Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search


Matt Campbell
Reviewed & driven by

2 Aug 2019

If you're shopping for a small hatchback, your options are arguably more diverse than ever. We've gathered the three you want to read about most, to highlight which is the standout at the budget end of their class.

These three are the base models of each of their respective ranges - the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport, the Mazda3 G20 Pure, and the Kia Cerato S. The latter is the most affordable, but it has an important option box ticked that brings it more into line with its rivals, based on safety technology. We’ll discuss that more shortly.

If you're shopping for a small hatchback, your options are arguably more diverse than ever. If you're shopping for a small hatchback, your options are arguably more diverse than ever.

Because this part of the market typically follows a familiar formula, our Toyota hatch, Kia hatch and Mazda hatch are all petrol-powered and automatic. But despite being the starting point in each of their ranges, there’s quite a price disparity between these cars - you’ll see when get to the price and spec section.

It’s only fitting that we returned our previous budget-hatchback comparison winner - the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport - to take on two of the upstart newcomers in this part of the market. Prepare yourself, this will be a close one! 

Design

The collective opinion of our team of journalists was that the Corolla had the best balance of curves and lines, while the Mazda had the most aggressive styling, and the Cerato… well, everyone here preferred the previous-generation model. 

There’s none of the spunk and European-ness that we all appreciated about the old Cerato. Mercedes-Benz clearly liked it, virtually copying elements for its new-gen A-Class hatch. But in this generation, it looks awkward - part of that comes down to the fact the Cerato seemingly doesn’t know if it’s a hatch or a wagon, and the rest of it comes down to the fact the bumpers are all wrong for a base-model car. Having piano-black highlights front and rear, not to mention a rally-spec air diffuser, just doesn’t work - especially with steel wheels and plastic wheel covers.

  • You might think SUV is the only way, but the Kia Cerato hatch disagrees. You might think SUV is the only way, but the Kia Cerato hatch disagrees.
  • The Cerato seemingly doesn’t know if it’s a hatch or a wagon The Cerato seemingly doesn’t know if it’s a hatch or a wagon
  • The steel wheels and plastic wheel covers just doesn’t work The steel wheels and plastic wheel covers just doesn’t work
  • The bumpers are all wrong for a base-model car The bumpers are all wrong for a base-model car

The Mazda3’s thick C-pillar and tiny glasshouse lend it a coupe-ish profile, a bit like the Alfa Romeo Brera. Lots of people love it, but those who don’t, really don’t. The blacked-out mask-style grille and slinky headlights give it a caped-crusader vibe, but the front-end design is let down by halogen daytime running lights, which anchor the design in reality. The Mazda may have more street appeal to the majority of people, but the oversized C-pillar and non-convex driver’s side mirror make visibility for the driver poor by comparison.

  • The Mazda had the most aggressive styling The Mazda had the most aggressive styling
  • It may have more street appeal to the majority of people It may have more street appeal to the majority of people
  • The oversized C-pillar and non-convex driver’s side mirror make visibility for the driver poor by comparison The oversized C-pillar and non-convex driver’s side mirror make visibility for the driver poor by comparison
  • The front-end design is let down by halogen daytime running lights The front-end design is let down by halogen daytime running lights

The Toyota’s sculpted rear and sharp front end work really well in combination, and the Corolla’s standard LED headlights and DRLs mean it looks of its time - and the fact it’s the oldest design of these three - having gone on sale in 2018, where the other two launched in 2019 - is testament to the fact this look will hold up well.

The interior design of each of these cars is vastly different, too. That’s partly down to the sizes and shapes used for the metalwork, and also to the materials used.

The Corolla is the sportiest - more aggressive lines and angles inside the cabin, nice materials that aren’t luxurious but don’t come across as budget either, and the most comfortable and sculpted seats up front and in the rear.

  • The Corolla had the best balance of curves and lines The Corolla had the best balance of curves and lines
  • The sculpted rear and sharp front end work really well in combination The sculpted rear and sharp front end work really well in combination
  • The standard LED headlights and DRLs mean it looks of its time The standard LED headlights and DRLs mean it looks of its time
  • The Corolla design is the oldest design of these three - having gone on sale in 2018 The Corolla design is the oldest design of these three - having gone on sale in 2018

The Mazda’s cabin is gorgeous. The materials look plush and high-end, and friends and family might be convinced you’re driving something considerably more expensive. If you like getting into a car that feels more pricey than it is, it could be enough to get you across the line. Just be aware that it feels very dark inside.

