Small-car partners in the past, the Blue Oval and the former Zoom-zoom brand now compete against each other in the compact segment with the 2016 Ford Focus and 2016 Mazda Mazda3, both of which follow the popular strategy of offering both hatchback and sedan body styles. The Focus is a bit older, however, as it rides on a platform that dates back to the 2012 model (and actually was used as the foundation for the previous-generation Mazda3). Ford’s entry was significantly refreshed just last year though. As for its rival, Mazda launched its current-gen car in for the 2014 selling season. There’s also a fairly large difference in their popularity: Despite being the most popular car in the Mazda lineup, the Mazda3 has been outsold by the Focus by more than 125 percent through the first quarter of the year.
On the other hand, buying a new car isn’t a popularity contest, and both the Focus and the Mazda3 offer some distinct advantages for customers, as you’ll discover below.