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Head-to-Head: Mazda3 vs. Toyota Corolla

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There are a few things in the world that make one feel untouchable, invincible even (the least of which being alcohol, but that’s a topic for another article): knowing you are the No. 1 selling item of your kind in the world is one such thing. There’s no denying the smug looks Toyota employees must get when they’re reminded that nearly 40 million Corollas have sold the world over. They’ve earned that look.

So, what happens when manufacturers with vehicles in that particular segment give it absolutely everything they’ve got to upset that smug, untouchable feel? What if they start to give you that uneasy feeling that you’ve kinda gotta start stepping it up or you’re definitely not going to be as invincible as you thought you were?

The compact car segment is a highly, highly competitive one. Buyers of compact cars are a discerning bunch looking for a plethora of things for not a lot of money. They are young, affluent, game-changers if you will. They are the trendsetters, and the cars they drive can influence their friend’s vehicle purchases and so on. This is a huge segment to “own,” and at the moment the Corolla very much owns it.

That’s where the Mazda3 comes in, along with the Honda Civic, of course, but that’s a comparison for another day. We at Auto123.com wanted to focus on one of the most hotly anticipated redesign launches of 2013 against the bestselling car… ever. Can a car like the Mazda3 pose a serious threat to the Toyota Corolla’s supremacy in the compact car segment? We decided to find out.

We got our hands on a 2014 Toyota Corolla S with a 6-speed manual transmission and a 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS also with a 6-speed manual. With similar performance numbers and nearly identical prices ($21,565 and $20,695 respectively), these exact two vehicles could very well find themselves on a compact car buyer’s “potential car” list.

2014 Toyota Corolla S and Mazda3 Sport
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre