With the Mazda 3 being one of the most popular small cars in the country, it’s often compared to other models to see how they measure up. Here we discuss the key similarities and differences between two mid-specification Japanese cars: the Mazda 3 and the Subaru Impreza.
Interior design and function
Both cars offer stylish interior finishings. The Mazda 3 impresses with a functional layout and design and stylish furnishings with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear shifter and seat trim. The Impreza also boasts high quality finishing down to the last detail and a sophisticated design. Push-button start comes as standard in both models. Handbrake operation remains manual in the Mazda 3 but is electrical in the Imperza. Both models offer dual-zone air-conditioning, with the Mazda 3 keeping things simple with hot and cold dials whereas the Impreza allow temperature to be set by degrees in the digital readout. The Impreza offers a quieter, more refined in -cabin driving experience whereas the Mazda 3 is susceptible to some road and engine noise, yet also offers better fuel economy. Both offer generous space up front although the Impreza is more spacious in the rear than the 3. There is ample boot space in both cars, with slightly more available in the Impreza.
The Impreza has a larger centre screen that’s easy to use whilst driving, plus an additional screen above it that can be configured to display additional information. Offering both a CD player and four USB ports – two for media playback and an additional two located inside the centre console box designed solely for charging – the Impreza has got your entertainment needs covered.
The Mazda 3 on the other hand currently lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and has also removed the CD player to increase available space for more USB ports and a ledge at the bottom of the console perfect for small item storage. The Mazda 3 also has a built in sat nav which is particularly useful in remote areas.
The safety aspects are really where Mazda shines, with all models now including revolutionary i-ACTIVSENSE safety technology. The automated emergency braking technology works in reverse as well as in forward, and includes an advanced auto braking feature that can detect pedestrians and cyclists in as well as other cars. In addition, the Mazda 3 offers a whole host of other safety features including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and a reversing camera, with even more features available in higher specifications.
The Impreza on the other hand does offer a decent safety package with forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, pre-collision steering assistance and adaptive cruise control, but does not offer blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
What it’s like to drive
Both cars are excellent to drive both on the open road and when winding around corners. The Impreza offers a good balance between comfort and cornering ability but can feel a bit jerky in low-speed traffic due to the continuously variable transmission. Although a dynamic, stable and comfortable ride, the Imperza is less responsive than the Mazda, and offers a less smooth overall driving experience.
The Mazda 3 on the other hand provides a more sporty feel on the road, harnessing all the available power for a seamless driving experience. Highly enjoyable to drive on a winding road, the 3 feels quicker and more responsive than the Impreza. With a perfect balance between firm, accurate steering and excellent cornering (in sport mode it will pick a lower gear under brakes to really step up its cornering prowess) the Mazda 3 continues to be one of the most enjoyable small cars to drive. With the addition of G Vectoring Technology for advanced stability control, this car is steps ahead of its closest competition when it comes to driving.
With similar interior features, where the Mazda 3 really excels is safety and drivability – the two most important factors of any car. If you’re looking for a Mazda 3 for sale, Perth drivers should visit our lot in Mandurah and talk to our dedicated sales team about a no-obligation test drive.