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Mazda3 5 door vs. Scion xA

cinderycindery Posts: 14
edited March 21 in Mazda
Not an unusual comparison.

I had specific needs for a 5 door hatchback car and found few models meeting that criteria. I break it down this way:
Entry Level 5 door cars - Scion xA, Suzuki Aerio SX and Chevy Aveo.
Mid Range 5 door cars - Ford Focus ZX5, Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, Saab 9-2X/Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon and the Mazda3 5 door.
Luxury 5 door cars: Lexus IS 300 SportCross and the newly released Audi A3.

If you buy into this comparison, the Scion clearly is the best in it's category - which would make people compare it to what's 'above it', like the Mazda3.
Now, if you believe that the MZ3 is the best car in it's sub-category, then you may want to compare it to what's above it - like the A3 - which is fair and would not cause people to cry out in disbelief.

The real key here is value. If you value a high quality, Japanese made, 5 door, and don't care for a Navigation Ssytem and xenon lighting, then you could argue is the Mazda3 worth $4500 more than an xA? The same could be said for the A3 and MZ3 - does the superior interior design and luxury mark deserve an extra $5000 premium over the MZ3? Only you (the consumer) can answer that.

If everything were just a paper comparison, the Suzuki Aerio also has a 2.3 liter engine with 155hp, can be had with AWD, features side airbags, CD changer, and 100,000 mile warranty, for well under $18,000.
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Comments

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I had specific needs for a 5 door hatchback car and found few models meeting that criteria. I break it down this way: Entry Level ... Mid Range ... Luxury

    Your comparison would be more useful if you would define your categories. For example, what kind of engine is in your entry level, mid-range and luxury categories? The Scion XA has a 108 hp which is far smaller than the Mazda3 hatchback's 160 hp. Do you think that a more powerful engine is worth more? By how much? The Mazda has 50% more hp, does that translate into $1000, $2000, $3000 ... more car for you? How about reliability? How much do you value a car with an excellent history of reliability? If you defined your top 3 criteria for each category (eg. performance, reliability, comfort) with specific parameters (e.g. performance: 100-150 hp and torque 100-150 ft lbs.) your comparison would be more useful..
  • cinderycindery Posts: 14
    Basically, price vs. overall product value is my criteria.

    What I am saying is that the Scion xA is likely the best small 5 door car and can be had for $14000. Most reading this assume the Mazda3 is the best mid-size 5 door. If you factor the major criteria buyers consider when buying, like build quality, resale values, dealer experience, efficiency, standard and optional features, brand satisfaction and last-but-not-least, price, the Scion is a fair comparison against the MZ3.

    If your main concern is horsepower/fun for the dollar factor, then the MZ3 is likely the one to beat for it's type (5 door). Not every buyer can justify spending $5000, simply for 52 more horsepower.

    Until the BMW 1 Series arrives, we'll keep enjoying our MZ3's in the smug knowledge we've got the best car of it's kind sold in the US
  • billmchalebillmchale Posts: 107
    Well there are a whole of lot of factors to consider. Horsepower is certainly one, as are general vehicle dynamics (How well does it stop, start, take turns, emergency manuvers etc). How comfortable is it for the driver and what about for the customers, how much cargo can it carry, etc.

    Also you are missing some 5 door cars on your list. Certainly the PT Cruiser, the Chevy HHR and the VW Golf belong on that list.

    Overall I would say there are several good choices in the mid-range class. While the Scion is a decent choice, it is not one I would make if I spend alot of time on the highway... I suspect that the wind will blow it about a bit and that its engine will drone a little too high when cruising at 70mph on the Interstate.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Scion xA vs. Mazda3 5-door?

    Have you actually SEEN an xA? It's tineeee!!!

    I'd think a more logical comparo would be between the xA and a car none of you have mentioned, the Kia Spectra5 ... which btw has gotten some pretty doggone decent reviews in the automotive press.

    But xA vs. Mazda3?!

    You're outta your mind ... unless Edmunds is really going to start allowing such comparisons as Honda Accord vs. BMW 5-series, Jeep Wrangler vs. Hummer, and Hyundai Tucson vs. Toyota Land Cruiser. It's already been said that the two vehicles that are the subject of this "comparison" are not even in the same EPA class!

