Mazda Vs. Toyota: Here’s Why Many Say Mazda Is Better

Mazda Vs. Toyota: Here’s Why Many Say Mazda Is Better

If you’ve searched online for “Mazda vs. Toyota” via Reddit, Google, or elsewhere, you’ll find plenty of takes on why one of these Japanese automakers is better, or why you should buy one brand of car over the other.

But these two historic rivals have recently teamed up in a strategic alliance or partnership, with Toyota and Mazda both taking minority stakes in each other’s companies and committing to the joint development of electrified vehicle platforms and more.

The two carmakers also formed the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) facility, and Mazda recently extended its private label finance agreement with Toyota Motor Credit Corporation.

Still, while Mazda and Toyota are closer than ever, they’re distinct automakers that develop vehicles entirely separately, and continue to take vastly different approaches to designing and engineering their cars.

And, with Mazda finding a place in the market as of late that’s somewhere between mainstream and premium, it’s now a competitor to not only Toyota but luxury arm, Lexus, too.

So, Toyota vs. Mazda: which brand is better?

Why Mazda Over Toyota?

We’ve conducted Mazda vs. Toyota model comparisons, with many more on the way, and while we’re much more fond of Mazda cars and SUVs, the truth is there are plenty of good reasons you might choose one brand or competing model over the other.

We turned to Reddit and found that many of the same reasons we prefer Mazda over Toyota are shared with other Mazda drivers in the r/Mazda subreddit community.

Redditor u/DontBeAJerkYaJerk asked, “Mazda vs. Toyota, why Mazda?” Others answered with their reasoning:

1. “Ergonomics and driving dynamics are waaayyyy better on Mazda, even the SUVs.”

2. “I owned a 2018 Mazda 6 until about a week ago when I was t-boned in a 3-car accident. I got a 2023 Camry XSE as a rental. Compared to my old 6, the Camry feels cheaper. Interior is boring and sort of bland, and the car doesn’t feel like it has a personality. The Camry is no doubt a good car for getting a family from A to B. If that’s all you want, you can’t go wrong. But the 6 feels better. Better materials, better drive style. And much quieter…”

3. “Compare a CX-5 at any trim level vs. a RAV4. Way more features for the price, way nicer interior, AWD standard, and built in Japan only. My aunt recently looked at both of them, and she ended up buying a base model CX-5 that was $6.5k cheaper than a comparable RAV4 that she wouldn’t even test drive because she hated the driver’s seat so much after sitting in it…”

4. “As a Toyota enthusiast and technician. Mazda. You get so much more for your money and the fit and finish and general feeling of quality of a Mazda makes you think you’re in a higher-end car compared to Toyota. If I had to buy a NEW car it would definitely be a Mazda again.”

5. “Mazda designs beautiful cars that exude quality, have enjoyable performance at a reasonable price. No one will ever accuse Mazda of building cookie-cutter point A to B appliances. We love our Mazdas!”

6. “Interior quality, dealer markups on Toyotas, no CVTs.”

Some didn’t hold back:

7. “Toyota to me is by far the most overrated car company out there. I get the reliability is what sells them but then that’s also it, there’s nothing else about them that stands out. The styling is bland.”

8. “Do you want to drive a refrigerator or a Mazda?”

So, to summarize so far: why Mazda over Toyota?

9. “Whispers: zoom zoom.”

Toyota vs. Mazda: A Toss-Up?

To be fair, some Redditors in the r/Mazda subreddit see merits in both brands or give reasons one might choose a Toyota over a Mazda:

10. “The Toyotas I drove felt like I had to compromise general niceness for perceived quality and potential reliability. Toyota interiors have always felt particularly austere, and that just doesn’t appeal to me. I was really unimpressed by the ride quality too. I get that if a car is nothing but an appliance to you, it would be a great choice.”

11. “I will admit that Toyota is way better for hybrid vehicles because Mazda just hasn’t been focusing on making them. So if you’re looking for a hybrid for better gas mileage Toyota is absolutely the way to go.”

(One note here: the Mazda CX-50 Hybrid utilizes a Toyota hybrid system, and more Mazda-developed hybrids are on the way.)

12. “I love Toyota cars, they are truly great, but Mazda is like the poor man’s luxury car brand, it feels great, it drives great (especially the driving part), it feels very luxurious based on its price ranges, and it’s very reliable as well. I vote Mazda on this one.”

13. “Mazda for the exterior design and interior quality. Toyota is more spacious and has a better powertrain for A to B if you buy a hybrid (non-hybrids are not worth considering).”

14. “Toyota wants you to buy a Lexus to get a quiet ride and premium interior. Mazda doesn’t have a luxury brand, so they’re not tempted to omit things like sound dampening or making an attractive console. Toyota has other things going for them though, and I think it’s great the two companies are getting closer.”

So, if you’ve narrowed your next car purchase to either a Mazda or a Toyota, how do you make the final call?

15. “It’s mostly an emotional choice but at the end of the day, just choose the one you like (you will know which one resonates more with your soul) because no matter what we tell you here, we are not you, so we don’t know what will make you happier :)”

For other Mazda comparisons, reviews, news, and more, join the MazdaMotoring newsletter below:

Never miss a Mazda when you sign up for our email list:

Mazda vs. Toyota: Frequently Asked Questions

Mazda vs. Toyota reliability: which is better?

Toyota and Mazda are neck-and-neck in most reliability studies these days. While Toyota has historically held a higher reliability score, Mazda has matched and occasionally surpassed Toyota in reliability in recent years, according to studies from Consumer Reports and others. Both brands produce quality-built, dependable vehicles, so reliability shouldn’t be the main factor when choosing between the two.

Which is better: Mazda or Toyota?

In any Mazda vs. Toyota brand or model comparison, the determining factor depends on a driver’s preferences. Toyota still holds top marks due to its reputation for reliability and building simple cars well. Mazda tends to produce more stylish, sporty, and engaging cars and SUVs but is also building a reputation for quality interiors and reliable performance.

Does Toyota own Mazda?

Toyota does not own Mazda. However, Toyota does hold a minority stake in Mazda Motor Corporation. The two automakers have formed a strategic alliance or partnership of sorts, with Mazda also taking a small stake in the much larger Toyota corporation. The brands operate the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) facility together but are separate companies with different ownership structures.