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Discussion Starter #1
My '02 Ford Explorer has clocked around 138,000 miles on it and finally the costs of repair are becoming more than the cost of the car. It's time to get something new.

I would like to downsize and am looking in the compact car segment. I'm new to shopping for cars, I've driven that Explorer for 7 years. I have narrowed my search down to two cars I like, the Toyota Corolla LE and the Mazda3 i Sport (2014 model, not hatchback). I'm planning to buying the car new.

I've test driven both and found the Mazda3 was more pleasant and fun to drive, I enjoyed the sportiness of it. I found the Toyota to have a lot more bang for the buck as far as features, with the touchscreen and backup camera in every model.

I'd like to get at least 100,000 miles out of the car, I plan to drive it for at least 7-8 years like my current vehicle. As it stands, these cars are neck and neck for me and I'm looking for advice from those who have driven these to help sway me one way or the other.

I know toyota has a good track record, with corolla's being one of the top selling cars ever, I know less about Mazda. I think it comes down to reliability for me, I'd like the car I'll be sending to the shop less often and will cost me less in the long run.

With the recent Mazda3 being an all new design, I'm fairly concerned that looking at reviews of older models will not give me a good sense of the quality of the car model. Also, J.D. Power gave it 2 out of 5 stars, which is rather startling but not helpful, given everyone else is singing it's praises and J.D. Power does not list the reasons why they gave these scores. Can Anyone explain to me where these low scores came from?

Any help is much appreciated! I've been sitting on this decision for a few days.
 

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Simple. Do you enjoy driving or do you want "just" transportation ? Mazda is a drivers car brand... teeyoda's are point "a" to "b" cars..unless you gots a SUPRA ! Go check CONSUMERS REPORTS for reliability and etc...J.D. POWER is a financial magazine so you do the math. MAZDA all he way :thumbup 1:
 

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Owning a '99 Corolla (which died) and I bought my '11 3, I can say I like the power of the 3 more than my Corolla predecessor. The interior is what sold me though, the '11 Corolla I looked at was lacking compared to the 3 and looked cheap. I liked the S model of the Corolla because once it's dropped and has the right wheels to it, it looks really nice, you just can't make it mean.

If you want a car to last you waaaay past 150k the Corolla is the way to go, of the three Toyotas my family has had the '86 WonderWagon had 225k before we donated to a local church, the '88 Corolla had 150k, and mine before it died was pushing 180k. The only problems in the WonderWagon was a transmission slippage at 125k, the '88 blew a cylinder at 140k, and mine died at 180k.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice guys, I can't imagine I'll be driving the same car at 150k miles, my current car was used and I only clocked 138k to date on it. I also don't drive real heavy. I am shopping around for the Mazda and trying to get them to price match the offer I have on the Corolla, if they do, I'll be getting a Mazda3 :yes:

Definitely enjoyed the ride more driving one, but the quality control issues with the new Mexico plant are also a concern I have. I'll make sure to look at all the tags I can at the dealership to try and locat a 2.0L one that was made in Japan, as they seem to be in a transition phase currently.
 

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wow you sound just like me I too had an 02 ford explorer xlt :) I went for a mazda 3 for several reason. sporty handling, manual transmission more available, and well it doesnt look like every other car on the road. There is nothing wrong with a toyota they are great little cars. Now when you test drive each one the toyota is going to be quieter and smoother riding they legit are comfortable but if you like to grip the wheel, jam gears and whip around on windy roads buy a mazda you wont regret it.
 

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If you really want to trust you're getting an unbiased response you really should not make this thread on a Mazda 3 forum. Obviously most if not all will say to go with the Mazda 3.

I'd recommend heading to a more neutral general car forum... or maybe the fact that you made the thread here and you know what kind of recommendations you're going to get is an indication that you've already made your mind that you want the Mazda. :)
 

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You really need to ask yourself what is important to you for a car.

are you looking for a reliable car that will be easy/numb to drive - corolla
OR
Are you looking for a agile car with great feedback, a peppy engine, more road feel and something to throw into corners for fun to put a little spirit into your commute - Mazda3

MPG wise - Mazda3

quiet cabin/ road isolation - Corolla

0-60 times - Mazda3 by a couple of seconds
 

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Corolla is also a bigger car too with more interior room. Especially the leg room in the rear is class leading. If you live in a very urban city with limited parking spaces and needing to parallel park a lot, this might matter to you. The length of the mazda3 is 180.3 inches and the corolla is 182.6. And for comparison purposes, the new bmw 3 series is 182.5 inches. But if that doesn't matter to you, the 3 is more fun to drive and you feel connected to the car. The corolla is definitely more quiet and driving experience is reduced.
 

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Want best bang for your buck? Go with either Kia or Hyundai.