    Lessee here ...

    EPA passenger volume (cu. ft.): Scion 86, Mazda 95 (11% larger)
    EPA cargo volume (cu. ft.): Scion 12, Mazda 17 (42% larger)
    Engine displacement (cc): Scion 1496, Mazda 2300 (54% larger)
    Engine horsepower: Scion 108, Mazda 160 (48% higher)
    Wheelbase (inches): Scion 93.3, Mazda 103.9 (Almost a foot longer)
    Length (inches): Scion 154.1, Mazda 178.7 (MORE THAN 2 FEET LONGER)
    Curb weight (pounds): Scion 2340, Mazda 2826 (21% heavier)

    Maybe that's why the Mazda3 is EPA-rated as a compact car, and the xA is rated as a subcompact!

    I think the "comparison" here is not in the vehicles, but in your wallet. There is no comparison between the vehicles.

    Meade
  • billmchalebillmchale Posts: 107
    The Spectra5 and the Elantra 5 door both slipped my mind completely.

    --
    Bill
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    See? The Scion xA is THAT tiny.

    Really ... DO see one in person before you allow this comparo to continue. I have. It's about the size of an early-1980s Civic.

    This is very illogical to me, cindery. On the one hand you're saying it's fair to compare the two vehicles based solely on the fact that they've got the same number of doors, and that it's fair to ask why one would be worth $4,000 or $5,000 more than another. But then you add that the cars are in completely different categories, have different features, etc. Obviously you are going to pay more for a car that's physically larger, has a larger, higher-performance engine, more interior room, more cargo room and more features. That's why we have EPA ratings to differentiate cars into categories so they can be compared against each other logically.

    It comes down to this ... there are vehicles with five doors across several categories, from cheap and affordable to luxurious and expensive. We have a personal choice.

    But that still doesn't mean a Kia Sportage and a Toyota Land Cruiser have much in common.

    Meade
  • richmlrichml Posts: 156
    Well stated, Meade.
  • cinderycindery Posts: 14
    You're right, the VW Golf belongs in this comparison, although the 2005 model really offers few advantages aside from the diesel engine option.

    Certainly subjective, but I don't consider the PT Cruizer and new HHR to be in the same comparison due to their classification as "trucks" for CAFE consideration (flat load floor). Either way, it's clear that very few cross-shop these models with the others.

    Your criteria for highway driving is a good point, however, if your criteria featured little high speed driving (as we LA commuters suffer from), then economy, useable space, value and build quality may be more important factors - hence, the xA comparison.
  • cinderycindery Posts: 14
    And let's see....
    The EPA places the Mercedes SL500, Honda Insight and BMW 3 Series in the subcompact class - how many comparisons are made between these models?
    for reference: http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/smcar-05.htm
    Point being, very few people compare EPA class size when considering a car purchase.

    List of similarities:
    Cost of Operation, Depreciation, Japanese Built, Standard Features, FWD, Optional Equipment, Usable Interior Volume, Build Quality, Cost to Insure and Cost to Own. I spoke with 7 different dealers for Mazda and Scion, in my informal survey, most responded that these two models were frequently cross-shopped. I do believe that geography also affects one's opinion of this comparison. I suspect you live in the midwest or don't experience the kind of traffic we encounter in LA or NYC.

    Certainly, not every category can be the same - but do the benefits of the MZ3 deserve $5000 extra? For you? I suspect not. For others? It happens more often than you may think.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Er, I live on the East Coast, about an hour and a half south of D.C.

    And I still don't believe you've seen an xA next to a 3 hatch, or you wouldn't be making this comparison.

    Unless you really believe people cross-shop the Mercedes with the xA too. Then this argument really isn't worth my time.

    Meade
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    How about trunk space? USNews:

    The rear cargo area is more like a glove box than a trunk, with room for perhaps two gym bags. And while there are basic amenities like power windows, luxuries are generally absent. But Toyota knows it's not building this car for a family of five. So if your wheels matter and your cargo generally consists of a few pals, some muddy sneakers, and several bags of fast food, it's probably worth it to beg a loan from Mom and Dad and go new.

    Cars.about.com:

    If you do a lot of highway driving, the xA probably isn't the best choice: acceleration to highway speeds is just adequate (and rather noisy), the ride gets choppy above 70 MPH, and there's no cruise control, not even as an option.

    What, no cruise, even as an option? It's standard on the Mazda3 hatch, with steering-wheel-mounted controls.

    Cartalk.com:

    The radio, however, is an ergonomic abomination. It's a little piece of junk with tiny, little buttons for everything, including volume. So every single time you want to adjust the radio's volume (which probably falls somewhere between the brake and clutch on the list of most-used automotive controls), you have to lean forward, look carefully at the radio, locate the little, tiny volume buttons, and then push the one you want repeatedly until you reach the right volume. It's a complete and total pain in the butt. Guys, keep the tilt steering wheel, but give us a gol' darn volume knob, please.

    What, no steering-wheel mounted audio controls? They're standard on the 3.

    Yes, ashtrays and cupholders may be high on your list of comparable "standard features," but sadly, performance isn't. This review (from Car and Driver magazine) kinda sums up what I read in several reviews on the xA's performance (or lack thereof):

    Considering that the xA has the Echo's power but an extra 280 pounds, it's no surprise that the engine struggles to maintain momentum up San Francisco's legendary hills. At least the automatic is programmed to hold gears on uphill hauls, so there's less hunting for power and little to be found anyway.

    Just to be fair, here's what C&D has to say about the 3 hatch's engine performance:

    Equipped with the five-speed manual and the 2.3-liter engine, our tester did the 0-to-60 dash in 7.4 seconds, covered the quarter-mile in 16 seconds flat at 87 mph, and attained 100 mph in 22.8 seconds. Those are remarkable numbers for a car in this class.

    But I guess performance may not be high on your list of features; otherwise you wouldn't be looking at a car with only 108 horsepower. So, what about some more tangible "standard features" you say are similar between the two cars?

    Fog lights? Mazda3 yes, Scion xA no.
    Driver's seat lumbar adjustment? Again, Mazda3 yes, Scion xA no.
    Remote keyless entry? Mazda yes, Scion no.
    Floor mats? 3 yes, xA no.
    Rear spoiler? Yes, no.
    Alloy wheels? Yes, not.
    Telescoping steering wheel? Yep, nope.
    Engine temperature gauge? Uh-huh, uh-uh.
    Free roadside assistance? Mazda 4 years, Scion 0.

    Pivoting vents?

    "PIVOTING VENTS???" you scream. Whaddaya mean?! All cars have vents that pivot, for you-know-what's sake!!!

    They do, huh? NOT in the xA!

    Dash-mounted air conditioning vents pivot only vertically instead of rotating 360 degrees as their round, eyeball-like design seems to indicate. (New Car Test Drive.com) Further research (at acarplace.com) revealed that the vents can't be closed either!!!

    So, let's see. Tiny engine, tiny interior, and a list of standard features that's very unbalanced -- the Mazda has some unexpected ones, like fog lights and adjustable lumbar support; on the other side of the coin, the xA lacks a few features that people don't even think to ask about because they're universally accepted as standard on any car in the 21st century. And since you're comparing the xA with the Mazda3 hatch, which in only available in "s" trim, you must consider the fact that the Mazda comes with a veritable boatload of standard features that, when added to the xA to make the two cars comparable, neatly negates all that savings you're touting. (Maybe, to be fairer, you should be comparing the xA to the Mazda3i sedan ... which, even in sedan form, still has a lot more cargo room than the xA but is closer in price -- alas, though, it too still has a longer list of standard features.)

    I'm still scratching my head over the one-way, non-closeable vents. And every car I've had, since driving my mom's 1980 Pontiac Grand Le Mans in 1983, has had an engine temperature gauge.

    When you talk about "value," you overlook a lot of the things the 3 has that make it a better value than the bargain-basement, barebones xA. If you want basic transportation, sure, the xA is just that -- basic. But in terms of value for what you pay, the Mazda3 gives you much more bang for your buck. But don't take my word for it. Take Consumer Guide's, which gives the Mazda3 hatch a 10 out of 10 and the Scion xA a 6 out of 10:

    With its solid build, pleasant interior, and sporty character, the Mazda 3 is a strong competitor. It's more fun than comparable Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla models, rivaling the Jetta, Golf, and Ford Focus for driving dynamics. Add in competitive pricing, and the 3 is a worthy Best Buy.

    Scion aspires to appeal to Generation-Y buyers, and the xA wraps the usual Toyota virtues in a fresh package. That means good workmanship and the promise of good reliability and solid resale value. But larger rivals such as the Ford Focus are more likely to be discounted, thus matching or beating xA for outright dollar value.

    Oh well! Next debate?

    Meade
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Actually, I'm trying to figure out why you're so adamantly against comparing the Mazda3 to the xA?

    The xA has more front and rear headroom, about 1/2" less front leg room with 1.3" more rear leg room than the 3 hatch. Where it falls down a bit is luggage space behind the back seat (11.7 cf vs. 17.1 cf). But the xA actually has more maximum cargo space than the 3 hatch (33 cf v. 31 cf). Yes, the 3 has substantially more power/torque. But, the xA weighs about 500 lbs. less than the 3 so that should help offset some of the lost grunt.

    If you would read cindery's posts more carefully, you might determine that the car's principal use would be mostly as a commuter vehicle (little high speed use or need for lots of power); all that is being sought is adequate room for 4, decent utility and good mileage for not a lot of money.

    Yes, I've seen the xA. Yes, it looks really dinky (nearly 2 feet shorter than the 3 hatch, narrower and taller). But it appears as though your basis for not liking the comparison is based primarily on style rather than function. All that cindery is trying to determine is if the 3 hatch offers enough extra utility/features to warrant the extra money, or is it mostly just the 'zoom zoom'?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    A bit one-sided on that comparison, doncha think?

    How about EPA economy? 32/37 for the xA. 25/32 for the 3.
    Front headroom? 39.6" for the xA, 39.1" for the 3
    Rear headroom? 38.8" for the xA, 38.4" for the 3
    Rear legroom? 37.6" for the xA, 36.3" for the 3
    Tires? I imagine the 15" rim protectors on the xA just might be a bit longer wearing and cheaper to replace than the17" meats on the 3. :P
    Spoiler? actually, I think the lack of a spoiler on the xA is a GOOD thing. If you think it looks silly now, what do you think it would look like with a spoiler?

    Traction/stability control? Available on the xA. NOT available on the 3?

    Before you get all wound up, if it were MY money, the xA wouldn't be in the running. My taste (and obviously your taste) runs a bit higher than 'basic' transportation. Plus, I just can't stand center mounted instrument clusters. Instruments belong directly in front of the driver, where God intended them.

    But to make the case that NO ONE should compare these two cars is a bit, ummmm, elitist? Just my .02.....
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    All that cindery is trying to determine is if the 3 hatch offers enough extra utility/features to warrant the extra money, or is it mostly just the 'zoom zoom'?

    No, that is not what cindery is trying to determine. Cindery is trying to say that the Scion xA is the best 5-door hatch, period, and that all the Mazda3 offers for the extra dollars is 52 more horsepower.

    Don't believe me? Here's cindery's own post (no. 3 in this discussion):

    What I am saying is that the Scion xA is likely the best small 5 door car and can be had for $14000. Most reading this assume the Mazda3 is the best mid-size 5 door. If you factor the major criteria buyers consider when buying, like build quality, resale values, dealer experience, efficiency, standard and optional features, brand satisfaction and last-but-not-least, price, the Scion is a fair comparison against the MZ3.

    If your main concern is horsepower/fun for the dollar factor, then the MZ3 is likely the one to beat for it's type (5 door). Not every buyer can justify spending $5000, simply for 52 more horsepower.


    That last sentence sums up what cindery is trying to say, and what I am painstakingly pointing out is that cindery either (a) has not researched the vehicles thoroughly and has overlooked some major differences that make the xA cost so much less, or (b) likes the xA for whatever reason and is purposely avoiding a fair comparison.

