8 Top Mazda 3 Competitors

The 2022 Honda Civic is just one of the Mazda 3 competitors you should consider if you’re in the market for a new compact car.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
If you’re thinking about adding a new Mazda 3 to your garage, be sure to give competitors like the Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, and Hyundai Elantra a look before making your purchase.
With today’s rising gas prices, compact cars like the Mazda 3 are looking more appealing to a lot of buyers. But if you’re looking for a compact car that offers the ideal combination of fuel economy, passenger room, and cargo space, the Mazda 3 actually falls behind many of its competitors.
To make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for in a compact car,
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1. Honda Civic

Starting price: $23,645 to $34,465
Selling points: Surprisingly high-end styling and interior
Weak spot: Expensive engine and tech upgrades
It’s tough to beat a
Honda Civic
when it comes to affordability and fuel economy. What makes it an even more solid competitor for the Mazda 3, though, is its new upscale styling. The Civic’s 2022 redesign completely overhauls both the exterior and the interior for a more mature and refined look than previous model years.
But what about performance? Unfortunately, the new Civic’s powertrain didn’t benefit from the glow-up as the rest of the model. The Civic still features the same 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine or an available turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. With the removal of rear-wheel-drive and manual transmission options (except on the hatchback model), it appears Honda expects Civic drivers of the new Civic to be less interested in driving enjoyment than a bit of pampering.
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2. Volkswagen Jetta

Starting price: $21,460 to $29,190
Selling points: Smooth ride and spacious interior 
Weak spot: Forgettable styling
A mini-makeover for the 2022 model year gives the
Volkswagen Jetta
some new—though not terribly exciting—exterior styling and a potent engine upgrade. VW replaces the Jetta’s old powertrain with a 159-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo four borrowed from the automaker’s Taos subcompact SUV. Marry this with the new Sport trim’s 17-inch wheels and electronically-locking front differential, and you’ve got a recipe for responsive handling and performance that makes the Jetta an excellent competitor for the Mazda 3.
MORE: How to pick a Volkswagen car seat

3. Hyundai Elantra

Starting price: $21,245 to $29,645
Selling points: Undeniable value, desirable engine upgrades
Weak spot: Sluggish base powertrain, sparse standard tech package
Hyundai Elantra
received a full redesign for 2021, so it returns unchanged for the 2022 model year. This doesn’t make it any less competition for the Mazda 3 though—especially when it comes to value. Even the top-of-the-line Elantra Limited Hybrid is only $7K more than the base Mazda 3.
At the entry-level, the Hyundai Elantra is a bit of a snooze (unless a full boat of standard driver assists get you going), but this is where Hyundai’s rep for value really plays in—you don’t have to go far up the trim ladder for exciting upgrades. Moving up just one trim adds dual-zone climate control, and a bumpin’ audio system, as well as access to value-priced packages that can add everything from heated front seats and a wireless charging pad to a sunroof and even more rockin’ Bose sound system.
MORE: Hyundai Elantra GT towing capacity

4. Honda Insight

Starting price: $26,855 to $30,885
Selling points: Impressive fuel economy, smooth ride
Weak spot: Lots of engine noise
Honda Insight
is basically a Civic for those who prefer a hybrid powertrain. Drivers get the upgraded appearance and interior we’ve already noted for the 2022 Civic, but with primo fuel efficiency—51 city, 45 hwy, and 48 combined mpg to be exact. Drivers will sacrifice a touch of pep in favor of greater fuel economy, but with a well-equipped base EX model that’s only $4K more than the entry-level Mazda 3, the Insight is certainly a competitor you should consider. 

5. Nissan Sentra

Starting price: $21,045 to $23,795 
Selling points: Attractive styling, hefty standard tech package
Weak spot: Boring drive
Nissan Sentra
isn’t necessarily the Mazda 3 competitor to consider if you’re looking for driving verve, but if a comfy passenger cabin and loads of standard active safety features are more your jam, you should definitely check it out. 
The Nissan Sentra is one of only a few sedans that offer blind-spot monitoring among their standard safety features. In addition, drivers will be treated to standard front-wheel-drive, forward collision warning and forward and rear automated emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning
MORE: Does Nissan have a self-driving car?

