The Mazda3 is hailed by many to be the king of its class in terms of styling, dynamics and efficiency, but it’s not a premium vehicle, so it has to also face off with the likes of the Kia Forte.
The Forte is a talented car in its latest incarnation – it is in no way sporty to drive, but it looks good, it’s comfortable and in base engine spec it’s faster than the Mazda.
It can also accommodate drivers with a wider variation of body types, whereas the 3 struggles to make short drivers feel comfortable according to AutoGuide.
Choosing between the two is a matter of preference, although the Mazda is the spirited driver’s choice… even if it’s slower to accelerate. The Kia is still faster if you opt for the next engine up, the 1.6-liter turbo with 201 hp. Mazda’s answer to that is a 2.5-liter non-turbo with 184 hp.