Author Topic: Mazda6 vs. Corolla  (Read 2831 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« on: October 05, 2017, 08:17:23 PM »
I have spent days searching for cars at dealerships (Right now due to hurricanes there is very little used inventory in my part of the country- and private party cars are selling for high prices on craigslist). I am a person who also keeps cars for a very long time, and when I spread the cost out over 10+ years, it is very hard to find a reason to buy used again, and also after being in a major car accident and spending a week in the hospital\ multiple surgeries, it is not worth driving an older car when new ones perform so much better in crashes to me.

I have some quite severe back issues, and comfort is very important for me.

I am down to two cars:

1) 2016 Certified Used Corolla LE - 14K with 10K miles. It was the dealership loaner car (verified by Carfax and service history records)

Reliability\reputation (although I am questioning the new CVT transmissions, when they were introduced TM removed the 1000lbs tow rating)
Decent seat (I would say 75% as good as Mazda6)

2) 2017 certified used mazda6 - 19K with 5K miles. Unknown history at this time.

Excellent Seat (Best of the 15+ models I drove)
Technology\Safety features like blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, etc.

The mustachian in me wants the Corolla (with the addition of an air bladder to add lumbar support to the seat), but my heart is on the Mazda, and I would hate to regret not buying it for the next 10+ years of ownership.

Any thoughts? Thanks!


  • Stubble
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 08:35:45 PM »
This is going to sound cliche, but more details on your existing financial situation might help in this decision. $5k is a lot more for some people than others.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 08:47:09 PM »
Don't buy cars with your heart, buy them with your brain.  $5k less for a car that's literally one of the most reliable models ever produced (at least historically; 2016 models of any car don't have much data to show how wise a move they are)?  Easy choice.

That's of course assuming that you are 100% set on buying a car this new.  I'd question that, but like the previous poster said, that's more up to your situation.  If you're drowning in debt, no, that's moronic.  If you're FIRE tomorrow, go for it.  You're probably somewhere in between.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 08:52:27 PM »
Forgot to mention- I have zero debt, zero loans, and plenty of savings to cover either purchase.  I am pretty young and far away from FIRE, but well down the path towards success. 100K investments, 80K savings (I know this is too much!), 80K salary.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 09:23:35 PM »
If the Mazda6 is more comfortable, get the Mazda. Have you considered a Mazda3 since it is more of a direct comparison with the Corolla, and likely cheaper?


  • Stubble
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 09:37:19 PM »
From my experience, you'll regret not having the money growing for the next 10 years more than you'll regret not "going with your heart" when you're making what should be a practical purchase. I'm with the poster above though on buying new, it basically never comes out better, though the corolla sounds like an "OK" deal. You're still going to lose some massive depreciation over the next few years. I don't like losing money. That keeps me farther from FIRE.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 10:17:42 PM »
I have a 2014 Mazda6, and love it.  I also plan to keep it for at least a decade.  It's an excellent car.

I only have two minor gripes:

1. The radio / gps unit can be glitchy at times.  Sometimes the gps freezes, or the bluetooth cuts out.  It's not horrible, but it is annoying.
2. I found the headrest incredibly uncomfortable for about the first month of driving it.  It hurt my neck bad enough that I had to get one of those neck-pillow things.  This is one of those things I eventually got used to, and doesn't bother me any more.

I do second the vote to at least look at the Mazda3.  Gas mileage is better, and it's nearly an identical car.

My previous car was a Mazda Miata.  Over the decade I drove it, I had the alternator go out once.  No other mechanical issues.

I would say to go for the Mazda, assuming the $5K difference has no material impact on your FI plans.


  • Stubble
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 10:46:05 PM »
Get the Corolla.  If it meets your needs it's the better car.  It will also be easier to sell in the future as well - more people are looking for a corolla than are a Mazda 6.  I own a 2007 Mazda 6 and the interior is falling apart at 110k miles.  e.g. head liner is falling down, cracked compartment in the dash.  Mechanically it's been reliable, needed brakes, tires, one control arm, thermostat, and it needs a new drive axle since the boot ripped.  Other than standard maintenance it hasn't really needed too much. 


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 12:33:18 AM »
Another vote for door 3, the Mazda 3. Having driven the Corrolla as a rental car I find it to be a lousy tin can with terribly handling. I am someone for whom the driving experience is important, so no way would I buy that. I haven’t driven the 6 but the 4’e seemed to handle decently and was certainly more fun to drive than the Toyota.

