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Subaru Impreza, Mazda MAZDA3
#2 of 41 I've owned a few of both...
Sep 16, 2004 (10:43 am)
I don't suspect you'll find big differences in any of those areas. Both do quite well, actually.
Basically the Mazda3 will offer more options, even things like NAV, if you're into gadgets. The caveat with Mazda is dealers charge a fortune for parts.
I have a Miata and we had a 626 and I experience sticker shock when I see prices at dealers. Just stick with on-line wholesalers like Roebuck Mazda.
The Subie makes AWD standard. The only extra maintenance required is a rear diffy fluid change. It is easier than an oil change, though, just two bolts, drain and refill.
For parts try Liberty Subaru, very reasonable prices.
Do you live in the snow belt and need AWD? -> Subie.
Sun belt and gas mileage matters more? -> Mazda.
Good luck shopping.
#3 of 41 Re: I've owned a few of both... [ateixeira]
Sep 16, 2004 (11:42 am)
Thanks for your reply. I live in Toronto, so yeah, white stuff is pretty common in the Winter!
From what I hear, maintenance maybe cheaper for the Subie.
Well, I test drove a Saab 9-2X, and my wife found the suspension too firm. I suppose the Impreza suspension is similar to the one in the 9-2X? I personally like the Subie better than the Mazda, but I'll have a hard time trying to convince my wife...
Sep 16, 2004 (11:45 am)
The RS wagon will feel a bit softer mostly due to the 16" wheels and higher profile tires. It might be the right balance between comfort and performance for your wife.
Drive that and then a Mazda3 5 door. If it's her car primarily, let her choose. Otherwise you'll never hear the end of it.
#5 of 41 No SAC available on the Impreza
Sep 16, 2004 (2:55 pm)
#6 of 41 No AWD available on the Mazda3
Sep 21, 2004 (8:04 am)
Sep 22, 2004 (8:47 am)
Double so what, since the original poster is in Canada where the 3 doesn't come with side air bags or side curtains at all, period.
I went from an '02 Protege5 to an '04 Impreza. I don't find there to be any real difference in terms of maintenance or insurance costs. Both have reasonable regular service bills and the insurance here in SW Ontario was about the same cost for both.
As far as reliability goes, in the year and a half I had it the Mazda was probably in the shop about four times for minor warranty repairs (squeaky power window, rattly radio) and once for a bigger issue where the alloy wheels corroded badly after its second winter. All the wheels were refinished under warranty, although I had to rent a car for a week while the wheels were sent out of town to be worked on.
So far after one year with the Subaru I've only had to take it in once for a non-maintenance problem, which was a rattle that turned out to be the fault of the aftermarket sunroof installer and not Subaru's fault.
I was very happy with the Mazda overall, but it's true that the Subaru has had fewer problems over its first year than the Mazda had at the same point.
That said, I think the 3 and the Impreza are both great cars. If I hadn't been set on AWD this time around I'd probably be driving a 3 right now. If you still want to compare, take atexeira's advice and try the '05 Impreza RS wagon for a direct comparison of the ride.
Sep 22, 2004 (9:03 am)
I'd never seen complaints about wheels rusting, but I have seen a lot of center caps that turn yellow with age on Mazdas. Our 626 was like that and so is my Miata.
I was hit by a Saab and they replaced one center cap because it broke, now the problem is it doesn't match the other 3!
-juice ('93 Miata, '98 Forester)
#9 of 41 If AWD is needed this is a meaningless comparison
Sep 22, 2004 (4:57 pm)
Sep 23, 2004 (6:47 am)
If SAC is needed then we could say the same thing.
It's impossible to make it a direct comparison with identical equipment, so we just list the pros and cons.
Mazda3 makes SAC available in the US, but not in Canada.
Impreza has AWD standard.
And so on.
#11 of 41 Thanks for the advices!
Sep 24, 2004 (10:51 am)
I took a test drive of the Impreza yesterday. The dealer gave me an Outback model. I was surprised that the suspension was not as stiff as I expected. I asked the sales about the suspension as compared with the 9-2X, and he told me that the Saab had the WRX suspension, and that the 2.5RS wagon's suspension should be a little softer than the Outback model. Anyway, my wife and I both liked the big cargo space of the RS, and finance rate is lower (2.8% vs 5.9% for the 3). We will be getting the Subie. Thanks again for the responses!