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A Detailed Comparison Between Hyundai Elantra And Mazda 3 Sedans

Image Source: otomobil / Shutterstock

Wondering whether to go for a hybrid or a hatchback? Are you looking for a value-driven daily commuter or a compact car that’s fun to drive? These are some of the decisions you need to make when considering the Hyundai Elantra and the Mazda 3, two popular compact sedans. While both models are typically available as compact four-door cars, the Mazda 3 offers the flexibility of a hatchback with a potent turbocharged engine, whereas Hyundai provides a more cost-effective hybrid option.

Digging deeper into the details, the 2024 Mazda 3 comes at a price tag that is roughly $3,000 higher than the 2024 Hyundai Elantra, although the added cost doesn’t necessarily translate to significantly better features. Both cars prioritize unique styling, but each achieves distinctly different looks that set them apart. While they both offer performance-oriented variants, the Mazda generally delivers smoother performance, even though the Elantra boasts more interior space.

It’s a close fight between these two attractive compact sedans. To simplify your decision-making process, let’s break down their differences by category.

Mazda 3 and Elantra Pricing

The base SE model of the Elantra is priced at approximately $22,000, going up to about $30,000 for the Limited Hybrid variant, with the Elantra N topping out at $34,000.

On the other hand, the Mazda 3 starts at a minimum of $25,000, while the top-tier turbo hatchback version can reach up to $38,000.

The hatchback version of the Mazda 3 costs around $1,200 more than its sedan counterpart.

For the same price as the base Mazda 3, the Elantra SEL model with the Convenience package offers superior features.

Top Picks: Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue, Mazda 3 2.5 S Preferred

How Much Does a Mazda 3 Cost? Which Mazda 3 Should You Choose?

The Mazda 3’s pricing and naming strategy can be a bit confusing. The base 2.5 S sedan starts at $25,335, including a $1,165 destination fee. Standard features include driver-assist technologies, cloth upholstery, 16-inch wheels, keyless start, and an 8.8-inch infotainment display compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Opting for the 2.5 S Select Sport at $25,855 adds synthetic leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. This variant also acts as the entry point for the hatchback models, starting at $26,855.

Our recommendation leans towards the 2.5 S Preferred, which comes in at $27,355, or $1,200 more for the hatchback variant. Standard features of this trim include a sunroof, synthetic leather seats, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

For those looking for the pinnacle of luxury, the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus edition is priced at $36,615 for the sedan and $37,815 for the hatchback, offering standard features such as a Bose 12-speaker sound system, a surround-view camera system, rear parking sensors, navigation, and traffic sign recognition.

How Much Does a Hyundai Elantra Cost? Which Elantra Is the Right Choice?

Every Elantra sedan is equipped with an extensive suite of driver-assist features and standard amenities, including cloth upholstery, 15-inch wheels, power windows and locks, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless integration for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, all at an enticing starting price of around $22,000.

An outstanding feature of the Elantra is its exceptional warranty coverage, comprising a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 3 years/36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

Opting for the Elantra SEL at $23,500 brings additional conveniences like automatic climate control, 16-inch wheels, and satellite radio. An optional $1,900 Convenience package further enhances the experience with a 10.3-inch touchscreen, a 10.3-inch instrument cluster, heated front seats, wireless smartphone charging, and 17-inch wheels. Remarkably, this package places the Elantra on par with the base Mazda 3 in terms of pricing while offering significantly more features.

For an attractive ownership proposition with an outstanding combined fuel efficiency of 54 mpg, consider the entry-level Hybrid Elantra Blue priced at $26,000. Fuel economy enthusiasts will find this model particularly appealing.

At the higher end of the spectrum, priced at $34,000, the Elantra N represents a performance-oriented model. While it may not match the agility of the discontinued Veloster N hatchback, it still provides an entertaining driving experience on a budget, making it a preferable choice over the Mazda 3 2.5T.

Advantage: Hyundai Elantra, offering a compelling combination of affordability and an excellent warranty package.

Mazda 3 versus Hyundai Elantra: Exterior and Interior Design

While the Elantra boasts a distinctive and detailed external appearance, the interior design may lack the same appeal

The Mazda 3 sedan impresses with its elegant exterior design, which is matched by a sophisticated interior

On the other hand, the Mazda 3 hatchback features a peculiar rear design

The Mazda 3 exhibits a duality in design, with its sedan and hatchback versions offering unique styling characteristics. The car’s bold front grille, reminiscent of a shield, leads to a sporty profile characterized by a long front end and short overhangs. However, beyond the rear pillar, the sedan and hatchback diverge, with the sleek elegance of the sedan contrasting with the more bulbous design of the hatchback. The interior continues the theme of sophistication, aiming for a more upscale feel with refined materials, although the presence of a cumbersome infotainment system somewhat detracts from the overall aesthetic.

Conversely, the Elantra opts for a more youthful and vibrant design approach, featuring angular and creased bodylines that extend from the front to the back. While this design is distinguishable and promises longevity, an extended gaze may induce some visual confusion. The interior, however, tells a different story, characterized by plain plastic surfaces, with the main highlights being the large digital instrument cluster and touchscreen displays featured in most trims.