  • The Corolla has nice materials that aren’t luxurious but also don’t come across as budget The Corolla has nice materials that aren’t luxurious but also don’t come across as budget
  • The materials in the Mazda look plush and high-end The materials in the Mazda look plush and high-end
  • The Kia has lots of plastics that are difficult to come to terms with The Kia has lots of plastics that are difficult to come to terms with

The Kia has lots of plastics that are difficult to come to terms with (a bit like the exterior!), including extensive hard plastic on the doors and materials that tell you you’re in a budget hatchback. That said, the dashboard looks great, and the ergonomics are all spot-on. 

Kia Cerato S6
Mazda3 G20 Pure 8
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport8

Practicality

We asked each of the manufacturers just how important practicality is to buyers of their small hatches and, unsurprisingly, the general consensus is that it’s not as critical for this type of car as it for, say, an SUV.

That means that while there are some notable practicality shortfalls here - namely for the Corolla, let’s just be honest - this part of the market isn’t overly bothered by that. In fact, compact exterior dimensions might be preferable to back seat and boot space. They’re called ‘small cars’ for a reason, after all.

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

Length

4510mm

4460mm

4375mm

Wheelbase

2700mm

2725mm

2640mm

Width

1800mm

1795mm

1790mm

Height

1440mm

1435mm

1435mm

Boot capacity (litres)

428L (VDA)

295L (VDA)

217L (VDA)

So you can see that the Corolla is the smallest outside, and has the smallest boot, too. But - if it matters to you - 217L is still enough to fit a Woolies trolley-worth of stuff in the back.

  • The Kia and its huge boot opening was a winner for loading and unloading. The Kia and its huge boot opening was a winner for loading and unloading.
  • The Mazda only just fit all three suitcases in. The Mazda only just fit all three suitcases in.
  • The Corolla has the smallest boot. The Corolla has the smallest boot.

Part of the reason the Corolla in this spec has such a small boot is because it has a full-size spare wheel (which, amazingly, came in handy on our video shoot day, where we copped a screw in one of the tyres yet were still able to continue filming despite the flat). The other two have temporary space-savers, which could make all the difference if you’re caught in the middle of nowhere. For 2020 models (on sale from November 2019), Corolla Ascent Sport petrol hatch buyers will have the option of a tyre-repair kit instead of a full-size spare wheel, so if you value boot space, that could be an important consideration.

We placed the CarsGuide pram and luggage set in the back of each of the cars, and the Kia had the advantage (as you’d expect, based on the boot-capacity figures) and its huge boot opening was a winner for loading and unloading. 

The Mazda only just fit all three suitcases in, but the pram went in with a bit of room to spare. 

  • The pram fit in the Corolla but we couldn’t close the tailgate. The pram fit in the Corolla but we couldn’t close the tailgate.
  • The Kia fit the pram with plenty of room to spare. The Kia fit the pram with plenty of room to spare.
  • The pram went in with a bit of room to spare in the Mazda. The pram went in with a bit of room to spare in the Mazda.

The Corolla struggled - it was only able to fit the two smaller travel bags, or the big one, but not all three together. You might need to pack light or use the back seat if you’re considering a driving holiday in the Toyota. The CarsGuide pram fit in, but we couldn’t close the tailgate. So I guess it didn’t fit, really. But it is a big pram, and if you’ve got a youngster, yours might be more compact… like the car.

But there’s more to practicality than spare wheels and space behind the back seats. Like, if you’re one of the 25 per cent of people who uses the back seat of their small hatch regularly (yep, only 25 per cent!), you might want to know that the Cerato has the most knee room, headroom and shoulder space of this trio. The Mazda3 juuuust pips the Corolla for space in the second row overall, but it feels smaller.

The Mazda3’s steeply raked windows and dark headlining make for a claustrophobic space for adults, and kids may well find it uncomfortable as they won’t be able to see much. The Corolla and Kia are considerably more amenable, with the latter offering the airiest and most pleasant rear-seat accommodation. 

