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2020 Subaru Impreza vs Mazda3

2020 Subaru Impreza vs Mazda3

2020 Impreza vs Mazda3 - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Subaru and Mazda are known for making quality vehicles that are offered for affordable prices. If anyone is looking for a great deal on a compact car, the 2020 Subaru Impreza and 2020 Mazda3 would be two models to consider. These vehicles are modern, sporty, and efficient, and they have many high-tech features for drivers and their passengers to enjoy.

The 2020 Subaru Impreza can come as a traditional sedan or a five-door hatchback. The four available trims, with either body style, are the base model, Premium, Sport, and Limited. On the Mazda, there is a base model, and the other trims are referred to as "packages." The Select Package, Preferred Package, and Premium Package are the options, with the level of sophistication being the highest in the Premium Package.

This overview will provide potential customers with a comprehensive comparison of the Subaru Impreza and Mazda3. Hopefully, anyone in the market for a compact car will be able to get a good sense for which vehicle would be best for him or her.

The Powertrain

In the Subaru Impreza, there's a 2.0-liter engine that provides drivers with 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. This should be sufficient for the majority of drivers, especially those who are in the market for a smaller vehicle.

The transmission varies depending on the trim. The base model has a five-speed manual transmission as a standard component. However, recognizing that not everyone who may be looking at the most affordable Impreza might not want to drive a stick shift, Subaru has given customers the opportunity to get a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. The Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) comes standard on all the other trims, and the Sport five-door can be equipped with either the CVT or the manual transmission.

On every Impreza, there is Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. The way the engine is situated, along with the ability to send power to all four wheels, gives the car a very balanced feel. All-wheel drive can improve performance, not just when its snowy or icy out, but potentially in all types of conditions. Acceleration, stability, and control are all enhanced thanks to this function.

The Sport and Limited trims have an additional component that can add to the performance factor. Subaru Intelligent Drive, which is referred to as SI-Drive, gives people the ability to choose from different drive modes. Someone can choose the Intelligent Mode when efficiency is preferred, whereas Sport mode is ideal for those times when a driver wants to have a quicker response when accelerating and shifting gears.

Just like the Impreza is limited to one engine choice, so is the Mazda3. It runs on a SKYACTIV-G DOHC engine that's larger than the one in the Impreza. With a displacement of 2.5 liters, it can generate 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This engine works together with a six-speed electronically controlled sport automatic transmission.

Though all-wheel drive isn't available on the base model of the Mazda3, it is an option on the Select, Preferred, and Premium Packages. Mazda calls its system i-ACTIV AWD, and when extra traction is needed, the engine can send power to all four wheels. This is similar to how Subaru's all-wheel drivetrain works. The reason power isn't continually sent to all four wheels is because this reduces efficiency; it's reserved for those times when extra traction is needed.

These would both be excellent cars to get if people are concerned about their gas consumption. The Impreza can achieve up to 36 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway and 28 mpg in the city. (The Sport sedan, because of its slightly different design, falls just shy of these numbers.) The fuel economy of a front-wheel-drive Mazda3, at 36 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city, is almost identical to that of the Impreza. With all-wheel drive, the numbers drop to 33 mpg and 25 mpg, respectively.

It's always nice to hear about vehicle warranties when shopping for new cars, since a warranty can give people a lot of reassurance. With both models, the limited powertrain warranty is good for up to five years or 60,000 miles, whichever milestone is hit first.


With these cars, Mazda and Subaru had to think about how to incorporate advanced components and sought-after amenities, all while keeping the overall cost to a minimum. Most would agree that they managed to do that quite well.

The ride in the two models is comfortable. In the Subaru, this nice ride is partly the result of having a four-wheel independent suspension. In the front, there are MacPherson struts with a stabilizer bar, and in the rear, there is a double-wishbone suspension system. The Sport trim has a special, sport-tuned suspension that can handle bumps a little bit better. The Sport also has Active Torque Vectoring, which strategically uses the brakes to improve handling while taking turns.

Independent MacPherson struts are found in the Mazda3 as well. Its rear suspension uses a torsion beam axle. Like the Impreza, the Mazda3 has a few mechanisms in place to help maintain control. G-Vectoring Control Plus makes small adjustments to engine torque and brake pressure to ensure that the car stays properly balanced while changing direction.

Given their compact sizes, the Impreza and Mazda3 are ideal for the urban environment or any place in which space might be tight. The Mazda3 has a 107.3-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 183.5 inches. The Impreza sedans have almost identical dimensions, with a 105.1-inch wheelbase and a length of 182.7 inches. The 5-door Imprezas measure 176.2 inches from head to tail. Both the Impreza and Mazda3 are about five inches off the ground.

Most people these days are looking for vehicles that are practical in addition to being easy to drive. Anyone in search of cargo space will definitely be intrigued by the 5-door Impreza. It has 20.8 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats, and when those seats are folded down, maximum cargo capacity is 55.3 cubic feet. This is close to what one might get with a smaller SUV.

With the Impreza sedan, the trunk has a volume of 12.3 cubic feet. This isn't quite as big as what the Mazda3 offers, which is a trunk volume of 13.2 cubic feet. These trunks should provide enough room for most situations, and some people simply don't need any more space than that.

