Mazda-3 Vs. Toyota Corolla: Which Is Better?

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Drew Waterstreet
· 6 min read
In 2021, the Mazda3 only had 15% of the sales that the Toyota Corolla achieved—but should the Mazda3 have a better market share? Well, it does have a wider variety of trim levels and more power, but the Corolla outmatches it in fuel efficiency and price point.
The Toyota Corolla has 50 years of experience under its belt, making the Mazda3 the underdog in this matchup. BUT—has the Mazda3 put together a good enough resume to pull off the upset? 
Let’s find out! Follow along as
, the trustworthy super app that saves drivers hundreds on car insurance, runs a side-by-side comparison of Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla to help you place your bets and pick the winner! We can also help you find the best deal on your
Mazda3 insurance
Toyota Corolla insurance costs
, depending on which car you choose!


While both the Mazda3 and the Corolla are marketed as their make’s economy sedan (with a hatchback option), the Corolla offers a lower price point at every relative trim level. Let’s look at the 2022 pricing guide for these models.
2022 Toyota Corolla L
2022 Mazda 3 Base
2022 Toyota Corolla LE
2022 Mazda 3 2.5 S
2022 Toyota Corolla SE
2022 Mazda 3 Select
2022 Toyota Corolla XLE
2022 Mazda 3 Preferred
2022 Toyota Corolla XSE
2022 Mazda 3 Carbon Edition
2022 Mazda 3 Premium
2022 Mazda 3 Turbo
2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus
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Considering 200,000+ more Corrollas (2021: 248,993) are sold per year in the United States than Mazda3s (2021: 37,653), it’s not surprising that Toyota can achieve a more affordable MSRP—due to fundamental laws of supply and demand.
But what about long-term costs? There’s way more that goes into the cost of vehicle ownership than just the sticker price. So, let’s look at the projected five-year ownership costs for two comparable models.
  • Toyota Corolla LE: $32,404
  • Mazda3 2.5 S: $34,695
As you can see, the Mazda3 is more expensive to own than Toyota Corolla due to worse fuel efficiency (more on that later), more expensive maintenance, and a higher depreciation rate. However, these numbers may vary based on your location because prices for gas and labor can fluctuate.


Every way you look at it, the Mazda3 outperforms the Toyota Corolla. Primarily, this is thanks to its more powerful entry-level engine, rare all-wheel drive availability, and spunky turbocharged option.
I mean, seriously, nobody says check out how fast my Corolla is (unless it’s souped up with street modifications, of course). But its baseline 1.8L inline-4 engine can only produce 139 horsepower, making it almost impossible to reach 60mph in less than 10 seconds. The Corolla does offer a slightly more capable 169-hp 2.0L inline-4 engine for upper trim levels, but honestly, the upgrade still doesn’t compare to what the Mazda3 is capable of.
In fact, the Mazda3 is one of the more impressive models performance-wise in the whole economy sedan segment! The base model starts with a 155-hp 2.0L inline-4 engine, but most trims come equipped with a 186-hp 2.5L inline-4 engine for a starting up-charge of $1,000 (worth it, if you ask us). 
And if you want a real thrill, the top two trims offer a turbocharged engine that can pump out 227 horsepower and accelerate to 60mph in roughly six seconds. To top it off, the Mazda3 also comes with an all-wheel-drive option, which is a rare benefit for the vehicle category!