  • The Cerato has the most knee room in the back The Cerato has the most knee room in the back
  • The Mazda3’s steeply raked windows and dark headlining make for a claustrophobic space for adults in the back The Mazda3’s steeply raked windows and dark headlining make for a claustrophobic space for adults in the back
  • Th Corolla feels small in the back Th Corolla feels small in the back

Further, this spec of Mazda3 doesn’t have a rear flip-down armrest with cupholders, where the other cars do. The Toyota and Mazda both have one map pocket, the Kia has none. All three have bottle holders in the doors (the Toyota’s are up high, the others down low), but none set the standard for rear-seat amenity in this class.

For new parents, we did a test that saw us fit a rearward facing baby seat in the second row, just to see how much space is available for a (182cm) passenger to sit up front. The results were astoundingly good for the Kia, thanks to its bigger cabin, but the Mazda and Toyota were comparatively cramped.

  • The Kia has the smallest centre bin within the front The Kia has the smallest centre bin within the front
  • The Mazda has the largest centre bin storage up front The Mazda has the largest centre bin storage up front
  • The Corolla lags behind for loose-item storage The Corolla lags behind for loose-item storage

Up front, things are a little more pragmatic. 

In all three of these cars you get bottle holders in both front doors, there are cup holders between the seats, each has a decent glovebox, and all have a covered centre bin (the Kia’s is the smallest, the Mazda’s the largest). But the Corolla lags behind for loose-item storage compared to the others, with smaller, more limited space for odds and ends. 

Now, media screens and sound systems matter to plenty of people in this part of the market, so here’s a rundown on what you get in each of these models. All of them have Bluetooth phone and audio streaming (and all were simple to connect to), but there are some elements that don’t match up.

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

Sound system (standard equipment)

6 speakers

8 speakers

6 speakers

USB count

2

2

1

DAB radio

Yes

Yes

Optional

Media screen size

8.0-inch

8.8-inch

8.0-inch

Touch screen?

Yes

No

Yes

Apple CarPlay

Yes

Yes

Coming late 2019

Android Auto

Yes

Yes

Coming late 2019

Sat nav

No

Yes

Optional

Wireless phone charing (Qi)

No

No

No

The Corolla will get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto later this year, and people who buy one before it’s rolled out will be eligible for a free upgrade to include the smartphone-mirroring tech. That’s good news.

  • The Corolla features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto The Corolla features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Like the other two models, the Kia has Bluetooth phone and audio streaming Like the other two models, the Kia has Bluetooth phone and audio streaming
  • The Mazda’s screen is a bit of a pain to use The Mazda’s screen is a bit of a pain to use

The Mazda’s screen may look super sleek, but using it is a bit of a pain - especially if you’re a smartphone addict like me. The CarPlay system runs through the rotary dial controller, and that’s not what CarPlay was designed for - indeed, it makes the term “smartphone mirroring” seem a bit dumb. It is harder to control CarPlay with a rotary dial, to the point where I’d probably just use the native system. 

Unsurprisingly, the Kia gets the highest score for practicality - it feels almost half a size bigger than its competitors in the cabin.

Kia Cerato S9
Mazda3 G20 Pure 7
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport6
 

Value

The prices of these three models aren’t as close as you might think, considering all three represent the entry points to their respective ranges. You can get manual versions of each of these cars if you so choose (and you’ll save between $1000 and $2000 if you do), but we’ve gone with the automatic models, because that’s what more than 95 per cent of buyers go for.

The Kia is the most affordable, with the Cerato S auto starting at $21,990 drive-away. Kia doesn’t offer a list price before on-road costs for this model. Our car is the version with the safety pack, which has a listed drive-away price of $23,490, and it had optional Horizon Blue premium paint, which costs $520. So it’s drive-away price, based on the 2000 postcode, is $24,010.

Next up, based on manufacturer’s list pricing is the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport, at $24,370 before on-road costs. Our test vehicle had the optional convenience pack with sat nav, DAB digital radio and tinted rear windows (which really should be standard at this price point, not an extra $1000) and that pushed its drive-away price to $29,535. 

