Sedans & Coupes

The Mazda3 Offers Miata Fun in a Practical Package

Mazda MX-5 Miatas are popular on the streets and on many car enthusiasts’ lists for best sports cars. And unlike some models, the Miata actually lives up to the hype. This coupe is super fun to drive and relatively cheap. The Miata is also the type of car you can confidently buy new or used. Really, the only downside to the Miata is that it’s impractical. But if you want practicality and Miata fun, you aren’t out of luck. To get both, you should look into the Mazda3 instead. 

How the Miata and the Mazda3 compare performance-wise

We aren’t exaggerating when we say the Miata is a thrill to drive. In 2020, the Miata still delivers on fun, reliability, and affordability. But it’s still completely impractical, and that’s OK because that’s not the point of the Miata at all. Anyway, the 2020 Miata gets its power from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that creates 181-horsepower. The standard six-speed manual transmission makes for a smooth ride and there’s a six-speed automatic available on the Miata too. 

The 2020 Mazda3 also delivers on sporty fun. This model is equipped with a 186-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder that’s linked to a six-speed automatic. The Mazda3 is also one of the few sedans that’s also available with a manual transmission. What continues to help the Mazda3 stand out is its nimble handling that rivals that of the Honda Civic. The Mazda3’s nimbleness is exactly what makes it comparable to the experience you would get with the Miata. 

RELATED: 5 Most Affordable Sports Cars: The Answer Isn’t Always Miata

What you get with the Mazda3 

bird's eye view of the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan
Bird’s eye view of the Mazda3 | Mazda

So, you really can’t go wrong with either the Miata or the Mazda3 when it comes to fun and sharp handling. But, not everyone is meant to have a roadster. And as you can imagine, the Miata doesn’t come with much interior space. 

While the Mazda3 isn’t the roomiest sedan in its class, it still offers a functional and comfortable cabin. The Mazda3 technically seats five but its rear seats are tight. This sedan also offers a useful trunk. For more cargo space though, you will want to go for the hatchback version of the Mazda3. 

Along with its sporty performance, the Mazda3 also gets bonus points for having an upscale-feeling cabin overall. The sedan version comes standard with cloth upholstery and the hatchback option comes with faux leather, which is also available in the sedan variant. We also like how quiet the Mazda3 is on the inside along with its in-car electronics.

RELATED: Why the 2015 Mazda3 is an Ideal Used-Car Choice

Mazda3 technology 

The Mazda3 comes with an easy to use infotainment system. If you opt for the sedan version of the Mazda3, you get a 7-inch information display screen, an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen, HD radio, and an eight-speaker sound system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available as upgrades on the sedan, but standard on the hatchback version. Both the sedan and the hatchback also come with desirable safety features including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.