sporty ST is better on gas than other performance hatches.||Read moreGet a 2012 Mazda3 i Touring or Grand Touring with the new SkyActiv engine, and you'll enjoy top-notch fuel economy with no real sacrifice in 'zoom-zoom.'|
|from $16,200||from $15,200|
|from $15,269||from $14,771|
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|Front Leg Room (in)|
|Second Leg Room (in)|
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