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Who Wins: Subaru Impreza vs Mazda 3 

Who Wins: Subaru Impreza vs Mazda 3 

Hatchbacks have not been the center of attention over the years. They tend to be considered as inelegant station wagons of old times. They are usually used as family vehicles for those who either do not want or cannot afford a minivan. Hatchbacks offer more cargo space than a sedan, however, they are not as large as a Minivan or an SUV. But Hatchbacks has turned over a new leaf. The 2020 Subaru Impreza hatchback and the 2020 Mazda3 hatchback turned expectations for hatchbacks upside-down. These appealing hatchbacks now look more like a small SUV than old-fashioned vans or wagons. The Subaru Impreza and Mazda3 look marvelous, and they are equipped with features that make them fun to drive. They also perform well.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Should you buy a Mazda 3 or Subaru Impreza?


We have prepared a comprehensive guide to easily determine which hatchback suits you best.

Take a closer look at how Impreza and Mazda3 compare:

2020 Subaru Impreza

  • MSRP: $19,195 – $26,295 (depending on trim and body type)
  • Critics’ rating: 8.0 out of 10
  • Reliability: 2 out of 5 stars
  • Interior: 7.7
  • Performance: 6.8
  • Safety: 10.0
  • Overall: 7.5


The 2020 Subaru Impreza boasts a roomy, a composed ride, and comfy interior, but most compact cars rank higher due to their superior cabin materials, better predicted reliability ratings, and stronger engine options.


2020 Mazda3

  • MSRP:  $21,500 – $23,600 (depending on the body type)
  • Critics’ rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • Reliability: 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interior: 7.8
  • Performance: 8.6
  • Safety: 10.0
  • Overall: 9.6


The Mazda3 is an excellent compact car that is enjoyable to drive. It comes in sedan and hatchback body styles. Regardless of which one you pick, you will get a nimble vehicle with responsive steering and braking, as well as a lively engine. Mazda3’s inside looks exclusive, and it boasts a lot of user-friendly features. This hatchback’s main stumbling block is cramped seating in the rear.


The Subaru Impreza could be more affordable than the Mazda3. However, the latter got the better of the Impreza, thanks to its superiority in terms of overall ratings. The Mazda3 has overwhelmed the Impreza on all aspects. 


2020 Subaru Impreza

The 2020 Subaru Impreza hatchback looks quite like an SUV, but it holds fast to those vestiges of the station wagon. It features a boxier shape, with only minimal dip from the front to the back of the roof, which ends in a spoiler. The Impreza is a much more angular car, which allows it to look more practical for day-to-day drives than the flashy Mazda3.


2020 Mazda3

The 2020 Mazda hatchback has a way flashier and more futuristic exterior compared to the Subaru Impreza hatchback. This Mazda features an aerodynamic profile that is all stylish lines and elegant accents. One unbreakable line flows from the windshield’s top down to the rear end.


The front end of the Mazda3 hatchback has a big, mesh grille that covers the space nicely. It is highlighted by a simple air intake, and it is flanked by two squinting headlights. It has an elegant look without all the clutter. It is notable on the entire body of the Mazda3 hatchback, which looks quite like a small and athletic SUV.



Both the Impreza hatchback and the Mazda3 hatchback are stunning vehicles, but you will be much more dazzled with the Mazda3 and will be much more zealous to show it off.



2020 Subaru Impreza

How many people can fit inside the Impreza?

The Subaru Impreza comes with cloth upholstery and seats up to five people. Available features include heated front seats, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

The Impreza provides comfort even in long drives and support up front, and the seats are quite roomy, even for taller occupants in the second row. It has good visibility in all directions.

Child Car Seats

This Subaru hatchback comes with two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. There is an upper tether for the rear middle seat and has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from each side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given its LATCH system the top rating of Good+. All of the anchors are fairly easy to find and access.

Interior Quality

The materials in the interior of Impreza are a mixed bag, several high-class soft-touch surfaces, and some low-grade plastics. Some competitors, like the Honda Civic, have more deluxe interiors.

Cargo Space

Having only 12.3 cubic feet of cargo space makes the Impreza sedan one of the smallest trunks in the compact car class. Nonetheless, the hatchback offers 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 55.3 cubic feet with them folded, which is similar to an SUV cargo room. The Impreza  comes standard with a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.

Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Impreza boasts standard StarLink infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 6.5-inch touch screen, a four-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, and Aha smartphone app.


Features such as automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a six-speaker stereo, a moonroof, satellite radio, HD Radio, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, and an eight-inch touch screen with navigation comes available. 


Critics and experts appreciate Subaru’s plain dashboard layout. Subaru has opted for straightforward cabin controls that allow drivers to easily adjust volume and climate settings while keeping their attention on the road. The infotainment system features crisp graphics, legible menus, and is quick to respond.


2020 Mazda3

How many people can fit inside the Mazda3?

The Mazda3 can seat up to five people on standard cloth upholstery, synthetic leather in the hatchback, but only four adults will be able to sit comfortably. Adults occupying the front row seats will have plenty of space to stretch out. But the room in the rear is quite tight.


