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2018 vs. 2019 Mazda3: What’s the Difference?

  • The Mazda3 is all new for 2019 and is still available as both a sedan and a hatchback.
  • One of the most notable new features of the 2019 model is available all-wheel drive (AWD), which is rare in this segment.
  • This Mazda has a well-earned reputation of being one of the most fun-to-drive compact cars available.

If you need a practical car, but also enjoy driving, there’s a good chance that Mazda’s lively compact is on your shopping list. Along with the likes of the Honda Civic and the Volkswagen Golf, the Mazda3 is one of those cars that seamlessly combines everyday practicality with a fun driving experience. This compact Mazda is all new for 2019 and takes what we loved about its predecessor and makes it even better.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the 2018 Mazda3 and 2019 Mazda3.

2018 Mazda3 vs. 2019 Mazda3 exterior


The changes in the exterior of the Mazda3 bring it more in line with the current Mazda design language that’s been spreading through the brand over the last few years. It’s a look that works very well on this compact, both in sedan and hatchback forms. As for size, the exterior dimensions for the hatchback for both 2018 and 2019 are identical. The sedan, however, got a few inches longer with the 2019 update.

2018 Mazda3 vs. 2019 Mazda3 interior


The interior of the Mazda3 went from pretty good to excellent with the new generation. The inside of this compact has reached a new level of elegance that makes it feel much more premium than you might expect at this price point, especially in the higher trims. It’s complemented nicely by an intuitive 8.8-in standard infotainment system replacing the standard 7-in unit in the 2018 model. See the 2018 Mazda3 models for sale near you

One of the few weaknesses of the Mazda3 is back seat space. It’s not terrible and it’s suitable for children, but it’s a little cramped back there compared to roomier rivals. If you’re going to be using bulky child seats or if you’re planning on having tall adults in the back regularly, you may find the back seats of this Mazda lacking. See the 2019 Mazda3 models for sale near you

2018 Mazda3 vs. 2019 Mazda3 mechanicals


The 2018 Mazda3 has two engines available and the 2019 model only has one. Mazda has announced multiple other new engines on the way for the new Mazda3, but as of this writing, the base engine is the only one you can actually get in the U.S.

2018 Mazda3 Engines:

  • 2.0-liter inline four, 155 horsepower, 150 lb-ft of torque, up to 28 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway.
  • 2.5-liter inline four, 184 hp, 185 lb-ft of torque, up to 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy.

2019 Mazda3 Engine:

  • 2.5-liter inline four, 186 hp, 186 lb-ft of torque, up to 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy.

The sole engine in the 2019 Mazda3 is little more than a tweaked version of the better engine available in the 2018 model. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — this engine delivers impressive acceleration and respectable fuel economy. The Mazda3 is also one of the best handling cars in its class while also offering a comfortable ride.

In the 2018 model, a manual transmission was available in every trim of the Mazda3. For 2019, the manual is only available in the highest trim of the hatchback. AWD is a new feature for 2019 and is available on every trim of the hatchback and sedan except for the base trim of the sedan. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to option a Mazda3 with both AWD and a manual transmission.

2018 Mazda3 vs. 2019 Mazda3 technology


The aforementioned 8.8-in infotainment system in the 2019 Mazda3 is a nice improvement over the 7-in unit in the previous generation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard on every 2019 Mazda3 except the base sedan, and the screen is now solely controlled by a rotary dial rather than having both the dial and a touchscreen. The new system also has a favorites page that makes it easy to access your most frequently used audio settings and destinations.

The 2019 Mazda3 hatchback comes packed with standard safety tech features that are optional on the sedan. These include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams. A head-up display and adaptive headlights are also available.

Every 2018 Mazda3 comes standard with low-speed forward-collision warning. Other safety tech features like the ones that are now standard on the hatchback were optional for the 2018 model, but only in the range-topping Grand Touring trim.

2018 Mazda3 vs. 2019 Mazda3 pricing


The new Mazda3 got a bit of a hike in the base price with its 2019 update, but remember the 2018 model had a weaker base engine. The 2018 Mazda3 has a starting MSRP of $18,095 and the 2019 model starts at $21,000. The 2018 hatchback starts at $19,345 and the 2019 hatchback starts at $23,600. If you’re interested in an AWD Mazda3, the AWD sedan starts at $24,000 and the AWD hatchback starts at $25,000. When you get into the higher trims, the price can almost hit $30,000.

2018 Mazda3 vs. 2019 Mazda3 conclusion 


The updated 2019 Mazda3 may cost more than its predecessor, but when you consider the better base engine, the more premium interior, more widely available safety tech and available AWD, this Mazda is a pretty premium compact and a strong value. The 2018 model is a great compact and you can save a few bucks by going that route, but you’d be missing out on some really nice updates. Find a 2018 Mazda3 for sale or Find a 2019 Mazda3 for sale

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