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Old 02-19-2012, 09:32 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,457 posts, read 13,501,317 times
Reputation: 4391
Last year I test drove both the Mazda3 and the 2011 (now previous generation) Subaru Impreza. I thought both cars were pretty fun to drive. The Mazda3 felt more like a solid car, whereas the Impreza felt more like an econobox. In particular I noticed the seats on the Impreza were not very comfortable. The Impreza was also extremely noisy. In terms of looks I much preferred the Impreza to the Mazda. I think the Mazda3 (and all Mazdas) looks hideous. However, this was the previous generation Impreza, not the current one, so what I just said may not apply to the redesign.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Woodland Park, CO
2,873 posts, read 4,164,048 times
Reputation: 1928
I would go with the Impreza. Hard to beat Subaru AWD with 27/36MPG. I'm sure it will keep its resale better, sure does in Colorado.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:28 PM
 
9,692 posts, read 11,346,573 times
Reputation: 7023
I did thousands of laps in both last fall. I also did some city driving and interstate driving with both.

The Mazda I found was fun to push at speeds, the tail would rotate slightly on entry or exit.

The new Impreza was more planted and you could drive into a corner at the same entry speed as the Mazda but with less drama.

The Mazda also understeered more quickly at times.

Overall on track doing cone drills, people I was working with found the Mazda a bit more top heavy by comparison, more body roll, more understeer. It made people more uncomfortable and I had to push them hard and practically force them to stay in the gas, otherwise they'd ease out of the gas. The Impreza was more surefooted and planted and gave people more confidence.

The Impreza you also sat lower, with more room and a nice wide windscreen. It gave it the edge in regular road driving, but the Mazda drove fine on the road for a car in it's class.

The only downside with the Impreza is if you get the CVT. It's not bad for a CVT, but CVTs are not my thing and it's a bit noisy. I'll take the 5 speed box thank you.

The new Impreza really impressed me overall, much better than the old. The Mazda 3 not bad for it's class. Especially with the AWD factor, I would pick the Subaru.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
6,946 posts, read 4,066,139 times
Reputation: 4998
If he felt the Impreza drove as well get that. The way it drives is the 3's main point which is something you either appreciate or don't.... other than that it's not a remarkable car. I've never driven the SkyActiv version.... according to magazines (which I find about as credible as celebrity tabloids) they didn't ruin it, but I've also never driven a car with electric steering that didn't feel numb, so I'm skeptical there. The Impreza still gets good mileage is more roomy and has AWD.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:37 PM
 
9,692 posts, read 11,346,573 times
Reputation: 7023
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Last year I test drove both the Mazda3 and the 2011 (now previous generation) Subaru Impreza. I thought both cars were pretty fun to drive. The Mazda3 felt more like a solid car, whereas the Impreza felt more like an econobox. In particular I noticed the seats on the Impreza were not very comfortable. The Impreza was also extremely noisy. In terms of looks I much preferred the Impreza to the Mazda. I think the Mazda3 (and all Mazdas) looks hideous. However, this was the previous generation Impreza, not the current one, so what I just said may not apply to the redesign.
I didn't realize how much Subaru was going to step it up with their new Impreza as I was expecting a facelift, but instead they did a clean sheet of paper design. There is a lot more attention to detail on the new car such as lowering the rocker panel to make it easier to get in and out of the car and improving the quality of the plastics inside. It looks and feels more like a baby Legacy inside.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:15 AM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
2,293 posts, read 2,760,299 times
Reputation: 2887
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzelogik View Post
The big dog in crash protection would the Impreza.
Not to be underestimated. All Subarus have excellent crash protection. The Impreza has the extra knee airbag (a very common crash injury). The AWD makes them that much safer.

Other than that they are both excellent cars. Edge to the Mazda for fun to drive handling, but the Impreza has very good driving dynamics and will have a more compliant ride. Also, I've always found Mazda interiors to be a bit underwhelming in the feeling of quality materials, the new Impreza has a greatly improved interior this year, though it's still not luxury.

Having two Subarus, you know what I'd ultimately recommend.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:21 AM
 
5,278 posts, read 5,446,668 times
Reputation: 5097
I also would look at what country gets most of the profits? I realize that some Subaru's are made in the US which is great for jobs specifically but its still a foreign company.
Don't know much about Mazda, some sort of joint ownership?
Where made/US jobs and % of foreign ownership/profits go where?

When I'm grocery shopping I will do this, read labels, price similar, all else being equal, look at where it came from/company. For example - Sugar. I live in Ohio. Cane Sugar comes from FL, Pioneer comes from the Midwest. So I support the Midwest and buy Pioneer.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:48 AM
 
9,070 posts, read 11,505,900 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
I didn't realize how much Subaru was going to step it up with their new Impreza as I was expecting a facelift, but instead they did a clean sheet of paper design. There is a lot more attention to detail on the new car such as lowering the rocker panel to make it easier to get in and out of the car and improving the quality of the plastics inside. It looks and feels more like a baby Legacy inside.
That's the thing that impressed me.. The interior was much better than the last version, lots of soft touch materials. But the. At isn't for me, I was just the observer during the test drives.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:51 AM
Status: "earning cash and growing 'stache" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Cincinnati near
1,714 posts, read 1,158,259 times
Reputation: 3289
We have a 2010 Impreza and a 2011 Mazda3. I like the Subaru better, my wife likes the Mazda. In our cars, the Mazda has more tech-bluetooth, steering wheel radio controls, etc, and is a bit faster, more nimble, and gets better gas mileage. The Subaru has more interior space (important as I am 6'3 and I move a lot of junk) and is very noticably better in slick conditions. I also prefer the sound of the Subaru boxer engine. When we take intercity road trips in nice weather we take the Mazda. When it is rainy or snowy we both prefer the Subaru. When we go to the grocery store and when we expect back seat passengers we take the Subaru. Honestly both cars are very similar, but the Mazda gets the edge on a nice day and the Subaru wins convincingly during bad weather.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:09 AM
 
9,692 posts, read 11,346,573 times
Reputation: 7023
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chemistry_Guy View Post
We have a 2010 Impreza and a 2011 Mazda3. I like the Subaru better, my wife likes the Mazda. In our cars, the Mazda has more tech-bluetooth, steering wheel radio controls, etc, and is a bit faster, more nimble, and gets better gas mileage. The Subaru has more interior space (important as I am 6'3 and I move a lot of junk) and is very noticably better in slick conditions. I also prefer the sound of the Subaru boxer engine. When we take intercity road trips in nice weather we take the Mazda. When it is rainy or snowy we both prefer the Subaru. When we go to the grocery store and when we expect back seat passengers we take the Subaru. Honestly both cars are very similar, but the Mazda gets the edge on a nice day and the Subaru wins convincingly during bad weather.
Well, when you get a chance try the new 2012 Impreza. It's a big step up from the old car.
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