    Meade
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    are getting rather personal and attacking. You can agree to disagree without being condescending. These two vehicles can be compared and there are people who prefer or feel that the Scion xA has merits based on their needs and preferences.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Here are some more numbers to add to the ones you provided:

    xA vs. Mazda3:

    Front legroom (most important): 41.3 vs. 41.9
    Front shoulder room: 50.9 vs. 54.9
    Rear shoulder room: 50.4 vs. 54.0
    Front hip room: 54.6 vs. 54.9
    Rear hip room: 53.4 vs. 53.9

    Yep, smaller and cheaper hubcaps and smaller tires are probably cheaper to replace. It's a cheaper car! And if you think the lack of a spoiler is a good thing, look out ... it's an option. All I'm saying is, most of the things that the 3 includes in its $17.5K base price are STANDARD, whereas those items are either optional or not available on the xA. If you try to make the xA equivalent to the 3 in options, you'll wind up paying nearly the same price -- for a much smaller, much underpowered car. Now, go the other way and compare the xA to the 3i sedan, which is a much fairer comparison, and you'll find the two vehicles are nearly identical in price.

    I am very aware that the 3 doesn't offer traction control. Personally, I don't see what all the hype is about traction control. I've never had it, and I see it as something suited more for BMWs and Lexuses than Mazdas and Toyotas. Oh well. I certainly haven't seen any real-world data proving that traction control does much for safety. I think common sense -- like slowing down and not driving like an idiot in the rain -- is much more effective.

    I guess Consumer Reports feels the same way ... the 2005 Mazda3 got CR's highest overall rating for small cars, plus it received CR's highest rating for accident avoidance ... traction control or not.

    http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/ConsumerReportsSnapshot.aspx?year=2005&make=Mazda&model=- - - - Mazda3&src=vip

    Oh -- and if traction control is such a wonderful safety item, then isn't it interesting that the xA's average annual insurance premium is $1,080, while the 3's is only $990? Weird, since the xA costs 25 percent less than the 3 in the first place!

    Meade
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Well, personally, I think that it is always a losing proposition to claim that ANY car is the "best" car in any particular classification. Simply because we all have very different criteria for choosing cars, therefore there can be no 'best' car.

    Maybe what they meant to type was "the Scion xA is likely the best small 5 door car that can be had for $14000". But I would find even that questionable since I'd rather have a used Mazda3 than a new xA. :)

    "If your main concern is horsepower/fun for the dollar factor, then the MZ3 is likely the one to beat for it's type (5 door). Not every buyer can justify spending $5000, simply for 52 more horsepower."

    Actually, I agree with this. High on my list of desireable features IS "fun for the dollar" which is why I, personally, would never consider the xA. I suspect it is for you too. And for someone stretching to make payments on a $14k car, it WOULD be hard to justify another $5k for the 'zoom zoom' of a Mazda 3.

    All I'm saying is that some folks JUST want a relatively inexpensive 5-door hatchback with decent room, good economy, and a reputation for reliability. Both the Mazda 3 and the xA qualify on those counts. And if these are the ONLY needs in a new car, then it is a fair question to ask if the extra features of the Mazda3 are 'worth' the extra money.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Personally, I don't see what all the hype is about traction control."

    We're getting WAY off topic but...

    http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=27&article_id=9036
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... that this is an unfounded, unfair comparison of two cars that have virtually nothing in common. Hence my saying, way back last week, that it's as sensible as comparing a Hyundai Tucson to a Hummer H2.

    Sure, the xA has merits as an economy car that has some flair. But in no category except one -- the fact that it has four doors and a hatchback -- does it compare to the Mazda3. The Mazda3 is larger, more powerful, and has more features (please don't make me go through all of them again). And that extra stuff equates to a higher price.

    This is like comparing cheeseburgers at McDonald's and TGI Fridays. Sure, you get a burger on a bun with cheese, and fries, at McDonald's. You also get a burger (larger, and you get to choose how it's cooked), on a bun (larger), with cheese (more), and (seasoned) fries at TGIF. You get free refills on your drink at both places.

