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WhichCar do I buy: 2018 Mazda3 or 2019 Toyota Corolla hybrid?

By Tim Robson, 09 Apr 2019 Car Advice

WhichCar do I buy: 2018 Mazda3 or 2019 Toyota Corolla hybrid?

Is a good deal on an older model the right way to go when buying a new hatchcback?

Hi there,

My daughter is in the market for a new hatchback, and she’s narrowed her search down to two cars. Her first choice is a Mazda3, which is a 2018 Touring demonstrator, and she can get it for more than $5000 less than her second choice, which is the Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid.

We know that there is a new Mazda3 arriving pretty soon. My daughter doesn’t need the back seats (yet!) for kids, but having some room for her dog would be good. What do you think – new Corolla or older Mazda?


Brett, NSW


Hi Brett – you’re right about the new Mazda3. In fact, it goes on sale this month. While it’s a better car across the board, the lure of low pricing for a car that we – and a lot of Australia – reckons is pretty handy is hard to ignore. Mazda says there isn’t a lot of old models left to clear, but that also means dealers will be all the more motivated to clear the old ones out.

The Touring is a nice bit of kit, with forward and reverse AEB, rear cross-traffic alert and Apple CarpPlay/Android Auto.

2018 Mazda3 Touring

The new one will be better equipped, with new-generation engines and an expanded suite of driver aids right across the range… but it will be, on average about $4000 dearer per model, and that’s before any deal you can wangle for a current model on the sales floor.

READ MORE: Mazda3 Touring quick review

The Corolla SX Hybrid, on the other hand, has been on sale in its current guise since late in 2018, and the twelfth generation of one of Australia’s most loved cars has experienced an epiphany. A new platform, an eye on design and a terrific interior combine in the hybrid’s case with a powertrain that is proven, reliable and effective at saving fuel.

2019 Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid

Add to that items like AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, speed sign recognition and more, as well as a large multimedia screen, puts the Corolla in front of the Mazda3… for the moment, at least. It doesn’t have Apple CarPlay, which is weird, and it is definitely more compact inside, with slightly less boot room and a smaller rear seat.

ADVICE: Is the new Toyota Corolla as good as everyone says it is?

Looking for something a bit cheaper and a little bit larger in the rear cargo and seating area? The Mazda3is a dependable pick, but is a bit behind the times.

For a young woman looking for a great commuter that’s got a bit of panache, and she can live with a smaller cargo area and less roomy rear seat, then the more modern Corolla is the way we’d go.

WhichCar’s pick: Toyota Corolla SX Hybrid

More about the Mazda 3

More about the Toyota Corolla