The Mazda3 G20 Pure is the most expensive model, both on list price and drive-away. The list price for this model is $25,990 plus on-roads, and if you go by the same criteria as the above, the Mazda site throws up a drive-away price of $29,659. Remember, this is a base-model hatch!

Now, we think you’ll get better deals than what you’re seeing here if you shop around. Browse stock on Autotrader, and when it comes to the crunch, don’t be afraid to visit to a few showrooms to get the best deal. 

Paying almost 30 grand for a base-model hatch is hard to fathom - and just goes to show why Kia is having such success in this part of the market.

But it’s not just aggressive pricing that has seen Kia succeed here - despite costing less, it’s standard equipment list is pretty impressive. Sure it misses out on alloy wheels and has 1990s-tech headlights, but if you can look beyond that, you’ll see it stacks up well, considering its effective buy-in price is about five-grand less than its rivals. That’s about 20 per cent cheaper!

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

Wheels

16-inch steel

16-inch alloy

16-inch alloy

Spare wheel

Space saver

Space saver

Full size alloy

Tyre pressure monitoring

Yes

Yes

No

Headlights

Halogen

LED

LED

Daytime running lights

Halogen

Halogen

LED

Auto headlights

Yes

Yes

Yes

Auto high-beam

No

Yes

Yes

Auto wipers

No

Yes

No

Electric folding side mirrors

Yes

Yes

Yes

Seat trim

Cloth

Cloth 

Cloth

Steering wheel trim

Leather

Plastic

Plastic

Front seat adjustment

Manual

Manual

Manual

Air conditioning

Manual

Manual

Manual

Rear seat vents

No

No

No

Head-up display

No

Yes

No

You can see the media screen specs and details for each of these cars in the practicality section above.

Unsurprisingly, then, the Kia wins this section of the test. The other two have their highs and lows, so we’ve ranked them evenly.

Kia Cerato S9
Mazda3 G20 Pure 7
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport7

Engine and transmission

It’s a tried and tested formula - a two-litre petrol engine, an automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. But there are some differences here, including the technology employed in feeding the fuel to the engine - the Cerato has an older-tech multi-point engine, where the others have more efficient, direct-injection engines. 

  • The Cerato has an older-tech multi-point engine The Cerato has an older-tech multi-point engine
  • The Mazda has 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection The Mazda has 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection
  • The Toyota hits harder with its 2.0L engine The Toyota hits harder with its 2.0L engine

There really isn’t much separating these three in terms of power and torque - but the Toyota hits harder with its 2.0L engine, and also bucks the trend with a continuously variable transmission, which  has an innovative launch gear for smoother take-offs. The others use six-speed auto transmissions.

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

Engine

2.0-litre four-cylinder multi-point injection

2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection

2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection

Power

112kW at 6200rpm

114kW at 6000rpm

125kW at 6600rpm

Torque

192Nm at 4000rpm

200Nm at 4000rpm

200Nm at 4800rpm

Transmission

Six-speed automatic

Six-speed automatic

Six-speed automatic

Vehicle tare weight

1345kg

1310kg

1390kg

The scores here reflect the fact that the Toyota has a higher power output, and it’s also worth noting that it’s the second-heaviest (or second-lightest) here, so the fact it offers the best acceleration was a surprise. 

Kia Cerato S6
Mazda3 G20 Pure 7
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport8

Fuel consumption

There’s a good chance you expect decent fuel consumption from a compact hatchback like these cars - indeed, Mazda and Toyota have a bit of history here, and there’s even a hybrid version of the Corolla if that floats your boat (for what it’s worth, we reckon it’s the best Corolla you can get).

Even so, the figures you see below indicate what each company claims its car should consume, what we saw displayed on each car’s dashboard, and what it actually used based on our own fuel-pump figures. Plus, just for fun, we’ve thrown in the percentage the car was over its claimed fuel use.

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

Combined cycle fuel consumption

7.4L/100km

6.2L/100km

6.0L/100km

Displayed fuel consumption on test

9.3L/100km

8.4L/100km

7.8L/100km

Actual fuel use on test, at the pump

10.9L/100km

8.5L/100km

8.6L/100km

Percentage over claim

47 per cent

37 per cent

43 per cent

Fuel tank size

50 litres

51 litres

50 litres

The outcome of this test indicated that it was pretty darn close between the Mazda and Corolla in the real world - so much so that we declared them equal on balance. The Kia was thirsty, so it placed last.

