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Mazda 3 or Elantra GT

Hey guys. Looking at getting a new car next month for about $20K or so (well a used one because its a much better deal) but looking at either the Mazda 3 or Elantra GT. Was wondering which you think is better. I love driving and having a car that goes pretty fast (with good gas milage) and is generally fun to drive. I see people say the Mazda 3 is more fun but i see the Elantra has more HP (201 to 185).

I also had people recommend the Honda Accord Sport and the specs on that seem to be more powerful than the other 2 so was just looking for recs as I am not too knowledgable when it comes to cars. Thanks.

If you’re going to be driving hard enough to notice the 16 HP difference, it’s not going to matter which one you get, neither one will last very long.

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Its not how fast you drive but how fast you can stop.These 2 cars have very weak braking power compare to a VW Golf or Jetta. or any European cars in general.

Well if these were the candidates for a car choice… As a mechanically minded mechanic… The order of hierarchy would be… The Honda Accord, the Mazda…and last the Hyundai in that specific order… No confusion involved…

Brand-wise you are correct, but the Accord is a larger and more-expensive vehicle than the two that the OP is considering. If we are going to compare/recommend vehicles in the same size and price class, it should be… Honda Civic/Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, and Hyundai Elantra.

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I still can not make myself to connect “Corolla” and “sporty” in my head… it makes me shiver :slight_smile:

although, the last time I test-drove Corolla was 10+ years ago, so something might have changed

I don’t think this is true. Why do you think it is?

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20k is a lot for a used Mazda 3 or Elantra in my opinion. I think in terms of overall sturdyness and the budget I would recommend a German car. Most BMW inline 6’s petrol engines are built like tanks, lot of power, lots of torque, great brakes, good sturdy materials, comfortable and that perfect 50/50 weight distribution along with a firm sport suspension and you’ll be happy for years to come.

Germans used to be build sturdy way, long time ago… but “the prior performance is not a guarantee of the future results”… now BMWs are not reliable, big time… fun to drive from new, money pits down the road.


Recommending a used BMW or any other European luxury vehicle for some one with minimal mechanical knowledge is not a good idea . Look at your own threads about the trouble you are having with your BMW.

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At that price there are plenty of new vehicles that will have full warranty and lower finance rates .
And just where are you going to take advantage of a fast vehicle anyway. There a very few vehicles in the last few years that don’t have adequate horse power.


It’s not a lot of trouble just some minor oil leaks because of broken seals, the car is 15 years old and it can’t be in perfect shape, something has to break eventually. And mine is a 4-pot and cost me 3k. Inline 6’s are way more bulletproof especially the M58 block if I’m not mistaken (3.0 I6). Someone with 20k budget can buy a way newer model with less miles. I’ve already done 5000km with mine and so far it has been very fun on B-roads and actually very reliable (if we don’t mention the seals).

True, you don’t need 200hp in day to day traffic except if you’re towing heavy load on a daily basis or if the car weighs over 2.5 tonnes. If all you do is go to work and sometimes go on the highway all you need is 120-150hp

As @VDCdriver said, the Accord is much larger than the compacts you are looking at. The comparable models would be the Mazda6 and Hyundai Sonata. I own a 2017 Accord EX-L with the 4-cyl engine, and I like it a lot. I think a smaller car would handle better, though, if that is your interest.

My son owns a 2011 Mazda 3. Extremely reliable so far. No issues what-so-ever at over 100k miles.

There are several models of the Mazda 3. Some are sportier then others.

My sons Mazda is very sporty. When you turn on the key Zoom Zoom is displayed on the dash.:grin:

My wife’s current commuter is 2013 Mazda3 with 2.0 liter SkyActiv-G, this is the first car where she stopped complaining that she is still missing her old Subaru Outback :slight_smile:
Having to drive this car, I found it to be quite entertaining and well balanced at acceleration/braking/steering.
I guess MazdaSpeed3 would have a better Zoom-Zoom, so for $20K I would look there.

Geez, some of you guys with the “where are you going to use the horsepower” comments must be getting old. Power is nice to have. You don’t have to speed, but it’s nice to effortlessly keep up with traffic rather than have to give er all she’s got to merge onto the highway. I don’t ever recall driving anything and thinking “I wish this thing had less power”. “I just feel it may get out from under me.” My current vehicles are “adequate”. But I certainly wouldn’t turn down mo powah!

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We’re not saying that having horsepower is boring, but we’re just stating some general numbers of what amount of horsepower you need (not specifically, just indications) if you’re doing day to day traffic. I have a 316i 115hp, I actually wanted a 318i 143hp because more “Powah” but the 316i does the job. But as you said it is always nice to know that you have power if you need it :slight_smile:

For the money, and in this size class, the Mazda 3 is the clear winner. It is not a Corolla or Civic, but it is still very reliable. It drives great, gets great fuel economy, has amazing seats, and needs little maintenance. The only downside I can think of is that the trunk is a bit small.

add to that: one can get Mazda3 with 2.5 liter engine (old technology, not direct injected), which is not MazdaSpeed rival, but get you well more power than this small body needs.