6. Kia Forte

Starting price: $20,185 to $24,585
Selling points: Stylish and well-equipped
Weak spot: Sluggish base powertrain 
If you’re looking for Kia Stinger style, but you can’t afford the sting of the price tag, the
Kia Forte
may be the perfect option for you. Like most Kias, you simply can’t deny the Forte’s value—even a fully-loaded GT won’t break $30K. But while you’ll get a more powerful 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder with the GT coupled with your choice of a CVT automatic or 6-speed manual transmission, you won’t crush 60 mph as quickly as the Mazda 3 can.
That said, the fully-loaded GT includes all manner of luxury and convenience features, like wireless charging pads, sport suspension, and performance tires. The manual transmission GT costs $1,000 more, but it includes everything from sport seats and ambient interior lighting to an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, plus every driver-assist you can think of—and some you probably can’t!
MORE: Everything you need to know about Kia electric cars

7. Toyota Corolla

Starting price: $22,100 to $27,150
Selling points: Exceptional hybrid fuel efficiency, loaded with standard safety tech 
Weak spot: Cramped hatchback, boring driving dynamics
Toyota Corolla
has been around for years, offering drivers a fuel-efficient, reliable option in an affordable package. The 2023 Corolla continues the trend with trim-level and powertrain upgrades that make it a solid competitor for the Mazda 3. 
The Corolla gives buyers the option of a standard or hybrid powertrain to boost fuel efficiency on the 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Drivers also have the option of a six-speed manual transmission on the SE and Apex SE models, though ticking that box actually removes access to options that become standard when selecting the manual on competitors like the Kia Forte. 
That said, the Corolla is well-equipped at any trim level, with options like sport front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and 18-inch wheels appearing at even low-level trims.

8. Subaru Impreza

Starting price: $20,815 to $28,415 
Selling points: Standard AWD, lots of standard safety tech
Weak spot: Below-average fuel economy
If you’re more interested in utility and practicality than driving excitement and style, the
Subaru Impreza
is the most competitive option to the Mazda 3 for you. With standard all-wheel-drive, functional interior styling, and a vast array of standard safety tech, the Impreza is a no-nonsense addition to the compact car segment that many will love. The Impreza’s standard 152-horsepower four-cylinder is lethargic at best, but it gets the job done.  
MORE: Subaru Impreza towing capacity

Mazda 3 vs. the competition

Want to see it all laid out? Below is our side-by-side comparison of the 2022 Mazda 3 with its fiercest competitors.
Starting price range
Engine options
Maximum seating capacity
Maximum cargo volume
Maximum towing capacity
Maximum fuel economy (city/highway/combined)
$22,165 to $34,465
4-cylinder or turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
47.1 cubic ft
3306 lb
23/32/27 mpg
$23,645 to $34,465
4-cylinder or turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
46.2 cubic ft
1000 lb
28/37/31 mpg
$21,460 to $29,190
turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
14.1 cubic ft
2000 lb
29/40/33 mpg
$21,245 to $29,645
4-cylinder or hybrid 4-cylinder
5 seats
24.9 cubic ft
750 lb
49/52/50 mpg
$26,855 to $30,885
4-cylinder hybrid
5 seats
15.1 cubic ft
2000 lb
51/45/48 mpg
$21,045 to $23,795
5 seats
14.3 cubic ft
2000 lbs
28/37/32 mpg
$20,185 to $24,585
4-cylinder or turbocharged 4-cylinder
5 seats
15.3 cubic ft
2000 lbs
30/40/34 mpg
$22,100 to $27,150
4-cylinder or hybrid 4-cylinder
5 seats
17.8 cubic ft
1500 lbs
53/52/52 mpg
$20,815 to $28,415
5 seats
55.3 cubic ft
2645 lbs
27/36/30 mpg
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MORE: How to build a custom Mazda 3

How to compare car insurance quotes in under a minute

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