Available features include heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

Child Car Seats

The Mazda3 comes with two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. There is also a tether anchor on the rear middle seat, which has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from both sides.

Interior Quality

This vehicle has a classy cabin with high-end materials and soft-touch surfaces.

Cargo Space

The Mazda3 sedan features 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space, which is smaller compared to what its competitors offer. On the other hand, the hatchback has 20.1 cubic feet of space, which is typical for small hatchbacks.

Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard equipment includes a 7-inch driver information display, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, an eight-speaker sound system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Available features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, as well as a 12-speaker Bose stereo and a moonroof.


The Mazda3 lacks a touch screen. Alternatively, most functions are controlled via an easy-to-use rotary knob that is mounted on the console.



They both offer an attractive set of infotainment features, but the Impreza proved to be more consumer-friendly when they offered roomy cabin and more driver-friendly features without the need of paying extra.


2020 Subaru Impreza

Engine: Not potent enough to carry the load

The 2020 Impreza carries a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which is not powerful enough to move this vehicle with urgency. The all-wheel-drive system adds weight to the car and taxes the engine at higher speeds. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, which shifts quickly. To add salt to the wound, the available continuously variable automatic transmission or CVT is less responsive.

Gas Mileage: Surprisingly Efficient

Both the hatchback and sedan models with the CVT produce an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is above average for the class. It is really impressive considering the Impreza has standard all-wheel drive, which most of the time results in worse fuel efficiency.

Ride and Handling: All-wheel-drive Anomaly

What’s really impressive is that the Impreza is the only compact car that comes standard with AWD, and it is available in only a couple of competitors. Directing power to all four wheels gives this vehicle impressive road grip on both dry and shiny and smooth surfaces. This Subaru has a satisfactorily balanced ride, and the steering is responsive. Sport models boast performance upgrades like adjustable drive modes and Active Torque Vectoring.

2020 Mazda3

Engine: Lively

The only engine available for the Mazda3 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that packs 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, and a six-speed manual is available.

The Skyactiv-G engine is high-spirited, and it assists this Mazda in accelerating swiftly. The automatic transmission is responsive and smooth.

Gas Mileage: Typical

The Mazda3 sedan, with its front-wheel drive powertrain, produces an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That is about average for the compact car class.


The hatchback with the automatic transmission got 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while models with the manual transmission earn 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Those figures slightly decrease when adding all-wheel drive to either configuration.


Ride and Handling: Thrilling

The extraordinarily nimble Mazda3 is fun to drive around sharp corners, and its ride is enjoyable in most roads. It has excellent steering and braking performance. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available.



Performance wise, Subaru Impreza’s gas mileage is 1 mpg higher in the city compared to that of the Mazda’s. However, the Mazda3’s powerful engine is the clear winner in this race.


Is Subaru better than Mazda?

If you are looking for a captivating and cool compact car, then you may be considering the Impreza as well as the Mazda3 models. These cars can be configured as a more spacious hatchback or as a smooth sedan body-style. There’s one main difference though, it is that Subaru has a genuine talent for providing more features, for a more affordable price.


  • Considering their price tags, the new Impreza model and the new Mazda3 are both indeed very similarly-priced and the difference is really slim. But when you consider the suite of standard features that are included for these prices, then the Subaru Impreza is the one coming out victorious in this race.


  • All trim levels of the new Impreza comes equipped with the brand’s renowned and proven Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systemfor no additional cost. You will be able to experience superb wheel-grip and optimized traction when driving around town which is really different from the Mazda3 that falls short in offering any kind of AWD.


  • With outstanding reliability and durability, Subaru shows off in claiming that the Impreza is officially the longest-lasting vehicle in the entire compact car class. Mazda simply cannot disprove that fact that the Impreza has defeated their Mazda3 in this aspect.


  • The Subaru Impreza provides a much larger and roomier interior cabin compared to its rival Mazda3, for both the sedan and the hatchback body styles.

Are Subarus expensive to maintain?

Subaru vehicles typically cost $267 to maintain during the first five years. These costs typically remain the same throughout the car’s lifespan, with a 10-year cost of $500. Lots of Subarus produce excellent gas mileage, so you will save boatloads of money in that regard. But it is still a lot of money compared to other non-luxury vehicles.


Are Mazdas high maintenance?

The average yearly repair cost for a Mazda is $462, which means the cost of ownership is way above average. There are other factors that contribute to Mazada’s reliability. These factors include an average of 0.4 visits to a repair shop annually, and a 10% possibility of a major repair.



In terms of maintenance costs, in this Subaru Impreza vs Mazda3 comparison, we can easily say that you can save a lot of money in going with the Impreza than the Mazda3. But if you are the kind of driver who would rather spend a little more just to avoid the repair shops as much as you can, then you should go with the Mazda3.


Final Words

If you are into having plenty of cabin features for a cheaper cost, you should go with the Subaru Impreza. But if you are particular with having a powerful and reliable engine, then the Mazda3 is the right one for you.