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Hatchbacks are a tough sell in America, but a swath of the population still appreciates the added practicality a fifth door brings. For those few and proud who don't care for sedan styling, there are some spectacular, budget-minded options and topping the list are the Mazda3 hatchback and Hyundai Elantra GT.

Both cars are fuel efficient, practical choices that merit consideration. And while they might seem remarkably similar on paper, a little time behind the wheel proves otherwise.

Despite having its Skyactiv engine line, the 2012 Mazda3 keeps much of its “zoom-zoom” spirit while forgoing much of the fancier feature feeling Hyundai strives for.

The Mazda has a more powerful engine with 155 hp compared to 148 for the Hyundai, but strangely it doesn't feel that way around town. In fact, the Elantra will fool you into seeming like the more powerful of the two. Much of the reason for this is the Hyundai’s touchy throttle, meaning it wants to lurch forward at the slightest touch, though lacks any real power beyond that. The Mazda is the opposite and begs to be strung out in order to have any fun.

In every other way, the Mazda feels better. It's more nimble. Step on the gas pedal and you'll see the tach leap to meet a downshift. And those shifts feel buttery smooth next to the Hyundai's imprecise gearbox. Grinding gears is darn near impossible in the Mazda, which isn't the case with the Hyundai.
Read the complete 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT VS 2013 Mazda3 Hatchback comparison at AutoGuide.com.
 

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As anyone can see from reading the article, both cars have pro's and con's, and both cars sort of pick up on where the other lacks. Deciding which one to buy, I think it all comes down to brand, styling & interior features.

Now if you're someone looking to do mods, the Mazda3 Hatchback will be much more mod-friendly.
 

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I agree with you on the mazda3 being more mod friendly. Seems like there are more aftermarket parts being made for the mazda than the elantra. For all the tuners its all about parts being ready and having different options to choose from.
 

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I agree with you on the mazda3 being more mod friendly. Seems like there are more aftermarket parts being made for the mazda than the elantra. For all the tuners its all about parts being ready and having different options to choose from.
Yup! Mazda's, especially the Mazda3 are cars made for tuners. It's expected that no matter what generation the mazda3 is in, there be aftermarket parts for them.

Already i'm seeing brand new Mazda3's modded with wheels, tinted tails, and even some aero bits.

Elantra's are slowly stepping into the performance world, NOW tuners have an Elantra to work with, unlike in the past.
 
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