    Now, you tell me ... Why does the McDonald's version of this meal cost $3.00, but the TGIF version costs three times as much? After all, they're both a cheeseburger, fries and a drink! Is the TGIF version worth more than the McDonald's version?

    Wow ... that made me hungry. I'm off to grab a burger!

    Meade
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Telling phrase in that article ...

    "help drivers maintain control when their vehicles start to slide ..."

    I totaled a car in a hydroplaning accident in 1992. Since that time I have learned what to do to avoid letting my vehicle start to slide -- which is the usual stuff no one does anymore -- drive slowly, avoid sudden maneuvers, keep a safe distance between vehicles, etc.

    Unfortunately, few people drive like that anymore. My trip home from Pittsburgh on Monday delivered a very unfortunate example of this, as a Toyota Sienna minivan went barrelling by me at 70 mph on I-81 near Harrisonburg, VA, in a heavy thunderstorm. A few miles later the traffic came to a full stop as we waited for police and fire crews to extricate the remains of the driver and passengers from the wreckage of the Toyota, which was now sitting upside-down, its roof crushed in a ditch along the shoulder of the highway.

    For those of us who drive responsibly, ESC offers additional protection. For the rest, it's essential. These days, you can pick and choose whether you want ESC, side air bags, curtains, heck -- just about everything short of filling the car's interior with foam. But it still doesn't explain why Consumer Reports gave the Mazda3, without ESC, its highest accident avoidance safety rating and a lower annual insurance cost than the ESC-equipped xA.

    Meade
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Sure, the xA has merits as an economy car that has some flair."

    Many would say the same about the Mazda3. It all depends on where you are on the automotive food chain.

    "But in no category except one -- the fact that it has four doors and a hatchback -- does it compare to the Mazda3."

    Uh, I beg to differ. They are both well made and fairly relible, get decent mileage, and come from reputable companies. If someone were making a list of cars with these attributes, then I would certainly NOT begrudge them for including both the xA and the Mazda3. But I don't think you are going to change many opinions by trying to make them look foolish for making the comparison. Simply pointing out the many differences should be sufficient.

    "The Mazda3 is larger, more powerful, and has more features."

    Well the Mazda 3 is larger on the outside, and (if you're a bit 'broad in the beam') then the extra interior width may be beneficial. But, as I pointed out, the xA has more front/rear headroom and more rear legroom. Perhaps you're more sensitive to width measurements..... :blush: :P Yes, it is more powerful. It also weighs 500 lbs more and has worse gas mileage. If the category is "economy car" then wouldn't mileage count for more than power?

    "This is like comparing cheeseburgers at McDonald's and TGI Fridays."

    You sure have an elevated opinion of the Mazda3. I think it's more along the lines of McDee's and Wendy's. Besides, I really prefer the fries at McDonald's..... :)
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    If the category is "economy car" then wouldn't mileage count for more than power?

    That's just it. There is no category here. The xA is a subcompact car touted for fuel economy ... and that's just about it. The Mazda3 is a compact, and while it's still categorized as an "economy car" (as is the VW Jetta), the automotive press has placed it a step above the Civic and Corolla, some even putting it in the same league as the BMW 3-series. The xA receives a lot of press about being economical and an alternative to a used car, whereas the 3 receives accolades for being an economically priced performance car and an alternative to a BMW. There is a difference!

    So I'll let my Mickey D's vs. TGIF comparo stand. (By the way you reacted to my comparison, it would seem you think of TGI Friday's as an upscale restaurant. It's not, my friend; it's middle-of-the-road -- but there's still a big difference between the burgers!

    But yes, I do have an elevated opinion of the Mazda3. I could've afforded a much more expensive car, but chose the 2005 Mazda3 hatch because I didn't need to spend more money. The 3 had the looks, the performance, the comfort and a heckuva price too. And it appears most of the automotive press in the world also suffer from this elevated opinion.

    http://www.mazda.com.au/articleZone5.asp?articleZoneID=4485&refresh_para=1#mazda3

    Meade
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    And I'll let my Mickey D' vs. Wendy's comparo stand. (By the way you reacted to my comparison, it would seem you think the Mazda 3 is an upscale car. It's not, my friend; it's middle-of-the-road -- and there's still not a big difference between the cars!

    sorry meade - it was there. I couldn't resist. My tongue was firmly planted in cheek as I typed that.

