2012 Ford Focus vs. 2012 Mazda 3: Which One Should I Buy?

Compact sedans and hatchbacks provide a great ride on a budget, with the evolution from a stodgy, unattractive exterior (and interior!) to a more fully-featured trim set and exterior design. Driving enjoyment is improved throughout the class, which are known to be commuter cars and are often chosen for younger drivers.

While the Focus is a bit more eye-catching from a design perspective, the Mazda 3 has some slick curves that provide an overall neat, sophisticated, and athletic profile. The Mazda’s interior stays true to the newer European look and feel; while the Focus feels sporty and obsessively detailed throughout the interior which brings it up a class in terms of feel and look.

Mazda Mazda3 2012
Mazda Mazda3 2012

Interior Comfort

Ford loses out a bit on the interior design because, while sporty, it leaves something to be desired in terms of spacing for the driver and front-seat passenger as the dash is taking up a great deal of room. The interior of the Ford is sculpted and tailored, while the Mazda is slightly more utilitarian.

Performance

The sportier feel that you’ll get from both vehicles puts other sedans and hatchbacks to shame, but the Mazda 3 gives a better and kickier performance regardless of the similar stats. You’ll get a more effective powertrain and better responsiveness from the Mazda 3 no matter if you go for the six-speed automatic or the six-speed manual gearbox. Smooth and even acceleration and confident braking provide the Mazda with class- leading performance, while the Ford is simply acceptable.

Safety Ratings

The Focus falls a bit shy again in terms of ratings when compared to the Mazda 3. While both are Top Safety Picks by the IIHS, the Mazda is the only one to get 5 stars from the NHTSA for frontal-impact test, while the Ford gets 4 stars. Mazda 3 has a blind spot warning system and several other active safety features that the Ford just doesn’t offer.

Fun Extras

The Ford gives you a few bonuses on the base model such as parking assistance and MyFord Touch connectivity; which is matched by the Mazda Connect system. You’ll find adaptive lighting, blind-spot monitoring, memory power seats, and premium sound in both options.

If you’re looking for a vehicle you will love to drive and that will be stingy with the gas, then the Mazda 3 may be your option. However, with the upgrade package the Ford Focus is one of the best-driving small cars that is on the market for this year.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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