Mazda3: v Ford Focus 1.6 Sport

Jan - Mazda3 v Ford Focus 1.6 Sport

As the saying goes these two cars have been cut from the same cloth - well up to a point. The Ford Focus Mk4 and the Mazda3 share the same platform because they are both owned by the blue Oval brand.

The two cars are very similar and offer a lot of positves with regards to practicality and road manners. The Mazda3 has a loadspace of 340 litres and, with the rear seats folded, this increases to 1,360 litres, while the Ford Focus has 396 litres with the seats in place and when folded expands to 1,258 litres. The more expansive boot in the Focus makes it easier to store the all-important golf clubs.

Drive the cars back-to-back and you will soon notice subtle differences.  The chassis' are very similar in set-up but the Focus shades it because the steering is slightly better weighted giving better feedback to the driver. The Focus also feels marginally better on the handling front. 

Our long-term Mazda3 2.0-litre Sport (i-Stop) has more power than the run-out Ford Focus 1.6 we tested. The figures show that the Mazda3 Sport produces 148bhp while the Ford Focus 1.6 Sport produces 98bhp. 

The downside with the more powerful Mazda3 is that at times you can struggle to get traction. Pulling away from junctions, especially when greasy, can result in quite a bit of tyre scrabble.

It may come down to price and looks when choosing between the Mazda3 and the Ford Focus because they are very closely matched. The run-out Ford Focus Sport powered by the 98bhp petrol engine starts from £16,545, while our long term Mazda3 2.0-litre petrol in Sport trim starts from £18,995.

To be honest I quite enjoy the extra power so I'm happy to choose the Mazda3 over the Focus even though it's a little more expensive.

Current mileage: 7911

Average mpg: 33.1