Want reliability and lowest cost of ownership for the years to come? Nothing beats a Toyota (Honda is a close second).

Mazda will never be able to compete in price, and that's just economy of scale in play.

But while you are paying slightly more, you CAN tell where your money is being spent, in terms of the driving dynamics, powertrain tech/efficiency, overall use of materials and the build quality.

This is as un-biased of an opinion as I can make it out to be.
 

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I would say the car you enjoy driving more will be better in the long term, considering the available features are similar. I think that has to be the biggest factor when you are comparing vehicles of similar specification. If you drive something mediocre all the time with no real redeeming factor (high mpg, extra low price) you will probably be more tempted to trade it in. Before I bought this car I had previously owned two ford escapes (2005/2007). I didn't have any extra interest in it, it wasn't really fun to drive, didn't really get good mpg, didn't really think anything about it except is it running well (which it did). Having encountered many compliments the best is probably the "we should have got that", usually from someone in a Honda crv or rav 4. After I got the Cx-5 all I wanted to do was make it my own because I actually enjoyed driving it. I can easily drive 100 miles in a days commute, so this is very important to me. Even though there are other cars, that for what I paid for this I could have with more power (e.g speed3 for less) I enjoy it enough to not be tempted. Skyactiv motor/chassis (cx-5/2014+3/6 has been very reliable). I live in mostly hot weather with a freezing winter the last two years. I drive my vehicle hard (red line a lot, eve a few over redline with the limiter off for test) and after 50000+ mi since Aug 2012 I haven't had any issue with the motor that wasn't caused directly by me tinkering. Warranty is short, but it doesn't seem that many are needing to use it. Have you considered other's, like the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage? It's warranty will last your expected ownership time/mileage and you can get infotainment + backup camera. Mpg is unmatched for gas 5 door. Buy in and cost of ownership is low enough to keep it as a second car as well. In the end if your requirements are met, go with what you have more affection for, whether its styling or ride.
 

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I have to agree with several posts here, and the reason I bought a second mz3. Driving dynamics. I feel completely connected to the car/road and have one hell of a good time driving the mz3. Nothing I've owned, in the compact class, could compete with the handling on a winding mountain road. Some of my other cars were nice, but I always felt like a passenger with a steering wheel in my hand. Best bet, test drive both and push them to the point the salesman is holding on for dear life. Then it will come down to, like most things in life, personal preference and what you're looking for in a car. I don't think you'll go wrong either way.:Racing 1:
 

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We're sort of biased of course, but as an entire package no way can you beat the 14 Mazda 3. Everytime I see a Corolla, just looks like a sh*tbox to me.
 

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In the past I've always bought a car that would get me from point A to point B, basing my decision on price and reliability.

This is the first time I decided I wanted a fun car to drive. I don't regret my decision at all. I just love the 2014 Mazda 3 HB. For me the looks and the ride don't compare to anything in it's class. It's the first car I wash every weekend, and I even look forward to doing so :) I've never been in love with a car before, but it changed everything for me.

As for reliability, yes Toyota is very reliable but I don't think Mazda has that bad a reputation except for rust on the older models. My wife had a Mazda Protege for 12 years and never had any major problems.

Oh, and it just rated 1st ot of 32 in collision test for small cars with the IIHS Vehicle details
 

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Any decent car these days should last an easy 150-200k if properly maintained, and better ones beyond 200k even. I think it's just as much people putting more miles on faster then even 15-20yrs ago as it is improvement in the vehicles themselves. I almost don't get the hangup on 100k anymore. That sort of mentality about a car hitting 100k back in the day should be more like 200k these days.



Anyhow..I am in the same boat as well in a way. Currently just have my ole 2003 F150 looking to add a second car again...especially considering the gas it uses pretty much covers gas AND the cost of another car over time :biggrin: . Even 12yrs old or so the F150 is holding up great. Still looks and runs like new. Besides the usual maintenance and wear items, a new alternator is all it's ever needed so far. A year ago I got burned by a new POS Focus, got rid of that and just stayed with the truck for the last year since I had a cross country move coming up anyways, and now it's time to get a second car back.