Note - all three can run on 91RON regular unleaded.

Kia Cerato S6
Mazda3 G20 Pure 8
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport8

Driving

We get it - you either care about the way your car drives, or you don’t. You’d be surprised how many people make up their minds just by seeing a car, rather than making a decision based on how it drives.

But our job is to assess them each for their strengths and weaknesses, and we did that - over a mix of different driving scenarios, including urban testing with roundabouts and speed-humps, arterial roads, country back roads, twisty corners and highway stretches. 

We’ll go through them, one by one. 

The new-generation Mazda3 doesn’t quite have the same fun factor that the old one did. 

The new-generation Mazda3 doesn’t quite have the same fun factor that the old one did. The new-generation Mazda3 doesn’t quite have the same fun factor that the old one did.

It’s still nice to drive, with mostly sweet steering and a good ride at higher speeds making for plenty of open road enjoyment, and it’s more refined and quieter than ever, too.

But the downside is that the suspension can be unpleasant around town, particularly if you encounter a lot of speed humps and potholes. And the steering can be jittery in the corners, too.

For our three-up urban driving, the Mazda was the worst experience for everyone inside, and for the driver the steering can be inconsistent in its weighting, too. The brake pedal is soft under foot as well.

And the drivetrain? Well, the six-speed automatic is smooth in its operation and smart with its shifts, but the engine is noisy, and while it gets the job done, it was the slowest car here for acceleration. 

The Kia Cerato was about equal in round terms - not great but largely inoffensive. 

Kia has tuned the suspension and steering of the Cerato for Australian road condition. Kia has tuned the suspension and steering of the Cerato for Australian road condition.

You can tell Kia has tuned the suspension and steering of the Cerato for Australian road conditions because it offers a comfortable and compliant ride on less-than-perfect surfaces.

It has a slightly firmer suspension tune that tends towards sporty in the way it handles, and that’s great on a windy road. But it can make for some sharp interactions with speedbumps and pockmarks on the road at lower speeds.

At pace the engine and transmission are a good team, working well together despite some thrashiness to the engine under hard acceleration.

But it’s around town where the drivetrain disappoints, feeling lethargic and confused at times. 

On top of that, the steering is too heavy at parking pace as well, meaning it feels like it needs a bit too much work to park. 

But it was the Toyota Corolla that was our pick - once again. It was super impressive in our previous hatchback comparison, and this time around we thought the gap would be a little smaller. The fact is, this is a very, very well engineered car, and it deserves a two-point lead over the others because it’s such a good all-rounder.

The Corolla was the most pleasant and enjoyable car to drive. The Corolla was the most pleasant and enjoyable car to drive.

It has a perkier engine and clever launch gear that allows you to use a conventional first gear before it changes over to CVT mode, and what that means is that you take off with little hesitation.

The engine is more willing than the other two cars here, too, and it was the quickest point-to-point in our acceleration testing, as well.

The steering of the Corolla was judged by us to be the sweetest of the mix, too, with a very light action at lower speeds that still offers good feel and directness when you’re parking. At higher speeds the steering is involving and fun - this was the car that put the biggest smile on the faces of our testers in the twisty bits.

Topping it all off is the ride comfort, which was considerably better around town when dealing with speed humps and potholes, and offered good balance and control at higher speeds, too.

All things considered, and for all of our judges, the Corolla was just the most pleasant and enjoyable car of these three.

Kia Cerato S7
Mazda3 G20 Pure 7
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport9

Safety

The data you see below is for the Cerato S with the safety pack fitted because that’s the model we tested in this comparison review. 

To make it clear what you get for your $1500, we’ve put an asterisk next to the inclusions you will see added if you spend the extra on the safety pack - but arguably the most important change is a step up from a four-star ANCAP rating for the non-safety pack version to a five-star score for the model we drove.