The strength of the Mazda 3 lies in the luxurious quality of its fittings and finishes, setting it apart from lower-priced competitors. However, as the price climbs into the premium category, this favorable impression diminishes. The supportive front seats are among the best in their class, offering power adjustments and seat heaters in most trims. In contrast, the Mazda 3 reveals its weaknesses in the rear with limited legroom at 35.1 inches and a moonroof option that may affect headroom for taller passengers. Due to its low seating position, exiting the vehicle requires more effort compared to crossovers. Both models feature 60/40-split rear seats, with the hatchback providing significantly more cargo space at 20.1 cubic feet, as opposed to 13.2 cubic feet in the sedan.

Growing closer to mid-size dimensions, the Elantra offers considerably more space for passengers compared to the Mazda 3, comfortably accommodating four adults, with a fifth passenger not overcrowding the journey or vacation. Taller occupants may prefer the front seats due to the sleek roofline which slightly reduces rear headroom, similar to the Mazda 3. However, the Elantra’s less cushioned seats and low positioning may not offer the same comfort level. Improvements in material quality, including more padding and enhanced finishes in the cabin, could better complement the bold exterior style of the Elantra. With 14.2 cubic feet of trunk space, the Elantra boasts a generous capacity for its class, and the 60/40-split rear seatbacks can be folded down for additional utility. While it surpasses the Mazda 3 sedan in spaciousness, the Mazda 3 hatchback provides room for larger or awkwardly-shaped items at the back.

How speedy is the Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 excels in its stable handling and responsive steering. It’s not focused on raw power or high speed, unlike previous Mazdaspeed 3 models. The base 2.5-liter inline-4 engine generates 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, providing ample performance. The 6-speed automatic transmission allows for efficient operation across the rev range, although the cabin noise can be noticeable, and the efficiency could be improved with additional gears. The 2.5 S Premium trim offers a delightful 6-speed manual option, but it’s limited to front-wheel drive and lacks the performance-oriented turbo-4 engine.

The 2.5T variant boasts a 2.5-liter turbo-4 engine producing 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque (250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft with 93 octane fuel), capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in under six seconds. These models also come with a 6-speed transmission, but the AWD feature is standard.

Despite switching to a less expensive torsion beam rear suspension in this generation, the Mazda 3 retains its solid feel, especially in hatchback versions that seamlessly navigate different road surfaces.

How quick is the Hyundai Elantra?

The base Elantra is powered by a 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 engine paired with a CVT

Elantra Hybrid combines a small motor with a 1.6-liter inline-4, delivering a total of 139 hp

Elantra N-Line utilizes a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission

The Elantra N features a 276-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine with an 8-speed dual-clutch or 6-speed manual transmission, achieving a 0-60 mph time of around five seconds with the automatic

Front-wheel drive configuration exclusively

Base Elantras are equipped with a 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 engine and a CVT, delivering power to the front wheels in an efficient package without frills.

Slightly slower, the Elantra Hybrid utilizes a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine paired with a small motor powered by a 1.3-kwh battery pack and a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. It offers smooth power delivery, quiet operation, and is ideal for daily commuting.

The Elantra N Line takes the smaller-displacement engine from the Hybrid, adds turbocharging for a total of 201 hp, and pairs it with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Achieving 0-60 mph times of approximately seven seconds, the N Line emphasizes speed. Quick and responsive thanks to the appropriate transmission setup, it caters to driver input effectively.

The high-performance Elantra N overcomes initial turbo lag to accelerate to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds with the precise 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With the addition of a three-mode adjustable damper system, an electronic limited-slip differential, and Michelin Pro Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, the Elantra N maximizes its firm tuning, enhanced steering response, and sports-oriented seating to rejuvenate the compact-car category. It surpasses the top-performing Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo.

While the Elantra models may not match the steering feel of the Mazda 3, they offer a firm ride and excellent handling, particularly in the Hybrid and N-Line variants equipped with rear multi-link suspension, contrasting with the base Elantra and Mazda 3 torsion-beam setup.

Preference: Base Mazda 3 hatch triumphs over base Elantra, with Elantra leading in other aspects.

Hyundai Elantra vs. Mazda 3 Fuel Efficiency

With fourperformance selections and only utilizing front-wheel drive, the Elantra proves to be more fuel-efficient compared to the Mazda 3 in all cases except for the Elantra N variant. Mazda persists with its 6-speed automatic transmission (and one model with manual transmission), lagging behind the effectiveness of more gears that optimize engine performance. Moreover, it lacks a hybrid alternative, unlike the Elantra Hybrid Blue with its impressive 54 mpg combined. Let’s delve into the data.

How secure is the Mazda 3?

It boasts top-notch safety features, garnering excellent crash-test ratings from both the NHTSA and the stringent IIHS. Standard safety attributes encompass automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. Optional features include blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive headlights, and a surround-view camera system. However, some safety measures could be excessive, such as requiring door unlocking to access the fuel door or hatch.

How secure is the Hyundai Elantra?

The impressive five-star NHTSA rating and Top Safety Pick recognition from the IIHS establish the Elantra as a secure choice. Automatic high beams, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking are standard in all Elantra models; while adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitors are widely accessible.

Which vehicle shines: Hyundai Elantra or Mazda 3?

It’s challenging to surpass the Hyundai Elantra’s broad spectrum and value across its extensive lineup, featuring a highly efficient hybrid variant and a sharp N performance trim that enhances its TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10. While the Mazda 3 boasts style and nimble handling, earning a commendable 6.3 out of 10, its cumbersome infotainment system and cramped rear seating diminish its allure, compounded by Mazda’s anticipated premium pricing.

Image Source: otomobil / Shutterstock

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