After that Focus....I've been researching the living crap out of the rest of the cars in the segment before deciding. That Focus was TERRIBLE. Besides falling victim with one of the worst of the worst behaving dual clutch transmissions in them, the rest of the car was literally falling apart and going to shiat within a couple weeks of driving it off the lot! Luckily I got out of that one relatively light...I was out close to $3k after having the car only 3 months before I couldn't take it anymore. Best 3k I ever lost not having to deal with that car anymore, but could of been much worse....so yeah, don't get one of those! Before that I had a Golf TDI which I absolutely loved and never should of got rid of...but at the time I was really liking the new focus that came out and got offered a lot of money for the TDI so I ended up selling the TDI and went and bought that Focus. :sad 1:

Anyhow, besides the sometimes buggy infotainment (which they ALL seem to be except maybe Chrysler's system surprisingly), it seems like the biggest thing to watch for with these is potential rust issues. Even then, that is based on past Mazdas, and since this is a new design, essentially new company with Ford out, etc, that will be an unknown until these cars have been on the road long enough for those issues to arise. Doesn't seem to be any common significant issues mechanically with these. For example just look at the problem posts on the 14+ mazda 3 boards compared to the 12+ Focus boards...night and day difference! Even though I'm not loyal to any particular brand, I generally don't like Toyotas as I don't think they are any better or worse then anything else these days and are just coasting on their bulletproof rep from decades ago, but in addition to that are boring with interiors on the cheap side and all. My #2 choice right now is another VW Golf. I think VW my fall under residual reputation as well, but I'm not sure. Everyone's heard it, euro cars break all the time, expensive parts, VW's electrical nightmare, etc...but with my TDI, it was perfect, no problems at all ever with it. You also don't see any more problem posts on the boards then other cars either lately, so I think the later generations are probably MUCH improved in that regard. Expense wise... the only thing that was much different there was the oil. TDI's call for specific spec oil which is rare on part store shelves and about $8/qt at the dealer...but with a 4qt change every 10k, that wasn't a big deal. Everything else like filters and such was comparable to any other late model car. Only real gotcha was some of the non standard tools needed for basic routine stuff, like triple square sockets. Anyhow I LOVED the overall package as far as the way it drove, overall quality, etc. You just don't get that level of refinement, build quality, etc in other small cars without stepping up to the luxury brands and REALLY paying for it. Something like a Golf will cost a little more, but is worth it as far as that stuff goes.

Anyhow, those are my top 2 currently. A 14+ 3i hatch touring w/tech (probably auto version) or 15 Golf TSI 2dr 5spd (or TDI if they make 2dr but that doesn't look like it's in the cards). I'm currently leaning more towards the 3.
 

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My first car was an 03 Corolla and I had it for 10 years and racked up 287,000Km. She was a great first car, solid, no major problems with recommended service done. Corolla is a great car and has only improved, however as it's already been mentioned it is a comfortable car. You feel like a passenger driving it, it has no guts with a 1.8L engine. There's no pep or get up and go at all. It is a great "point A to B vehicle" if your looking for that in a car.
If you enjoy driving and are a little on the more aggressive side then the Mazda 3 is the way to go. They are way more fun to drive, peppy and have the pick up needed to drive aggresive. They do have more road noise than the Corolla but personally I find it's a small price to have a much more fun car to drive.
I love my 2008 Mz3 and have not regretted watching my Corolla drive away the day I sold her and brought my new 3 home.
 

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In the past I've always bought a car that would get me from point A to point B, basing my decision on price and reliability.

This is the first time I decided I wanted a fun car to drive. I don't regret my decision at all. I just love the 2014 Mazda 3 HB. For me the looks and the ride don't compare to anything in it's class. It's the first car I wash every weekend, and I even look forward to doing so :) I've never been in love with a car before, but it changed everything for me.

As for reliability, yes Toyota is very reliable but I don't think Mazda has that bad a reputation except for rust on the older models. My wife had a Mazda Protege for 12 years and never had any major problems.

Oh, and it just rated 1st ot of 32 in collision test for small cars with the IIHS Vehicle details
Agreed. Both cars are good, but I think you would be happier with the 3. Are we a little bias, of course.

My 2002 Protege had 26 miles when I bought it. When I sold it last month, it had 215,680 miles on it over 11.5 years. I sold it to a friend who do this date has put on an additional 5k miles on it.

The most expensive thing for me to replace were the tires. No major issues. Most expensive service was new brakes and wheel bearing at 200k which cost me $900. The car was still fun to drive when I sold it.

The bad reliability of Mazda primarily comes from its venture with Ford on vehicles built outside of Japan, but even that wasn't that bad.

With the Mazda I the it's reliability will be similar to the Corolla. The Corolla, IMO, does not look good. If anything, I would say compare the Mazda 3 and the Honda Civic.

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Any decent car these days should last an easy 150-200k if properly maintained, and better ones beyond 200k even. I think it's just as much people putting more miles on faster then even 15-20yrs ago as it is improvement in the vehicles themselves. I almost don't get the hangup on 100k anymore. That sort of mentality about a car hitting 100k back in the day should be more like 200k these days.
You say that, but there is reason to be concerned. A buddy of mine got a CX-5 a few years ago when Mazda put out a bunch of shit ones, and the engine was GONE at 80k. The concern about "not making it to 100k" is certainly less but it's still valid. Even a company like Mazda still puts out a turd once in a while.
 
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