2020 Toyota Corolla vs 2020 Mazda 3

By , 7/23/2019

Compact cars give us the mix of fun and utility we all could use. But in a class that been around for so long, who still does it best?

Toyota verse Mazda, a classic contest straight from the history books. From Group B Rally to Le Mans, the two Japanese brands have been at each other’s necks trying to best one another. 

Though as fun as racing may be, the true battle between these two companies doesn’t fall on motorsports. The true fight is for sales. Car sales drive the company and are what make things like a four rotary Le Mans cars are a possibility. When these two industry leaders battle it out, the result is we end up with great products, and there aren’t two better compact cars available today than the Mazda 3 and the Toyota Corolla. 

What makes these cars so great? And which one gives the best bang for your buck when shopping for a compact car? 

Fun Nature

The light, economical nature of compact cars has inherently made them fun-loving vehicles. Little cars are so darty and quick that they make perfect get around car that can actually be pretty engaging in the twisties as well. Both of these cars have taken their own routes to get there, but are now great fun when pushed and make for a great go anywhere do anything type of car. 

The Toyota Corolla was once a car with a completely different focus. A small car that was good at one thing, being a small car. The Corolla was world-renowned for its reliability and utilitarian nature, but never was really all that fun. The 2020 Corolla changes that. The new Corolla is a fun zippy car that retains its reliability and sensible design but adds sport into the mix. Trust me, you’ll actually look forward to that right-left-right off-ramp on your way home every day. The new design uses a stiffer chassis and suspension designed for better dampening over bumps and undulations. The new Corrola is more fun than ever and puts up a good fight against the Mazda’s sporty heritage.  

From their unequivocal “Zoom Zoom” marketing campaign, Mazda has always had a sporty nature to their cars. The interior and mechanical reliability were often brought into question, but fun was never doubted. Recently, Mazda has begun to turn a new leaf, and have developed a fun sporty brand that includes upscale interiors and classic Japanese reliability. Mazda's KODO design philosophy focuses on driver and machine engagement, a theme that is recognized across the entire car. Even if Mazda’s interiors were subpar, however, the Mazda 3 has such a fun and engaging driving dynamics, it easily outshines all other factors. The aesthetics of the car are appealing, but its the fun nature of the car that you look forward to on a beautiful summer day on your way home from work. 

Interior Space

Compact cars don’t necessarily have to be “compact”. Cars today are designed to maximize cabin and trunk space and minimalize waste, and you would be surprised to see what they can do with the space they have to work with. 

The 2020 Toyota Corolla has 42.3 inches of front legroom. That is downright impressive. To put that into perspective for you, a Ford Explorer, a large SUV with three rows of seating, has only 42.9 inches of front legroom. 0.6 inches. That's the only difference in legroom. Shoulder and head room are equally impressive. 54.8 inches and 38 inches respectively. For comparison, the Explorer has 61 inches and 41.4 inches. Again, not far off from a large SUV. Second-row space is no exception either, at 41.4 inches, the second row has more space than a Ford Explorer. Trunk space is just as well, at 13 ft³ you won’t be left wanting. Opt for the hatchback and volume jumps to 17.8 ft³ and 23.3 ft³ with the seats folded. Where do they even put an engine in this thing?!

The 2020 Mazda 3 interior space is equally impressive. At 42.3 inches it has the exact front legroom as the Corolla. The shoulder room is slightly larger at 55.7 inches and the headroom is slightly smaller at 37.5 inches. Trunk space is great as well. The Mazda 3 Hatchback has 20.2 ft³ and 47.1 ft³ with them folded. I cannot reiterate enough how impressive these figures are. When you are competing with third-row SUV’s for size, you know you’re doing something right.

Bang for Your Buck

So, it boils down to this. What car is the best bang for your buck? Both of these cars are fun to drive, pack tons of space into a tiny frame, and have all the safety features you need, so what car is going to be the best bang for your buck?

If you are looking for a stripped out, cheap little car that is going to work for you every single time and you don’t care much for the bells and whistles, you just need the thing to get you to work as cheap as possible, the Toyota Corolla is definitely the way to go. With a low MSRP for the L trim level, the Corolla is definitely the more value driven vehicle at this trim. 

If you are looking to pick up a vehicle that is going to give you a little more, the Mazda 3 is where it’s at. A more refined cabin, higher-end materials and an exterior that is damn fine to look at, the Mazda has it all. The extra money is absolutely worth the cost for the added creature comforts and materials. In terms of features, the two vehicles are fairly similar, it’s up to you to make the call if the looks and superior cabin are worth the cost.


The 2020 Toyota Corolla and 2020 Mazda 3 are top performers in a class that has long begun to decline. In a world where everyone wants SUV’s and crossovers, the compact car has to work harder than ever to prove its worth, and no two cars are working harder than these. They are fun, roomy, safe cars that are more affordable than most SUV’s of similar size. These two cars are what make a segment better and push it to the next level. Either one would make for a perfect next car for you.

2020 Toyota Corolla vs 2020 Mazda 3

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