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Mazda3 5 door vs. Scion xA

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Comments

  • 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.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I agree the Echo hatchback is a wonderful car. How do you feel about its trunkspace? And more importantly how do your two dogs feel in the back?

    Full disclosure: I have a Protege5 with two happy shelties in the back seat.
  • smariasmaria Posts: 279
    My wife and I glanced at an xA when we were looking at Toyotas a few months ago. I say "glanced", because although we test drove a Prius and an xB, we didn't even consider the xA. The main factor for us was size...its tiny in the back, and adding it's tinyness to its lack of power, we didn't feel like we could really carry anything in it. Also, we wanted side curtain airbags...and no Scions come with that as an option.

    After looking at Toyotas, my wife and I eventually decided on a Mazda3...larger than the xA, more fun to drive, and side-curtain airbags. If we were willing to compromise on all 3 of these things (we weren't willing to compromise on any of them), then yes the xA is something we could have considered.

    Of course different people have different requirements and priorities. But for us, the xA wasn't even an option and the Mazda3 was a car we loved, very big difference for us...

    ...but then we learned about the Mazda5, loved it too, and bought it instead :D
  • smariasmaria Posts: 279
    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.

    There was some debate about this earlier (not sure which forum it was in). Someone pointed out that Mazda is near the top of the initial quality reviews in nearly every country except for the US, even though many of their global products are the same in all markets. The Mazda3 (a global product) has been very reliable, while the Mazda6 and MPV have been less so.

    Also, I read in Consumer Reports that overall industry-wide reliability has increased a lot in recent years, so even cars made today with "less-than-average" reliability are more reliable than most cars that were made 5-6 years ago...I can't find the exact quote right now or I'd post it here.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    You're right on both counts: the Mazda3 has been rated as reliable and is recommended by Consumer Reports. CR also notes that the auto industry as a whole is improving, with the Japanese leading the way, the Koreans closing in, and the Americans vastly improved compared to a decade ago; surprisingly, it's European vehicles (like Mercedes and Jaguar) that have the most issues in terms of reliability.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Someone pointed out that Mazda is near the top of the initial quality reviews in nearly every country except for the US, even though many of their global products are the same in all markets.

    That was me. Just go to the JD Powers website and look up the initial quality reviews by country, and in ALL cases except here in the good ol' USA you'll find Mazda near -- or even AT -- the top! Yes, even ahead of Honda and Toyota.

    And btw, depending on whose reports you read, the Mazda3 ain't far from the top over here either. Here's the results of Consumer Reports' 2004 reliability survey:

    http://money.cnn.com/2004/11/08/pf/autos/cr_auto_reliability/

    Meade
  • are you kidding me....
    Mazda 3 Vs Scion Xa - the thing is butt ugly
    The only cool/good looking car they have is tC - everything else is ugly
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Careful there, ez ... I started out the same way and got in all kinds of trouble. Tread lightly; there are tender hearts here!

    :blush:

    Meade
  • I've driven both the Mazda3 (rented one for three days) and the xA and I have to say that overall the xA holds its own. It is certainly smaller especially in the rear cargo area with the back seats up but all this nonsense from road tests about not getting up the hills of San Francisco---??? Maybe I'm a magician but I just went up plenty of hills in an xA (automatic no less) and it was just fine, no problems.

    The Mazda is better for high speed passing 60-80 mph, no doubt about it, but I'd say the xA handles as well, especially in the city. The reason for this is that the xA is smaller and also geared lower for city spurts rather than a long-legged highway use. Is it a MINI? No way, but it costs a lot less, too.

    There is nothing cheap about the xA by the way. I can't say how it will "age" but you can tell right off that Toyota built it.

    Given the price differential between the two, if you can settle for 90% of a Mazda 3 for 75% of the price and nearly 150% of the gas mileage, then go for it. But if you need freeway power or you want to cruise at 80 mph all day, the xA might....might...get on your nerves a bit. I'd choose the Mazda for longer trips.

    If I had a choice, given that I live in a large metro area, I'd take an xA, add the handling package, cold air intake, wider wheels and tires and performance exhaust (that'll set you back about another $2,000) and this would edge the xA closer to the Mazda3.

    I'm 6ft 2in and 200 lbs and the xA is fine for me.

    Personally I like both these cars but I think the xA is kind of a bargain for what you get in equipment vs. price.

    A family man? Well really the Mazda is the one you want.
  • FYI - the performance exhaust is not available on the 2006 xA in Atlanta because of emission issues. I was told by Toyota that it was not avail on '06 xA at all. It is also risky in non-attainment areas to mess with the exhaust and the dual oxygen sensor set up. If the ck engine light comes on you cannot pass the emission inspection and will be in for a heck of a ride trying to figure it out. Best I can tell, it's not worth messing with the exhaust or anything that moves the exhaust more quickly through the cat. The 02 sensors are talking to each other thru the OBD and expecting certain kinds of data.
  • Yeah you do a "cat-back" exhaust. You're not messing with 02 sensors or emissions....it's all downstream of everything and if California approves it I'm sure Altanta will.

    You're thinking about exhaust "headers" which is completely different. No, you can't do that without complications.
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