2016 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. Its Competition

2016 Mazda 3
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

The class of compact cars today spans a wider range than it ever has in purpose and personality.

While some models tend to skew to the practical side and others go for sporty driving manners and lots of tech features, the Mazda 3 plays both sides.

Closest to the Ford Focus, the Mazda 3 is tied as the sportiest of the group.

The Focus, like the Mazda 3, has a taut ride and a very responsive driving feel overall; we tend to like the Mazda 3’s dash layout better than that of the Focus, but Ford offers a somewhat better back seat.

The latest Volkswagen Golf has a premium feel to rival the 3's, but it's still a bit short on options, particularly when it comes to infotainment.

The Honda Civic is right smack in the middle of the segment, as is the Toyota Corolla and the Kia Forte; but the Civic in particular is a top-notch safety performer.

The Dodge Dart, like the Corolla and Cruze, is only sold 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.

The Chevrolet Cruze is super-spacious, with a back seat that feels like it came out of a mid-size sedan, and its ride is quiet, although there’s nothing exciting about the driving experience.

2016 Mazda 32016 Mazda MAZDA3
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2016 Dodge Dart2016 Dodge Dart
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2016 Ford Focus Electric2016 Ford Focus
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2016 Subaru Impreza2016 Subaru Impreza
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2016 Volkswagen Golf2016 Volkswagen Golf
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2015 Honda Civic LX Sedan2015 Honda Civic
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Quick Specs
The 2016 Mazda 3 is one of the best-driving and best-looking small cars, with a more premium feel than its (now even lower) price might suggest.
The 2016 Dodge Dart offers great styling, spacious interior, and good equipment set; but not all versions live up to the sporty performance (or good gas mileage) that the design might suggest.
From efficiency-minded models to the high-performance ST, the 2016 Ford Focus remains one of the best-driving small cars on the market.
The 2016 Subaru Impreza is the compact car to choose when you require all-wheel drive for year-round traction but don't want or need the gas-mileage hit that comes with boxy SUVs and rugged trail ability.
Between base, e-Golf electric, and high-performance GTI and Golf R versions, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf lineup doesn't forget about the space-and-versatility fundamentals of hatchback—or SportWagen—ownership.
The 2015 Honda Civic is refined, comfortable, and offers top-notch safety ratings and features.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
25 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy24 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 45 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 47 MPG Hwy
Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded H-4Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class     
Compact CarsMidsize CarsCompact CarsCompact CarsCompact CarsCompact Cars
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan Manual i Sport4-Door Sedan SE *Ltd Avail*4-Door Sedan S4-Door Manual 2.0i2-Door HB Manual TSI2-Door Manual LX
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Manual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2016 Dodge Dart2016 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2016 Ford Focus2016 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2016 Subaru Impreza2016 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2016 Volkswagen Golf2016 Mazda MAZDA3 vs. 2015 Honda Civic