The 2020 Hyundai Veloster and the 2020 Mazda 3 are two of the best compact cars out there on the market currently. The Veloster with its signature 3-door set up and the Mazda 3 with its affordable luxury feel. Both are class leaders but which is better? Read on below for an in-depth analysis and find out which model takes the number one spot.
2020 Hyundai Veloster
The 2020 Hyundai Veloster is an affordable compact car that still makes a statement with its three-door body style. While its main statement is the three-door only hatchback styling it delivers memorable performance with a suspension that combines comfort and responsiveness amazingly. Add in the Veloster’s turbocharged engine and you have a high-performance stylish car that is unbelievably fun to drive.
On the exterior, the obvious stand-out is the unique 3-door design that helps to create an air of sportiness when looking from the outside. The base model 2020 Hyundai Veloster base model comes riding in on 17-inch wheels and boasts features like heated power-adjustable side-view mirrors, daytime running lights, and automatic projector-beam headlights.
Some additional features to note if you step up to the Turbo dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) trim are blind-spot monitoring, and a sunroof. Overall the Hyundai Veloster is a fun, sporty-looking compact hatchback that has a myriad of features to optimize your on-road experience.
While there may only be 3 doors the 2020 Hyundai Veloster seats 4 in a spacious cabin that features quality materials. The cabin has a pleasant feel and reflects some simplicity and the base model comes with a six-speaker sound system and a 7.0-inch display screen infotainment system. Bluetooth is standard and all models are equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for all-around device syncing. On the options side, there is a wireless device charger built-in and you can upgrade your touchscreen display to 8.0 inches as well as a superior sound system and navigation.
Performance-wise the 2020 Veloster has two engine variants to choose from starting with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sports 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Any trim level that has turbo in the description is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 201-horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.
Gas mileage-wise the difference between the two is small, with the 2.0-liter topping out at 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, while the 1.6-liter comes in at 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
All trim levels are FWD and come with transmission choices of a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic transmission, and a seven-speed DCT. The turbo clocked 6 seconds in its sprint from zero to 60 which is pretty good for its class. While the base level Veloster is a great choice of vehicle if you are on a budget, the turbocharged engine is definitely a little more fun to drive.
2020 Mazda 3
The 2020 Mazda 3 is definitely one of the nicest compact cars in its class with all-around refinement and classy driving manners and is available as both a hatchback and a sedan. One drawback to the Mazda 3 is the lack of a high-performance model but the 3 does maintain the standard agility and comfort when the road gets rough that it has been known for.
On the exterior, the Mazda 3 retains its distinct appearance but one thing to note is the hatchback’s rear window compromises visibility. The Mazda 3 sedan was the winner of the World Car Awards’ 2020 World Car Design of the Year and is a 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
New for 2020 the Mazda 3 lineup now comes with more standard driver-assistance features that the base model lacked in previous years generations, hence the IIHS Top Safety Pick. Every Mazda 3 comes with Mazda’s i-Activesense suite which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking, and lane-departure warning.
In general, the styling and look on the outside of the Mazda 3 gives an air of sophistication which will probably make your friends and family think you spent more than you actually did.
The 2020 Mazda 3 comes with a myriad of standard features but if you go with the Preferred trim level, you’ll get a Bose audio system, heated front seats, and SiriusXM satellite radio all standard. The higher trim levels also feature a heads-up display and leather upholstery
The base model seriously lacks the types of features that are standard on the Veloster. If you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto you are going to have to look at the pricier versions of the Mazda 3. Standard features at the base level include an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and push-button start.
The Mazda 3 Select, which is a trim level only available in the sedan version, is only about $1000 more than the base level and comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto synthetic leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. The Hatchback doesn’t have a select trim but at the entry-level its standard equipment reflects that of the Mazda 3 Select sedan.
Performance-wise the Mazda 3 doesn’t give you a lot of options, or any for that matter, engine wise. All models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 186 horsepower and for the most part, just doesn’t do much on the highway when you are putting the pedal down. The Hyundai Veloster definitely excels in the performance category.
The Mazda 3 comes in a manual transmission on the hatchback but the all-wheel drive versions and the sedan are all automatic. The main feature of the Mazda 3 is the ride quality which is refined and gives a feeling of composure on both straight and twisty roads. It retains the fun-to-drive nature with natural-feeling steering, a firm ride that doesn’t punish the occupants and tight body control.
In the fuel economy category, the 2020 Mazda 3 is about the same as the 2020 Hyundai Veloster rocking an estimated 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway on the front-wheel drive version but going with the all-wheel drive version drops those numbers to 24 city and 32 highway.
|2020 Hyundai Veloster 3dr Hatchback||VS||2020 Mazda 3 Premium Package Hatchback|
|1.6-liter I-4 (regular gas)||Engine||2.5-liter I-4 (regular gas)|
|7-speed auto-shift manual w/OD & auto-manual||Transmission||6-speed automatic w/OD & auto-manual|
|201 @ 6,000 rpm||Engine Horspower (@ RPM)||186 @ 6,000 rpm|
|195 @ 1,500 rpm||Engine Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)||186 @ 4,000 rpm|
|28 City / 34 Highway / 30 Combined||EPA MPG Rating||26 City / 35 Highway / 29 Combined|
|13.2 gal.||Fuel Tank Capacity||13.2 gal.|
|Standard||Remote Keyless Entry||Standard|
|Power with 2 stage unlock||Door Locks||Power with 2 stage unlock|
|Automatic||Air Conditioning||Dual zone front automatic|
|1||12-Volt DC Power Outlet||1|
|Not Available||Adaptive Cruise Control||Standard|
|AM/FM/Satellite, seek-scan||Radio||AM/FM/HD/Satellite, seek-scan|
|Not available||Navigation||Available: With voice activation|
|Front Seats heated-cushion, heated-seatback||Heated Seats||Front Seats heated-cushion, heated-seatback|
|Safety & Driver Assist|
|Driver and front passenger||Front Airbags||
Driver and front passenger
|Seat-mounted, driver and passenger||Side Airbags||
Seat-mounted, driver and passenger
|Curtain 1st and 2nd row||Side-Curtain Airbags||
Curtain 1st and 2nd row
|Standard||In-Vehicle Assistance Service||Standard|
Who’s the winner?
Overall the 2020 Hyundai Veloster is the clear winner here. At the base level, the Veloster may fall short in the horsepower category compared to the Mazda 3 but the turbo Veloster definitely outpaces the Mazda at 201 horsepower compared to the 3’s 186 horsepower. And while the Mazda 3 may seem a little more refined and elegant you have to spend way more to get even a few of the features standard on all trim levels of the Hyundai Veloster. The Mazda 3 may have a reputation for refinement and a superior feeling drive it just doesn’t meet the same standards of the Hyundai Veloster, especially if you are looking to get the most for your buck.