Competing in the compact car segment is not easy, yet the 2013 Ford Focus and 2013 Mazda3 manage to shine. They both offer a variety of body styles and engines, and they give you a ton of features for a low starting MSRP. These are well-built, well-rounded, safe and affordable cars. Whether you do a lot of in-city driving around Orange County, or if you are typically on the highway heading to a more secluded area you call home, you will feel composed and confident in either of these cars.
From spirited engines to impressive fuel economy, the 2013 Ford Focus and Mazda3 have a little something to offer nearly anyone. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder in Focus is an engine that buyers have grown to trust. It delivers 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. That may not seem like much power, due to the lightness of this vehicle it can accelerate zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds. Fuel economy is fantastic, yielding 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
Focus is also available as an electric vehicle, which is definitely attractive to the environmental enthusiast. It is equipped with a thoughtful 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack that supplies power to the 143 horsepower, 107-kilowatt electric drive motor. It can travel roughly 76 miles between charges.
The 2013 Mazda3 offers a few different engines as well. The first is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 148 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque, and yielding 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. There is also a more advanced version of this same engine in the Touring, Grand Touring and 3i Sport trims that delivers 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Fuel-economy is best in class with 33 mpg combined. Lastly Grand Touring is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that reaches zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, thanks to 167 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque.
Driving and Handling
Mazda3 and Focus both deliver a pleasant and comfortable ride. You will find responsive steering, refined suspension and minimal body roll in both. If you are after a sportier ride, then the Titanium Handling package on Focus should satisfy. If you have your heart set on Mazda3, opt for the 3s Grand Touring for the same effect. Wherever the road takes you in Southern California, you are sure to enjoy the ride.
These are great looking cars, but you really have to give Ford a standing ovation for the color palette. Shades like Blue Candy and Tangerine Scream Metallic Tri-Coat are what makes this vehicle so fun. Focus has an athletic stance with unique z-shaped body lines, a piano black grille and a wide range of wheels.
Mazda3 takes a sleek approach, with an aerodynamic body and flowing lines. The standout feature is definitely the front fascia and five-point grille. Both vehicles are available as a sedan hatchback.
If the attractive exterior and fantastic fuel economy of this vehicle does not seal the deal, the passenger cabin on both will. They are every bit as nice as what you will find in higher priced vehicles. The 2013 Mazda3 offers soft touch materials, even on the lowest trim levels, and the controls and gauges are highlighted at night by blue and red ambient lighting. The front seats offer plenty of room, but taller rear seat passengers may feel a little cramped.
The 2013 Focus gives you about the same amount of room in the back, but seats are comfortable and supportive. The materials are best in class, but the layout of controls does take a little getting used to as it can appear overwhelming at first.
As far as safety is concerned, you won’t get much better than these two cars. Both received top safety scores in front, roof and side-impact crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2013 Focus offers the Ford SYNC® system on all models that includes emergency crash notification, a feature that dials 911 automatically in the event of a crash. Also, all models except the S sedan get Ford’s MyKey® system that lets parents set audio and speed limits for teenage drivers.
Mazda3 has a blind spot warning system available as well as an adaptive front lighting system, which adjusts your headlamps based on the angle and speed of an oncoming vehicle.
Technology and Entertainment
At such a low price, you would hardly expect to have a “wow” moment when exploring technology and entertainment features, but you might be quite surprised. Ford offers an available Sony® audio system, with nine speakers, one subwoofer and 355 watts of power while the 2013 Mazda3 has an optional 10-speaker Bose® Centerpoint® surround sound system available.
To get you where you need to go, Mazda partners with TomTom® for a fully integrated navigation system. Ford’s system comes with SiriusXM® Traffic, an EcoRoute mode and really impressive 3-D mapping.