In the competitive compact car segment, it pays to be versatile, and both the 2022 Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla are exactly that. Both bring big value and are available as either a sedan or a hatchback. Let’s compare them.
2022 Mazda3 starting price: $20,800
Above average: Excellent handling; optional all-wheel drive; high-quality materials; standard driver assist features; optional turbo engine.
Below average: Manual transmission only available on the Premium hatchback; hatchback body style isn’t for everyone; large blind spots.
Consensus: The 2022 Mazda3
offers a choice of engines including a powerful 2.5-liter turbo and comes as either a sedan or hatchback. It’s fun to drive, but with either body style, there are some fairly large blind spots caused by thick C-pillars.
2022 Toyota Corolla
The 2022 Toyota Corolla
2022 Toyota Corolla starting price: $20,175
Above average: Reputation for reliability; numerous safety features; optional hybrid; both sedan and hatchback body styles.
Below average: No all-wheel-drive option; plain driving manners; ubiquitous.
Consensus: Reliable, safe, and offered as both a sedan and a hatchback, the 2022 Toyota
Corolla is a rock-solid choice for a compact. It’s not the most exciting thing to drive, however, and front-wheel drive is the only option.
Mazda3 vs. Corolla: plenty of choices
The driver’s car of the compact class, the 2022 Mazda3 handles incredibly well, and now with the optional 2.5-liter turbo, has the power to compete with the best in its class. But even the base Mazda3 is a blast to drive, with a very capable 2.0-liter 4-cylinder hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission that always knows what gear to be in. Front-wheel drive is standard, although the Mazda3 is one of the rare members of its class that offers all-wheel drive, which comes standard on the Turbo model.
The interior of the Mazda3 exudes a premium feel, including the base model with its cloth seats. Other trims get synthetic leather, and the top trims have the real thing. There’s lots of soft-touch materials, and an 8.8-inch screen provides the infotainment center. It is not a touchscreen, however, and is controlled by a rotary knob similar to those found in some luxury cars. The new 2.0 is considered the base model and is only available as a sedan, and while it has the screen, USB ports, Bluetooth, and push-button start, Android Auto/Apple
CarPlay are not available until the next level up.
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While not as well equipped with safety features as the above models, the base trim includes both adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The sedan has a useful 13 cubic feet of storage space, with the hatchback expanding that to 20 cubic feet. Resale values are about average for the segment.
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Few cars are more ubiquitous on American roads than the Toyota Corolla, which has been a worldwide best-seller through 12 generations and several decades. It has succeeded by being extremely reliable, spacious, and well equipped at a reasonable price. There is also variety, as the 2022 Corolla is also offered as a hatchback and a hybrid.
Other than the hybrid, there is a choice of two gas engines, a standard 1.8-liter 4-cylinder and an upgrade 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. Powered by the 1.8-liter base engine, the Corolla gets around, but that’s about it. In the upper trim SE and XSE models, the 2.0-liter has more oomph and is paired with a sport suspension, making the Corolla considerably more lively, although no one would ever mistake it for a sports car. The SE actually has an optional 6-speed manual for more involved driving.
Inside, the sedan provides a respectable 34.8 inches of legroom in the back as well as 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space. The hatchback is down considerably on rear seat space, with a mere 29.9 inches of rear legroom. The dash is tidy and clean, and the materials are perfectly pleasant. Cloth seats are standard, with simulated leather in the top XLE trim.
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Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as well as Amazon
Alexa, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a 7-inch touchscreen. Safety features are excellent and include 10 airbags, forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Higher trims have the stronger engine, better upholstery, a larger touchscreen, and other perks.
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Starting price; engine choices; cargo space; optional 6-speed manual; 5-star safety rating.
2022 Mazda3 advantages
Optional all-wheel drive; base power; premium interior feel; more fun to drive.
2022 Toyota Corolla advantages
Optional hybrid; fuel economy; reputation for reliability.
Which one is right for me?
Exuding a premium feel for a base price, the 2022 Mazda3 is a great compact sedan or hatchback with a lot of style. It’s a great choice if you like to tackle the curves, too, particularly with the optional 2.5-liter turbo and all-wheel drive.
There’s a good reason the Toyota Corolla has been such a hit for so many decades, and the 2022 Toyota Corolla continues to offer reliability, a wide choice of body styles, and several fuel-efficient engines. It may not inspire passion, but it has a well-deserved reputation for dependability.
Compare the specs:
2022 Toyota Corolla
155 hp @ 5,000 rpm
139 hp @ 6,100 rpm
150 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
126 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
31 mpg (28 city/36 hwy)
33 mpg (30 city/38 hwy)
2.5-liter I4; 2.5-liter turbo I4; 6-spd manual; AWD
2.0-liter I4; 6-spd manual; 1.8-liter I4 hybrid
3 years/36,000 miles
3 years/36,000 miles
5 years/60,000 miles
5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating
Max Seating Capacity
Shoulder Room, Front
Shoulder Room, Rear
EPA Passenger Volume
92.8 cubic feet
89 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume
13.2 cubic feet
13.1 cubic feet
This story originally ran on KBB.com.