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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by diesel engines and utilizing the 5-door hatchback body style within the same 'Small family car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (4 x 4 for the Subaru and front in the case of the Mazda). The first one has a Subaru-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 150hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 150hp engine designed by Mazda.Safety
A starting point here would be to take a look at the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests which were performed on both of the cars, with the Mazda being a slightly better choice apparently. That aside, let's consider some other aspects which affect safety. Both vehicles belong to the small family car segment, which is generally classifying them somewhere in the middle safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. Furthermore, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, Impreza offers a marginal difference of 1% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that Mazda does have a slight advantage, all the models observed together. That's the official data, while our visitors describe reliability of Subaru with an average rating of 4.4, and models under the Mazda badge with 4.5 out of 5. Some independent research have also placed Impreza as average reliability-wise, and 3 is more or less at the same level.That apart, owners of different cars powered by the same engine as Impreza rank it on average as 4.7, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 3.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Subaru is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.6 seconds less than its competitor. Still, it lacks the power to win the top speed competition, topping at 205 kilometers per hour, exactly the same as the other car does. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 5.6 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (50 mpg), in combined cycle.
Subaru appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, Mazda 3 offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. From there things take a different direction, with Subaru offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... No mistake, whatever you decide here, but I'd still go for the Mazda. Anyway, that's the most objective conclusion I could've came up with and it's based solely on the information found on this website. Aspects such as design, practicality, brand value and driving experience are there for you to measure them out. Also, you could use the oportunity to find out which car, everything taken into account, would be the perfect choice for you in the eyes of the virtual adviser™, among more than 12.000 different ones in our database.