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection 

Yes*

Yes

Yes

Lane departure warning

Yes

Yes

Yes

Lane keeping assist

Yes

Yes

Yes

Blind spot monitoring

Yes*

Yes

No

Rear cross traffic alert

Yes*

Yes

No

Rear AEB

No

Yes

No

Adaptive cruise control

Yes

Yes

Yes

Rear parking sensors

Yes

Yes

No - dealer-fit accessory

Front parking sensors

Yes

Optional as part of pack

No - dealer-fit accessory

Driver fatigue detection

Yes

Yes

No

Road sign recognition/warning

No

Yes

Yes

Airbag count

6

7

7

ANCAP score

5 stars - 2019* 

5 stars - 2019

5 stars - 2018

It’s worth noting just how much the game has moved on in the small-car market in terms of safety gear - a year ago, Toyota’s Corolla Ascent Sport was leading the way. It isn’t any more, and indeed looks a little underdone in comparison to the other models tested (but note, you can get the extra gear if you upgrade to the next model up the Corolla range). 

Mazda has comprehensively kitted out the 3 G20 Pure with immense safety tech as standard - its extensive safety equipment list is very impressive, and the only thing that stops it getting full marks in this part of the criteria is that it misses out on front parking sensors as standard.

The Cerato S gets a good deal of gear if you spend the extra on the safety pack. It’s worth it, because it offers vulnerable road-users protection by way of the addition of AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection. If you don’t option the safety pack, you just get a basic, low-speed AEB. 

Kia Cerato S8
Mazda3 G20 Pure 9
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport7

Ownership

What makes for a good ownership experience? It could be long service intervals, low maintenance costs, a lengthy warranty, or peace of mind by way of complimentary roadside assist. You may value one of those things over the others, but we’ve taken an eagle-eye look at all of the important ownership considerations for these cars - you’ll see in the table below.

 

Kia Cerato S

Mazda3 G20 Pure

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport

Warranty

Seven years/unlimited kilometres

Five years/unlimited kilometres

Five years/unlimited kilometres - but up to seven years available

Servicing intervals

12 months/15,000km

12 months/10,000km

12 months/15,000km

Average service cost (over five years)

$403

$311.60

$175

Roadside assistance included?

Seven years complimentary

Five years complimentary

Additional cost

While Kia’s seven-year ownership plan is impressive in at-a-glance terms, the Cerato S is surprisingly expensive to maintain, based on the company’s pricing structure - especially for what is a conventional (read: not very complicated) powertrain.

The Mazda is let down by its shorter service intervals, and the costs will add up if you do more mileage than the average consumer. But the fact you get five years’ roadside and warranty is nice.

And the Toyota may not come with roadside assist included, but it will still be cheaper to own than the Kia, even if you do the maths out to seven years and include the additional cost of roadside assist (which we did). It is worth noting that if you have you car serviced on schedule - be it by Toyota or any other licensed workshop - your drivetrain warranty will extend to seven years of cover. Just remember, that means issues with the power windows and radio, for example, may not be covered.

Kia Cerato S8
Mazda3 G20 Pure 7
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport8

Verdict

We literally spent hours trying to separate these three impressive small hatchbacks in order to come up with a winner. 

And it’s clear these three could very well cater to different buyers - each excels in different areas: the Kia for practicality, the Mazda for safety and the Toyota for its driving experience. 

But against our review criteria, here’s how it ended up.

We spent hours trying to separate these three impressive cars in order to come up with a winner. We spent hours trying to separate these three impressive cars in order to come up with a winner.

The Kia Cerato S - especially when fitted with the optional safety pack - is a value-packed hatch that’s big on space and spec. But it couldn’t match the others driving around town and was worst for fuel use. 

The Mazda3 G20 Pure is a safety-tech benchmark, and arguably a style standout, too. In isolation, it’s a truly impressive thing, but in this comparison test, it couldn’t quite cut it for comfort, and it’s also pretty pricey. 

The Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport is also on the expensive side for this type of car, but for your money you’re rewarded with a lovely car to drive no matter the road, and even though it has a smaller boot and back seat, the reality is that it’s not as high a priority for many hatchback buyers in this SUV-mad world. 

So it’s our winner - only just - in this comparison test. 

Kia Cerato S7.4
Mazda3 G20 Pure 7.5
Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport7.6


Comments