If anyone is planning on carrying adults in the back seat, it might be a good idea to take a look at second-row leg room. In these two models, there's just enough space for taller people to fit in the back, though things are far from roomy. The Impreza has 36.5 inches of leg room in the rear, and this is on par with the rear-seat leg room in the Mazda3, which is 35.1 inches.

Technology is used to the driver's advantage in these cars. The higher trims of the Subaru Impreza come with keyless access, pin-code access, and a push-button start that can be very convenient. The Impreza has a front-seat USB port, and the higher trims could have up to two USB ports in the front and two in the rear, giving everyone a way to keep their devices charged. Automatic temperature control is included on the Limited.

A 6.5-inch touchscreen with STARLINK technology is standard on the Impreza, and it includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and Pandora radio. On the mid-level trims, it gets upgraded with cloud-based apps, a CD player, and SiriusXM All Access Radio and Travel Link. The touchscreens on the higher models measure eight inches, and they include HD Radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity in addition to all of the previously mentioned components. If anyone wants the best of what Subaru has to offer, the Limited comes with an option to get integrated navigation.

The Mazda3 also has a comprehensive infotainment system and other technological components. It can be equipped with an automatic climate system with two zones as well as keyless entry with push-button start. While its entry-level model doesn't have smartphone connectivity, it does have an 8.8-inch center display, HD Radio, Pandora radio, and Bluetooth. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included at the Select Package level, and higher trims have SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a Bose premium audio system with 12 speakers.

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There have been many components integrated into these cars in order to keep passengers safe. Certain components, such as air bags and three-point seatbelts, will do their job if anyone ever gets involved in an accident. More advanced mechanisms have been developed to lower the chances of getting into any type of unfortunate situation. Those mechanisms are considered to be "active" rather than "passive."

Subaru has given all Impreza drivers the benefit of having a rear-vision camera and Brake Assist. Brake Assist ensures that maximum pressure is applied to the brakes whenever it seems like the vehicle is involved in an emergency situation. Available on the base model and standard on all the other trims is EyeSight Driver Assist technology. This includes lane departure and sway warning, lane-keep assist, an adaptive cruise control system that can automatically adjust speed to maintain the right amount of distance with other vehicles, and pre-collision braking. This last system can sense when frontal collisions are imminent, and it can apply pressure to the brakes to try to prevent them from happening.

On higher trims of the Impreza, there are more driver-assist systems. High Beam Assist can be convenient to have, as it automatically turns on the high beams when the road is particularly dark; blind-spot detection comes with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert to give people a better idea of what's around them; and reverse automatic braking can reduce the chances of backing into an object when it may be difficult to see behind the Impreza.

The Mazda3 has a very similar set-up in terms of safety. It has a multitude of air bags, special headrests to reduce whiplash, Brake Assist, and anti-lock brakes. It also has some of the same driver-assist technologies as the Impreza does.

A difference is that these systems are incorporated into the Mazda3, starting with the base model. All of the following features are standard on the Mazda3: lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, advanced cruise control, automatic high beams, and driver attention alert. In addition, the Mazda3 has Smart Brake Support, which works in a similar fashion to pre-collision braking. At the higher levels, drivers can take advantage of blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive front lighting.

Which Has the Best Value?

When looking at pricing, the Mazda3 is a bit more straightforward, since it has four trims. The vehicle starts at $21,500, with the Select Package being priced at $22,700. Many people end up opting for the Select Package because of its more comprehensive safety and technology packages. A small jump up to $24,200 accompanies an upgrade to the Preferred Package, which gives people an eight-way power driver's seat, a driver's seat memory function, and heated front seats. If a customer wants luxury elements, such as leather seats and a power moonroof, the Premium Package would be the one to get, and it's priced at $26,500.

There are four trims of the Impreza, but there are technically eight models since each can be configured as a sedan or 5-door. Other than the Sport, the Impreza is about $500 more expensive if the 5-door style is selected. The base model of the Impreza comes in under $19,000, which means it can attract a customer on a limited budget. The Premium trim, which comes with driver-assist systems, is priced at around $22,000. The Sport jumps up to around $23,000, and it appeals to certain types of customers who like its edgier aesthetic. Finally, the Limited is priced at about $26,000, and for this price, customers will be treated to a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, and a power driver's seat.

Which is Better?

It mostly comes down to personal preference when deciding between the Subaru Impreza and Mazda3. From a pricing standpoint, the two cars fall within the same range. However, the base model of the Impreza is cheaper than the entry-level Mazda3. Because it starts under the $20,000 mark, the Impreza could pop up on a lot of people's radars.

Of course, customers look at more than just pricing when shopping for new cars. The Mazda3 packs a little more punch, but what the Impreza has working for it is that it comes standard with symmetrical all-wheel drive. This is an option on most of the Mazda3 trims, but at an additional cost.

There are several other important factors to think about. The Mazda3 may have the edge in safety, and the Impreza might be the winner in the technology department. For cabin space, the 5-door Impreza shines, but the sedans have comfortable interiors as well.

The Mazda3 may appeal to people with more refined tastes, as it's sleek, elegant, and powerful. The Impreza may be more practical, especially if the 5-door is selected, and its driver-assist package and infotainment system will appeal to many customers.

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