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Is the new Hyundai Avante the new standard to meet, or will the Mazda3 Sedan and Toyota Corolla Altis still prove to be compelling choices?

26 Jan 2021


The new Hyundai Avante is the most recently launched model in the highly competitive and popular sedan segment. When we reviewed it late last year, we found it to be mighty impressive, though it was priced a higher than its competitor models. And in this segment, every cent counts. 

Now, its 2021. How does it stack up against its two key rivals - the Mazda3 Sedan and the Toyota Corolla Altis?

Visual pleasure

The Hyundai Avante is the most visually attention grabbing, although I'm not convinced that's a good thing.

The Mazda3 is certainly the prettiest car of the lot
The overall design is very busy, with lots of sharp lines and bold angles. I'm not sold on how it looks, though some may appreciate its bold design that certainly breaks away from 'traditional' aesthetics.

While it has been sharpened slightly, the Altis is still expectedly inoffensive and pleasant to look at. Yes, it's admittedly not very exciting to look it, but that hasn't stopped it from being the best selling car in the world. 

However, the pick of the bunch, without doubt, is the Mazda3. With its clean design, flowing lines and elegant looks, it's easily the best-looking of the lot. 

Interior quality

The Avante has an extensive range of equipment and features, including wireless Apple CarPlay
Slide into the Avante, and you're immediately struck by the sheer wealth of equipment. Ventilated seats, electric front seats with memory function, a fully digital dashboard, wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity via the infotainment system, there's a ton of stuff inside the car. It's also spacious - it's got ample rear legroom, and the largest boot of the three at 474 litres. 

The Altis and Mazda3 are both simpler affairs. The Altis is fairly straight forward - yes there's a LCD screen within the dashboard, and a reasonable infotainment system, but beyond that there's not much else equipment-wise. It is reasonably spacious, with good rear legroom and a 470-litre boot, and has the best air-con of the three.

The Altis is simple yet effective - it's got the strongest and coldest air-con
The Mazda3, while not quite as extensively equipped as the Avante, feels the most premium of the three cars. There's plenty of supple leather across multiple touch points. The infotainment system, while not touchscreen, is the most sleek-looking and intuitive to operate. And, in this Astina trim you also get a premium Bose sound system. However, it is definitely the least spacious of the three - the other two have notably more legroom, and the Mazda's 444-litre boot is the smallest. 

If it's premium quality you're after, the Mazda is the easy choice. But if you value space, features and equipment, then the Avante is better endowed.

Driving delight

The Avante has a suite of assistance systems, including lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control
On the road, all three cars are comfortable, pliant, and certainly easy to live with every day.

The Mazda is the least punchy of the three. The 1.5-litre engine, with 118bhp and 153Nm of torque, feels like it has to work the hardest to get the car up to speed (the Mazda is the heaviest of the three cars). However, the Mazda is delightful to drive - the ride is smooth, the suspension well-judged, and the steering meaty.

The Altis is light on its feet, powered by a 1.6-litre engine that puts out 129bhp and 159Nm of torque. It's easy to pilot and the suspension is nice and supple, but there is noticeable dead travel during initial application of the brakes. It did however clock the best fuel economy of the three cars.

All three cars deliver similarly refined and easy-going driving experiences
The Avante uses a 1.6-litre engine with 121bhp and 154Nm of torque. It feels the quickest, and that's because it is quite a bit lighter than the other two cars (105kg lighter than the Toyota, and 187kg lighter than the Mazda). The car feels agile and light, and the stiffer body and well-sorted suspension means that there's excellent body control through bends.

Truth be told, there's not terribly much separating the three cars. Unless you're looking very closely, the three all deliver similarly pleasing and refined driving experiences. I'd pick the Avante by a hair, just because its low speed pick up is a tad better.

Value sense

If it's sheer quality and style you're after, the Mazda3 is the most premium choice
There is one other key thing to know about the Avante - at $101,999 (as of 25 January 2021), it is now the cheapest of the three cars, even in its highest specification trim. Part of this is because of the adjustment in VES rebates for 2021. And considering what you're getting with the car, that's just incredible value for money.

Buyers may still gravitate to the Altis because of the brand (and the reliability that is rightfully associated with it), but compared to the Avante and the Mazda3, the Altis feels slightly under-equipped.

With its high equipment levels, refined drive and excellent value for money, the new Hyundai Avante is the class leader right now
If you want the prettiest and most premium-feeling car, then the Mazda3 is for you. However, that premium experience also comes at a dearer cost (about $8,000 more than the Avante).

If you like the way it looks, or can look past it if you don't, then the Avante is a no-brainer. It's spacious, practical, laden with equipment, and there's little to fault about the way it drives.

And if you don't like how it looks? Well, you should get over it anyway, because considering the value that you're getting, the new Hyundai Avante is the standard bearer in this segment right now.

Car Information

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Promotion
There's a promotion for Hyundai Avante

Price

: $104,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC

Engine Cap

:

1598cc

Horsepower

:

90kW (121 bhp) / 6300 rpm

Torque

:

154 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

IVT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

10.4sec

Top Speed

:

195km/h

Fuel consumption

:

18.5 km/L

spacer
Promotion
There's a promotion for Mazda 3 Sedan Mild Hybrid

Price

: $107,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC SKYACTIV-G

Engine Cap

:

1496cc

Horsepower

:

88kW (118 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

153 Nm / 4000 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

11.9sec

Top Speed

:

200km/h

Fuel consumption

:

18.1 km/L

spacer
Promotion
There's a promotion for Toyota Corolla Altis

Price

: $110,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Dual VVT-i

Engine Cap

:

1598cc

Horsepower

:

96kW (129 bhp) / 6400 rpm

Torque

:

159 Nm / 4200 rpm

Transmission

:

CVT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

-

Top Speed

:

190km/h

Fuel consumption

:

15.6 km/L

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