I think it comes down to how important a good driving experience is for you. My husband sees a car as a tool to get from one place to another. I care more. We got a family car, a Golf TDI, and I forever regretted its mooshy handling though I loved the mileage. When we had to replace the car due to the emissions scandal I gleefully got the GTI and have been so much happier as a result. That is me though. My husband doesn’t care one way or the other. :)


  • Bristles
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 05:44:36 AM »
Having driven all three models as rentals, I would go, in order, with the Mazda 3, the Mazda 6 and then the Corolla.

The Corolla is much less comfortable and such a boring car.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2017, 06:30:35 AM »
The obvious financial choice is the Corolla.  But there are a couple of unique factors that might push the decision the other way.  First is your back:  if you have damage to your back that is going to create chronic pain, I would not take a chance on a seat that I *might* be able to make comfortable if I change things around.  I have been struggling with much more minor back issues for the past year or two, and it is ridiculous how much the chronic issues interfere with my ability to be active and lead the kind of life I want.  So keeping my back functional and healthy has honestly become my top priority, because it is such a necessary component to enjoying the rest of my life. 

Second is the safety:  I have been persuaded by the active crash avoidance features, and our next car will have them, period (though I hope that will be several more years so used cars with those options will be more available and cheaper).  It sounds like the Mazda has at least some of those features -- does it have the whole package?  (I care less about the backup stuff than about the active braking)  And Toyota also offers a similar option; does the one you're looking at have that package?

And then the other aspect of safety is your own feel driving the car.  Which car do you feel more in control of driving?  Personally, I have never found a Toyota I felt comfortable driving, because the handling was sloppy and loose; I much prefer the tightness of the Mazdas.

So if it were me, I would buy the Mazda, assuming that it has active crash avoidance and the Toyota does not, because the extra money would be worth it for me for the comfort and safety and "feel" of control while driving.*  But it's really up to how much you value those features.  And on the flip side, look at the total cost to own, too -- the 6 is a much larger car than the Corolla and will likely suck more gas and may cost more to insure.  And I don't know the particular repair history of these models.

*I also say this only because you have no debt and a good 'stache.  You are at a point where you can afford some "extras" beyond the most basic needs; you just need to decide whether these particular extras are the most important ones to you, and if they are worth the extra time you will need to work to pay for them.


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2017, 08:05:14 AM »
I have a 2010, Mazda3 sport hatchback, dealer demo, over 250,000 km now.  I expect to have it for at least another 5 years, or until my car needs change drastically.

I wish it had a bit more lower back support.

I never considered myself a "love cars" driver, more of a "get me to my destination" driver, but when I have driven rentals I have missed my Mazda.  It handles well, I have the extra oomph when I need it.  Other cars feel sluggish and mushy in comparison.

Unless you need the extra space a Mazda6 offers, or your back likes it best, a Mazda3 may do you fine.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Mazda6 vs. Corolla
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2017, 06:42:47 PM »
I did really like the Mazda3 hatchback, but the seat on the M6 is so much better for my spine so I purchased it.

I found a lower trim level M6 in a bigger metro area for a slightly better price than the certified used, so it ended up being about 1.5K less than a new Corolla would have been (not the certified one I was looking at).

Mazda made a mid-year 2017.5 model which added safety features like blind spot monitor and automatic front braking, so I was able to get a 2017 model for a better price since it is now technically 2 model years old.

I still am having a hard time stomaching the bill for the car and knowing it will probably push my retirement date out up to a year or so--but because of my rural location I did need a good car-- dealers are limited on certified used\ used inventory because of the hurricanes,  and cars on CL are selling quickly for asking price. After surviving a major car accident, the crash ratings are also a factor for me.. An 18K car can be easily replaced, but injuries are far most costly and permanent.

Honestly the regrets I have are-
1- growth of electric cars may mean even lower resale value in the future-- and being that I keep cars as long as possible it means it will be much longer until I can have one.
2- not having the advanced crash prevention systems (not available on the 2017 base model as an option)
3- pushing out retirement date.

Reading the mazda6 forum sites, the only complaints on the current generation about reliability were cheap tires and brake pads which last 30k miles, which is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. If I can get 12 years/ 150K miles out of this without major or repetitive repairs, I will be more than happy. I did not pay for the extra warranties, but I can add on at up to 30K miles, so at that time I will review and the mazda forums to check on common\expensive issues to see if it is worth the money or not.