    On a serious note, what sort of a response do you think you would get if you started a Mazda3 vs. BMW3 thread? (For all I know, there may be one). Do you think that many of the BMW owners would try to discuss such a comparison rationally, or do you think the majority would be screaming at you about how ludicrous such a comparison is?

    Why should they be 'wrong' to claim such a comparison is ridiculous, yet somehow you are right to claim the same thing about comparing the xA to the Mazda3? In my opinion, the Mazda3 is closer to the xA than it is to a BMW 3 series for the simple reason that the BMW is RWD rather than FWD.

    So rather than just claiming the comparison has no validity, why not just point out the differences, and let the reader decide if they are worth $5k?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Do you think that many of the BMW owners would try to discuss such a comparison rationally, or do you think the majority would be screaming at you about how ludicrous such a comparison is? Why should they be 'wrong' to claim such a comparison is ridiculous, yet somehow you are right to claim the same thing about comparing the xA to the Mazda3?

    Big reason. Because it's not just one person's opinion, as this ludicrous xA vs. 3 thing is. I have a lot of (good) company comparing the Mazda3 to a BMW.

    Proof:

    Bankrate.com, from its article "Best in Class Sedan Under $20,000": In terms of all-around bang for the buck, this replacement for the well-regarded Protégé moves Mazda ever closer to its desire to be thought of as the BMW of Japan -- but without the BMW price premium.

    (Car and Driver had this to say about the 2000 Mazda Protege, btw: BMW verve for less than half the price. What's not to like?)

    Back to the 3:

    auto123.com: It's the BMW of economy cars, but Mazda's 3 goes further than the Bavarian by offering a dash-mounted 6-disc CD changer in anything over the base model.

    cars.com: If BMW ever were to build an affordable small sedan, this is likely what it would feel like. ... The Mazda3 turns into corners with a sporty precision usually reserved for sports cars costing at least 10 grand more.

    Valvoline.com (which I never -- until now -- knew wrote car reviews): The feel of the car is remarkably taut and responsive, creating the impression of much more expensive car, like those produced by BMW or Mercedes.

    And just to ice my little cake for you, here's a link to a South African review of the new (overseas) BMW 120i. Note that its direct competitors are listed as the Mazda3, the Alfa Romeo 147 and the Subaru Impreza RS. Yes, that's direct competitors. I don't see Scion or even Toyota here!

    http://www.suntimes.co.za/articles/article-motoring.aspx?ID=ST6A95997

    What, did you really think I dreamed up this whole BMW thing all by myself? I had a lot of help from the automotive press. Now you show me some quotes about the xA being in the same league as this award-winning car. (I searched for awards the xA has won, but could find none. I found dozens of international awards and accolades for the 3.)

    Sorry, but dinner's at TGI Friday's tonight!

    Meade
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I've had a very similar discussion with an individual in the Honda Odyssey forum.

    Please don't be confused by verbage in Automotive publications which compare the 'spirit' of Mazda in general and the the 3 in particular to the 'spirit' of BMW. Just as the Honda Odyssey has been called the "BMW of minivans" doesn't mean one can compare it to a 3-series.

    To back this up, the ONLY review you cite above which tries to do a direct comparison between the Mazda3 and BMW is the South African review which compares it to....the BMW 120i. Umm, big difference between the 1-series and the 3-series.

    Sorry, but dinner's at Wendys. You're buyin'... :)
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Please don't assume the press is just talking about some intangible "spirit" here. When their testing shows that the Mazda3's performance is on par with cars $10K higher in price; when they say the car handles as well as a BMW; they're not only saying it's a direct competitor; they're using real-world numbers and test data to back up their statements.

    Time and again, automotive journalists, guides and test-drive reviews have stated that the Mazda3 exudes the quality and performance that BMW and some other European makes are known for. I don't think you're going to see those kind of remarks about the xA -- which again proves my point that these two vehicles are not in the same league.

