2019 Ford Focus v Mazda3 v Toyota Corolla Comparison | carsales

2019 Ford Focus v Mazda3 v Toyota Corolla Comparison | carsales


They may be compact but this trio offers plenty
to interest small car buyers. On test are the next generation models; Ford
Focus, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla. But with equal pluses and minuses these three
may just have thrown up the closest comparison test in recent times. On the block are three similarly priced models;
the brand-new Mazda3 G20, Ford Focus Trend and Toyota Corolla SX. Each are front wheel drive five-door hatches
and offer a decent level of specification with a range of technologies available. Mazda’s brought it’s A game when it comes
to the Mazda3 interior. It feels more like a luxury car than a traditional
Japanese hatchback. The dash layout and all of the cabin finishes
are superb. In contrast the Ford Focus has harder plastics
and replaces the stitched interior in the Mazda with faux plastic stitching. The Corolla interior is very likeable. It’s the only car to have wireless phone
charging at this price point but it does miss out on Apple Car play and Android auto
when even Mazda has finally joined that party. These three hatchbacks offer three very different
boot spaces. It’s the Focus that has the largest boot
and a nice wide aperture so it’s easy to get gear in and out. In contrast, while the Corolla’s boot is
lower, half of it is filled with a space saver spare so it’s quite pokey. The Mazda3’s is a decent size but there’s
no shopping bag hooks or tie downs so it’s not quite as practical as the others. Each car is well equipped with steering wheel
mounted gearshift paddles, autonomous emergency braking and reverse camera. Both the Corolla SX and Mazda3 G20 have adaptive
cruise, push button start, and dual zone climate control. These are features which are only available
on more expensive Focus models. Quality of technology integration is very
high in the Mazda3. It’s the only car with a head up display
which is super rare at the price point and adaptive digital display. And the quality of its camera is head and
shoulders above the other two. But the Mazda3 is not perfect. It offers the least headroom in the rear,
meaning the rear seat passengers heads are very close to the side of the car. At least it does have rear seat air vents
which are missing in the other two. While the Ford Focus might not have rear air
vents there is plenty of room to move for rear seat passengers. It feels like a much more spacious vehicle
and that’s really helped out by this light-coloured headlining. It just feels an airy place to be. And the Corolla might feel a bit bigger than
the Mazda3 but it’s not as accommodating for rear seat passengers with little storage
in the doors. And there’s some differences when it comes
to how these vehicles are powered. Mazda and Toyota favour a four-cylinder two
litre petrol engine whereas Ford has gone for a downsize unit. It’s a three-cylinder one point five litre
turbo petrol. The result is quite a difference in power
which is very noticeable when behind the wheel. Now it may be down one cylinder, but the Ford
Focus delivers the most potent engine and transmission combination. The little three-cylinder unit is incredibly
responsive and it’s really well matched to a sharp shifting seven speed automatic
transmission. And that translates to confident overtaking
and delivers the most engaging drive of all three. Running a close second for driveability if
not outright performance is the Toyota Corolla. Toyota engineers are to be congratulated when
it comes to the continuously variable transmission. It’s generations ahead of previous CVT’s,
does a really good job at mimicking conventional transmission changes. Add the paddle shifters and I could almost
be a CVT convert. Toe to toe with the Focus and Corolla, the
Mazda3’s drive line is definitely its Achilles heel. While it has had extensive reworks in the
design and technology field, its engine is unchanged from its predecessor and it feels
sluggish in comparison to the other cars. The old style six speed box can be slow to
downshift and combined with poor mid-range torque, it does mean that the Mazda3 struggles
when under load. Riding on the largest wheel of all three,
an 18-inch alloy, the Mazda has a hard ride too and doesn’t do a great job of riding
out harsh bumps which are more easily absorbed by both the Corolla and the Focus. So, three different small cars each with their
own pros and cons. Which should you choose? If space and driveability are important to
you, then the Ford Focus delivers. Even though it misses out on features at this
price. The Corolla’s a smart choice if value, resale
and a perky drive are at the top of your list but if you carry plenty of gear around it’s
going to be a bit of a tight squeeze. And the Mazda3, well for the newest car of
the lot it isn’t perfect either. Given how these cars are likely to be driven
in day-to-day life however, perhaps zesty performance is low on the Mazda3 buyers wish
list. Mazda clearly believes its bells, whistles,
trinkets and luxe feel that matters to its buyers. And on that front it’s really delivered. It’s definitely got the best cabin finish
of all three cars. Choosing a winner was not easy. The Focus doesn’t quite have the gear. The Corolla doesn’t quite have the boot
space and the Mazda3 has a very pedestrian drive experience. But we have to pick a winner and by the very
narrowest of margins we think the Mazda3 just has the edge. Its level of detail is high and we think that
buyers will overlook its engine shortcomings when it comes to its overall fit, finish and
design.

About the Author: Michael Flood

4 Comments

  1. I never buying a ford or volkswagon. The are nice but too much complains and insults from car pages for breaking down. All cars has recalls but those too over do it. The corolla is the smartest choice for reliability, strong and good resale value, but the does not feel premium at all, they just feels like you are in a to say normal car and small back seat as well. The mazda is also cramp and needs more efficient and better performing engine, probably have issues to but they just so tempting with the interior and exterior look. And they just feel so expensive

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