1966stang New Reader
8/30/11 5:07 p.m.

So my son (18 years old) and i are having a debate....having driven and autocrossed and played with both of these...my son says the Mazda three is a much bettter driving car, I like the Mini (non S) better.

What say you all?

Javelin SuperDork
8/30/11 5:23 p.m.

Mazdaspeed3 Gen1 > MS3 Gen2 > MINI S Turbo > MINI S S/C > Mazda3 Gen2 2.5 > Mazda3 Gen1 2.3 > Mazda3 2.0 > MINI N/A

1966stang New Reader
8/30/11 5:40 p.m.


mtn SuperDork
8/30/11 5:43 p.m.

Let's watch the nationals results on Thursday and Friday. There is a single Mazda 3 up against the slew of MINI's. I've happened to co-drive that one, and I believe that the driver is definitely capable of bringing home a trophy in it.

Having never driven a MINI, I think that I would like the MINI better. I was not a fan of the 3.

EDIT (And so you don't think that age is the factor here, I am only 21)

Javelin SuperDork
8/30/11 5:48 p.m.

In reply to mtn:

A car's standings in SCCA's "stock" parking lot racing class is not conducive as to whether or not it's the better driving car. Examples: Shelby GT was an idiotically expensive sticker & spring package, the plain GT was better. Miata R-Package was universally reviled by everybody but racers, the M-Edition or regular ones were better.

I have driven all of the above listed 3's and MINI's, and that's what I feel the order is in reality.

sergio New Reader
8/30/11 7:27 p.m.

The Mini has querky dash. BMW parts cost and insurance. The 3 is your typical Japanese car. And the ricer crowd.

clutchsmoke Reader
8/30/11 7:44 p.m.
sergio wrote: The Mini has querky dash. BMW parts cost and insurance. The 3 is your typical Japanese car. And the ricer crowd.

What ricer crowd?? That demographic has not embraced the Mazda3. At least not from what I've seen. Who cares anyway?

mndsm SuperDork
8/30/11 7:48 p.m.

I have both. Of course, both of my current ones are FI. I have had the mz3 n/a for a while and also a non S cooper. Fun to drive? Cooper, all the way. Even non S cars are amazing to hoon around, if slower than my grandmother trolling garage sales. The mz3 will be quicker stock for stock, more comfortable on a day to day basis, more reliable/cheaper to maintain.... but won't be quite as good a "driver" in that respect, even though it carries as much HP as the Cooper S in n/a trim, and 100 more in Mazdaspeed trim. Fly to MPLS and i'll let you decide

93EXCivic SuperDork
8/30/11 9:23 p.m.

I haven't driven either but the new 3 is so dumb looking I want to punch myself in the balls everytime I see it and don't even mention the MS3. Then again the Countryman is pretty stupid looking.

Tyler H
Tyler H Dork
8/30/11 9:47 p.m.

Despite the sheiBe-eating grin, MS3 all the way.

Matt B
Matt B Dork
8/31/11 3:10 p.m.

"Better driving" how? I agree with mndsm - the normal mazda3 will be more comfy, faster, & more practical. I highly doubt it could hang with the mini in the twisties though, not to mention the connection you feel in those cars.

That said, they're both good cars, pick your poison.

Tyler - the mazdaspeed3 is awesome, but I don't think the OP is considering FI cars.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
8/31/11 3:15 p.m.

Base MINI vs. base Mazda3?

With kids, Mazda3. Without kids, MINI.

Without ego? Mazda2 and $6k spending money.

8/31/11 3:34 p.m.

Mazda three in driveway about 23k. Mini about 37k.

Welcome to Canada

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
8/31/11 4:05 p.m.

This is why car conversations are interesting......we all have our different take. I've driven all variants of the cars listed.

If it was me it would go in this order, with only fun to drive as the requirement. ( the 3 in any guise is more practical than the MINI) This is only applicable for manual transmission equipped cars:

1) Turbo MINI


3) MS3--- 1st Gen

4) MS3--- 2nd Gen (very similar driving, but ohh so ugly)

5) N/A Cooper ---- either generation

6) N/A Mazda 3 -- either gen

The MS3 is an awesomely fast car and a great deal for the $$ but it suffers from ridiculous torque steer, and a strange engine management system that reduces torque under some full throttle circumstances. (probably to battle the torque steer) Both F/I MINIs are amazingly rewarding to drive.

I'd actually rate the N/A MINI right on the heels of the MS3. The MINI is much more rewarding in the twisties, but the MS3 has such a huge power difference I can't ignore it.

I do love the Mazda 2 ------not as much as a N/A MINI, but for the price it is a great drive!

1966stang New Reader
9/1/11 5:34 a.m.

I'm trying to rationalize buying a MINI when I like it better I think...I've come close to buying a Mazda three a couple of times, last time I was looking for a car I ended up with a Miata instead of a three and haven't regretted it.

I am thinking of autocross, and I know I'm not a good enough driver to keep up in d stock, but H stock might be interesting...

That being said, i also like the turbo S better...

But the three is such a nice car it's hard to overlook. And my son and I enjoy having this little arguement.

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