    Actually, I've enjoyed this! Maybe dinner sometime might be in the works -- and hey, let's go to Chili's!

    :P

    Meade
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    There is nothing wrong with comparing the Mazda3 and the xA. They are both hatchbacks and can be compared. Let's give the feature to feature and needs assessment a chance instead of coming in and being so dismissive that the xA couldn't possbibly be compared to the Mazda3.

    Meade - to you these may not be in the same league and that is your opinion. Let's not squash the discussion because that is your view of the world. To people out there shopping where the xA and 3 are on the list, this is the discussion to ask questions and compare feature by feature.

    You have made your point and opinions very clearly known here. However, your opinions do not need to make everyone else 'wrong'. Please let others participate in the discussion without jumping down throats.

    That said, let this discussion move on. People are allowed to like/prefer the xA - really.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I've enjoyed it too. But since you're waaaaay up there on the east coast and I'm down here in central Texas, maybe we'lll just have to settle for a couple of virtual beers. BTW-just how many cool guys can one put in a Mazda3 glovebox?

    So long as we're way off topic (and the host continues to cut us a little slack).....

    I've had (nearly) this same discussion in the Honda Odyssey forum. Ody owners would point to many reviews which referred to the Ody as the "BMW of minivans". This is called 'hyperbole'. I know because I OWN a new Ody and it drives NOTHING like any BMW that I'm aware of.

    You can see the same type of language in virtually every references you posted:

    "...moves Mazda ever closer to its desire to be thought of as the BMW of Japan..."

    This is not a direct comparison to the 3-series; simply an assesment of how Mazda want's to be regarded.

    "...BMW verve for less than half the price."

    Like I said before, akin to the 'spirit' of BMW. This is not a direct comparison to the 3-series. (wow. you went back to a 2000 roadtest of the old Protege for this quote?)

    "...It's the BMW of economy cars."

    Sounds suspiciously like "the BMW of minivans" to me. Oh, and there's that dreaded 'economy' car label again....

    "If BMW ever were to build an affordable small sedan, this is what it would feel like..."

    Actually, BMW builds the 1-series (I know, I know, not a sedan). Two questions: does the Mazda3 feel like the BMW 1-series? And second, does the 1-series drive just like the 3-series, which is what YOU were comparing it to? For all I know, the Mazda3 is 'just like' the BMW M3.......how far does this go?

    In short, I'm well aware that many automotive reviewers compare cars which exhibit a certain level of 'verve' and 'spirit' to BMW. Perhaps it is just because they are too lazy to give a good description of the handling/steering response without "BMW-like" creeping into their lexicon. However, that is far from asserting that the Mazda3 is some sort of direct competitor to the BMW 3-series which appeared to be what you were asserting.

    And finally, to get BACK ON TOPIC (before we get a big smackdown from the host)...

    "I don't think you're going to see those kind of remarks about the xA --"

    I couldn't agree more. However, the original point of this thread was NOT which small 5-door drives most like a BMW. I don't think the original poster has any desire whatsoever to get a car that drives like a BMW. All they wanted to know was, are the differences between the xA and the Mazda3 'worth' the extra $5k?

    All we can do is to try point out what the difference are, where the xA has an advantage, where the Mazda3 has an advantage, and let the buyer decide if these differences are worth to them the $5k price differential. Simply making some sort of categorical statement that one simply CAN'T compare the two assumes that you know what the comparison criteria are.

    [edit]

    Sorry sylvia - didn't see your post
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I just did a quite check of the general "Scion xA" thread: no posts since 8/3. I think that says a lot right there about why you and I have been the only ones in here. No interest in the xA.

    Rather ... no interest in comparing these two dissimilar vehicles.

    Meade
  • zukhovzukhov Posts: 34
    I think the comparison does have relevance. My wife has a Canadian Echo RS 5 door hatchback, which is essentially a European version of the XA, called Yaris or Vitz elsewhere. It is a bit faster and lighter than the XA. I love the car. I'm in the market for a new car, and I am comparing cars like the Maxda 3 with the XA variants. Another factor to consider for some (longer term ownership) is that Mazda sits near the bottom half in most reliability and initital quality reviews & Toyota is near the top.
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