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Mazda 3 vs Mazda 6 (spoiler: 6 wins by a wide margin)

3958 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Get Inline
Why the 6?

Do a Google search of Mazda 3 vs 6 and you'll find half a dozen Mazda dealerships all explaining the same 5 differences, among the many, many differences between the two cars.

They'll start with the mileage: the 3 gets better MPG. Then they'll show that the 3 has 96 cubic feet of passenger volume while the 6 has 99 cubic feet. The 3 has like 12 cubic feet of trunk space while the 6 has around 16. The 6 has a few more inches of rear seat leg room. The 6 also comes with a 2.5L engine standard.

And that's it, according to them. Apparently no salesperson had the time to spend more then 3.5 minutes writing an article to explain the nuanced differences between the two cars. If you were just looking at those articles, you'd think all you were getting for a $3k-5k price difference is a 4% increase in cabin space and a bigger trunk.

So I did my own comparison of the two cars. I looked the 2016 models, both in the Sport trim, though I'm sure many of these carry over between years and between trims. Here is what I found:

*The 6 is roomier inside overall (those 3 cubic feet make a huge difference in making the cabin wider and longer)
*The 6's trunk has storage trays on the sides
*The 6s mirror adjustment knobs and AC adjustment knobs are chrome, the 3s are black plastic
*On the 6, all 4 windows have auto up/down, while on the 3 only the driver window has it
*The 6 has a headliner sunglasses holder (the 3 Touring adds this feature but also adds a sunroof which takes up a full inch of front seat headroom)
*The 6 has an electronic parking brake (the 2017 3 adds this feature)
*The 6 has a sliding front cup holder cover (the 2017 3 adds this feature)
*The 6 has a fold out armrest in the back seat w/cupholders
*The 6 has lumbar support
*The 6 has a flat black window control panel with aluminum accents while the 3 has carbon fiber with glossy black accents
*The 6 has more aluminum accenting on dash
*The 6 has a leather wrapped steering wheel
*The 6 has better looking trim around infotainment screen (the 2017 3 adopted this better-flowing trim)
*The 6 has a larger instrument cluster with a needle Tachometer, while the 3 has a digital tachometer
*The 6 has a CD player
*On the 6, the usb port is inside the armrest compartment, the 3 has it below AC controls in plain sight
*The 6 exterior has a better shape in my opinion, and it has chrome accents around the windows and across the trunk
*The 6 has turn signal side mirrors
*The 6 has 17" aluminum rims while the 3 has 16" steel hubs w/hubcaps
*The 6 has dual chrome-tipped exhaust and I couldn't even spot the exhaust on the 3
*The 6 has speed control on every vent while the 3 only has it on outer 2 vents
*The 6 has 2 individual rear seat map lights while the 3 has 1 dome light
*The 6 has a trunk button on key fob
*The 6 has soft side door armrests in the back seats while the 3 has hard plastic ones

These were all the differences I could find between the two cars, and to me they make all the difference, but feel free to add more I may have missed. I think the 3 would still be a great car to have, I just think the 6 takes all the great features of the 3 and makes them a bit nicer.
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I don't care about any of that personally. I buy cars for the driving dynamics and performance. I've driven the 2L 3 and own a 2.5L NA 6. I liked both. 2.5L engine is a must. 6's extra wheelbase and chassis makes the car feel much better - More refined and stable. The 3 is more fun to drive and sporty feeling with better controlled body motions and sharper steering. Quality wise, both are good cars but the 6 is more roomy and comfortable. The chassis and engine in the 6 + the nicer styling/interior is my favorite part.

the 3 with 2.5L engine is quick, but after Mazda updated the 6 inside and out, it's no competition. Before 2016 either or was a great choice.
Speaking of the difference between the two (I'm hijacking this thread a bit), can the 17 inch rims from a 3 fit on the 6?
I need snow tires and rims for my 6, but I'm only looking at second hand stuff on kijiji. I'm not buying new.

There's not much stuff on line for a 6, but tons of stuff for a 3.
I can get 17 inch Mazda 3 rims pretty cheap, but will they fit my car?
Thanks in advance.
Which 17" wheels? The current gen 3 doesn't have 17's. As long as you get the correct tire sizes it will fit no problem.
You can get 16, 17, or 18 inch wheels on the 3. The 17's are a separate purchase item, but you can get them.

Check Mazda Canada main site.
Kijiji Ottawa has several 17" Mazda 3 rims listed for sale.
Oh you're right. I just checked the website, love how Mazda offers a variety of great wheel choices with their cars. I was under the impression that the stock GX/GS wheels are 16" while the GT has 18's.
One thing to mention - The Mazda 3 hatchback has chrome exhaust tips. All 3 sedans do not have protruding tips.

Ever since Mazda introduced hatchbacks from the first generation (which are all very nice looking except for the second gen) They always tried to lure buyers into buying the hatch over the sedan, such as making a sport package standard on hatchback models in the first gen, for example.

To be honest, before Mazda updated the interior in the 6 for 2018, either or was a totally reasonable choice. Both felt good quality and comfortable to me. Interestingly enough, the current Mazda 3 has a similar interior to the very first update the 6 received for 2016. Very nice and upscale interior for what is just an entry level car.

What both vehicles got right was fit/finish, (no creaks rattles, good sturdy assembly feel) good materials on the touch points (nice high quality feeling vinyl and plastics) but most importantly, the ergonomics of things such as the shifter, steering wheel, turn signal stalks etc all feel pleasant to the touch. The car feels sporty and driver focused while still retaining everyday/ long drive comfort.
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