On this episode of TFLcar’s Hot or Not series, we test not one, but two vehicles. On paper, they are about as different as two cars can be, but as you will see, they are much closer in the real world.
The two cars in question are the 2017 Mazda3 and the 2017 BMW i3. Their only similarity might just be the “3” in their model names. The Mazda3 is an economy-minded compact sedan that uses Mazda’s SkyActiv philosophy of reduced weight and improved engine efficiency to improve MPGs, while the i3 is an electric car that, for 2017, now has a 650cc engine whose sole responsibility is to charge the battery when it gets low.
The Mazda makes 184 hp and 185 lb-ft out of its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In the test car, it puts power to the front wheels though a six-speed manual transmission. The i3 makes 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque out of its electric motor, which is in the back powering the rear wheels. Fuel economy is also similar, at least when the i3 is using its engine to charge the batteries. The i3 is rated at 111 MPGe, but 35 MPG when the gas engine is running. The Mazda3 gets 25 MPG city, 34 MPG highway and 29 MPG combined.
The power may be very similar, but the price is not. The MSRP for the i3 is $54,695, but the Mazda3’s MSRP is $26,880, or less than half the price. Incentives can bring the i3’s price down, but it’s still nowhere near the Mazda’s price.
TFL’s race driver, Paul Gerrard, took both cars around our test track at IMI Motorsports Park in Dacono, Co. To find out how they did (it might surprise you) and to find out if they are either hot or not, watch the full video above.