Fuel efficiency

What the Corolla sacrifices in performance, it makes up for in fuel efficiency—especially if you opt for the hybrid powertrain, which can achieve upwards of 52 combined mpg. Considering the Mazda3 doesn’t even offer a hybrid option, this is a huge advantage for team Corolla!
However, let’s not completely ignore the fuel efficiency of the Mazda3. It’s still a competent economy sedan that can achieve upwards of 36 mpg.
But we’ll give you the final say on the topic. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of efficiency ratings for the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 with their available engine options:
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined)
2022 Toyota Corolla
1.8L four-cylinder
30/38/33 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla
2.0L four-cylinder
31/40/34 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
1.8L four-cylinder
53/52/52/ mpg
2022 Mazda 3
2.0L four-cylinder
28/36/31 mpg
2022 Mazda 3
2.5L four-cylinder
26/35/30 mpg
2022 Mazda 3
2.5L turbo four-cylinder
23/32/27 mpg
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One significant difference in technology features between these models is that the Mazda3’s infotainment system is not a touchscreen. This makes connecting to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay easier in the Corolla, since these Bluetooth systems were designed with touch functionality in mind.
In addition, the entry-level trim for the Corolla is equipped with more driver-assistance features. Don’t get us wrong, the Mazda3 has a solid stack of entry-level driver-assistance features too, but you’ll have to upgrade trims for more advanced features, like traffic sign recognition.


According to J.D Power’s reliability ratings, the Toyota Corolla scored an 85 and the Mazda3 recorded a 74 (out of 100). So what gives?
Over the past few years, the Corolla has been free of recalls. The same can’t be said for the Mazda3, which was recalled six times in 2019, twice in 2020, and once in 2021. Improvements are certainly being made, but it still doesn’t have a sparkling clean record like the Corolla.


On the exterior, the Mazda3 is the more appealing and sporty choice. The same goes for the interior. The Mazda3 offers more edgy design accents that create a sophisticated atmosphere. 
Regarding passenger space, the dimensions are almost identical for both the sedan and hatchback models. However, the Mazda3 hatchback does have a slight advantage in cargo capacity. No need to get your tape measure out—we ran the numbers for you:
Toyota Corolla Sedan
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Mazda 3 Sedan
Mazda 3 Hatchback
Cargo volume
13.1 cubic feet
17.8 cubic feet
13.2 cubic feet
20.1 cubic feet
Headroom (front seats)
38.3 inches
38.4 inches
38 inches
38 inches
Legroom (front seats)
42 inches
42 inches
42.3 inches
42.3 inches
Headroom (rear seats) 37.1 inches
37.6 inches
37.3 inches
37.2 inches
Legroom (rear seats)
34.8 inches
29.9 inches
35.1 inches
35.1 inches

The final word

The Toyota Corolla is kind of like vanilla ice cream. It’s the cheapest option, old-reliable, and does the bare minimum to fulfill your sweet tooth. But, when you choose the hybrid trim, it’s like giving your plain vanilla ice cream a healthy dose of chocolate syrup—helping you forget about all its neutrality!
And the Mazda3 is more comparable to moose tracks. It’s more expensive and has more toppings but sometimes neglects the fundamentals (less can be more when it comes to ice cream and economy sedans). So, in other words, the Mazda3 has lower fuel efficiency and a higher cost of ownership, but its performance and style can make up for it (if you’re into that)!
The final scoop: Vanilla and moose tracks are both delicious in their own ways—same with the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3. Of course, the Corolla is the safe choice (sales show that), but there’s nothing wrong with trying something new!

How to find cheap car insurance for a Mazda-3

After making your well-thought-out choice between the Toyota Carolla and Mazda3, the last thing you’ll want to do is turn right around and shop for
car insurance
from an endless pool of providers.
Luckily, you don’t have to! The
app is here to take that responsibility off your plate. Right from your phone, you can compare quotes from over 55 top insurance companies in just 45 seconds. You’ll get instant access to lower rates, better coverage, and more time saved with the click of a button. And it’s free to use, so it’s a win-win-win!
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Yes, the Mazda3 is bigger than the Toyota Corolla in both sedan and hatchback body styles—but only by a couple of inches.
The Toyota Corolla is better on gas than the Mazda3, especially if you go with the hybrid trim, which can achieve 52 combined mpg.
Yes, the Mazda3 is about $500 to $1,200 more expensive at each comparable trim level. And with more premium trim levels available for the Mazda3, you may spend even more.
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