2014 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. Its Competition

2014 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring  -  First Drive
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

The compact-car segment spans quite the range in purpose, ranging from the very frugal, simple, and pragmatic, to more comfort-oriented, to downright sporty.

The 2014 Mazda 3 falls in that latter group, next to only the Ford Focus, for the sportiest driving feel of the group.

The Focus, like the Mazda3, has a taut ride, and a very responsive driving feel overall; while we tend to like the Mazda3’s dash better than that of the Focus, the Focus is better behind the front seats.

The Volkswagen Golf is also fun to drive, but it's now aging (a new one is due for 2015) and short on infotainment features for the price.

The Chevrolet Cruze is at the other end of the spectrum; it’s super-spacious, with a back seat that feels like it could be that of a mid-size sedan, and its ride is quiet and absorbent while there’s nothing exciting about the driving experience.

The Honda Civic is right smack in the middle of the segment—so is the newly redesigned Toyota Corolla, of course, and the Kia Forte—and the Civic in particular is a top-notch safety performer.

The Dodge Dart, like the Corolla and Cruze, is only offered as a sedan, but it offers a wider range of powertrains as well as a far more spacious interior—all with quite a bit of comfort yet a sporty design.

2014 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring  -  First Drive2014 Mazda MAZDA3
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2014 Dodge Dart SXT Blacktop2014 Dodge Dart
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2014 Ford Focus2014 Ford Focus
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2014 Honda Civic Coupe2014 Honda Civic
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2014 Subaru Impreza 5dr Auto 2.0i Angular Front Exterior View2014 Subaru Impreza
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2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI2014 Volkswagen Golf
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Quick Specs
The 2014 Mazda 3 stands out from the small-car crowd, with its sport-car-influenced proportions and sporty driving experience; but its tight, noisy cabin means that it’s not at all the best pick for pragmatists.
Remember the Neon? The 2014 Dodge Dart brings back some of its personality, but in a decidedly better package.
Even without considering the top-performance ST, the 2014 Ford Focus is one of the best-driving small cars on the market--with the impression of being an accessible premium car, not a spruced-up econobox.
The 2014 Honda Civic brings better refinement back to the lineup, but there's more to come, we're told.
The 2014 Subaru Impreza remains the only option in its class to come equipped with standard all-wheel-drive, where many don't offer it all. It's tough, practical, and looks good, too.
The 2014 Volkswagen Golf hatchback offers excellent handling and a good ride, premium interior design and materials, and a range of engines--including the efficient TDI diesel--but at a premium price.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
27 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy23 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 47 MPG Hwy25 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy
Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded H-4Regular Unleaded I-5
EPA Class     
Compact CarsMidsize CarsCompact CarsCompact CarsCompact CarsCompact Cars
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan Manual i SV4-Door Sedan SE4-Door Sedan S2-Door Manual LX4-Door Manual 2.0i4-Door HB Automatic PZEV
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Manual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2014 Dodge Dart2014 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2014 Ford Focus2014 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2014 Honda Civic2014 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2014 Subaru Impreza2014 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2014 Volkswagen Golf