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Mazda MAZDA3, Volkswagen Rabbit, Car Comparisons, Hatchback
#1 of 389 Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit, auto & manual
Jul 08, 2006 (11:29 am)
Starting this as I think its a closer comparison than Edmund's 3 vs Civic, or vs a Fit or Accord as listed below.
I'm hoping to find comparison road tests by car mags and hope to get Edmund's to do it, if they already haven't! Sedan and/or Sport 3...
#2 of 389 Re: Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit, auto & manual [dougjp]
Jul 10, 2006 (6:24 am)
I have a 2006 Mazda 3 - i Touring and hate it. As soon as I get some cash saved up, I'm going to trade for an 07 Rabbit. I test drove the Rabbit and it's much more solid and quiet than the Mazda. I'm disappointed in the general feel of the Mazda. It feels very "cheap" compared to the VW. Also, huge amounts of road noise. German engineering is the way to go...no more Japanese cars for me. They just can't compare to the feel of a German car.
#3 of 389 Re: Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit, auto & manual [jmnapp]
Jul 10, 2006 (12:01 pm)
"German engineering is the way to go...no more Japanese cars for me. They just can't compare to the feel of a German car."
Nor can VW compete with the Japanese in regards to reliability. It is clearly give and take. Having recently owned a VW (Jetta) and now owning a Mazda 3i Touring I do not completely agree with your assessment that the Mazda is cheap. The interior fit and finish, to me, is very good and the car handles very well and is a blast to drive. But the 3i Touring is also $1500-1700 dollars cheaper and also gets better MPG 28/35(city/highway) to 22/30 than the Rabbit. Now I have not driven the new Golf, umm, I mean Rabbit yet but based on my previous Jetta I would not doubt that the vehicle has slightly better fit and finish and is quieter. But you should really look through all the Jetta, Golf, and Passat problem boards also. In my case, I ended up having to pay (out of pocket) for rental cars for approximately 30 days while my VW was in the shop for various repairs over the period of 2.5 years. It simply was no longer reliable and left me stranded high and dry on numerous occasions. I liked the car overall, but became so frustrated with its reliability and VW's customer service (I tried having my car serviced at three different local dealers and all three were horribly run and very arrogant) that I sold it early from a three year lease.
My advice to you is to wait at least a year to see what the reliability is on the Rabbit. Even though the Mazda 3 has strong resale value, you must be taking a hit on such a quick sale and it might be best to hold it awhile longer. For the money, I would also look closely at the Honda Civic and both Toyota and Hyundai are coming out with new a new Corolla and a new Elantra. Might get very interesting over the next year or so.
#4 of 389 mazda 3 vs rabbit
Jul 20, 2006 (3:22 am)
I have a mazda 3 five door touring, and recently drove the new Rabbit. The VW drive train was less responsive, the seats worse, and it was obvious they cut corners to keep the price down. The Mazda is more refined.
#5 of 389 Former VW owner here
Jul 21, 2006 (8:55 pm)
In January I traded in my 2001 VW Golf (which I liked but got bored with) for 2006 Mazda 3 hatch, 5-speed. I LOVE the Mazda beyond words. It's solid, smooth, comfortable, remarkably roomy for a fairly small car, agile and quick. Of course, my Golf was the base model with the 2.0 engine, which has now been mercifully put to sleep, so the new Rabbit will be closer to the 3 in performance.
VW has made a specialty of giving its cars more upscale-looking interiors than you'd expect for their size/price class, and are probably still a notch ahead of Mazda in that department, but my VW was also prone to annoying little problems -- pieces of interior trim coming unglued in hot weather, warning lights mysteriously coming on for no reason, stuff like that. While I haven't owned my current Mazda long enough to say much about reliability, it's trouble free so far, and 2 Mazdas I owned in the '80s -- both of which had about 80,000 miles when I traded them -- were absolutely trouble-free. I mean literally no repairs. Zero.
Ultimately you'll have to drive both and see which suits you, but my Mazda 3 is easily my favorite car of any I've owned.
#6 of 389 Re: Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit, auto & manual [jmnapp]
Jul 23, 2006 (6:43 pm)
I'd wait on the reliability reports on the rabbit first. I had an 02 jetta vr6. bought it in 2002 knowing how unreliable jetta/golf are, but the styling and overall package really impressed me. I had to take a massive loss only a year and half later, traded it in for a toyota 4 runner. completely diff car, yes. I also now have a Mazda 3. love it. yes, the jetta was quieter, but it was much more expensive. I only paid 20 for the m3, taxes and all, with sport and 2.3. my jetta was in the shop every other month, with the radio dying twice, window glitches, shakes all over the place, engine problems that NEVER got resolved (I had to drive around w/o a radio and only on 4 of 6 cylinders while they ordered the parts, etc, and tended to god knows how many others with similar problems for 2 MONTHS one time! So, I finally got sick of it and got rid of it.) I would wait for the reliability report. you don't need the headache of owning a nice looking/performing car that needs mechanics every other month. And, the service sucked. Probably because they were overworked and had to deal with so many unhappy customers.
#7 of 389 Re: Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit, auto & manual [jaesee75edmund]
Jul 24, 2006 (5:27 am)
wow, jaesee75edmund, we had almost the exact same experience (I owned a 99.5 Jetta VR6 that had nearly the same, if not more, problems that you had).
I now own a Mazda3, and love the car. I recently drove a VW Rabbit (4dr auto) and, while I liked the interior, there is no comparison between the Mazda3 and the VW when it comes to performance and handling. The VW's electronic power assisted steering feels numb compared to the 3's handling. Like you though, my biggest concern for folks cross shopping these vehicles would be VW's previous reliability issues with the Golf/Jetta (both cars share many of the same parts).
I think that VW missed the boat by not offering the TDI engine in this car until 2008. If the Rabbit could achieve 40mpg highway, it would have stole sales away from the likes of Mazda, Toyota, and Honda.
My advice to anyone shopping these two vehicles is to drive them back-to-back. There is simply no comparison with regards to the driving experience, the 3 blows the Rabbit away (unless you like numb steering and roll when cornering)....
#8 of 389 Mazda3 Vs. Rabbitt Price
Jul 24, 2006 (2:52 pm)
I just priced out a Mazda3 S Touring 5-door with the moon roof/6CD package in 5-speed Vs. the VW Rabbit 4-door hatch with side impact airbags, sun roof and 17" alloys.
Mazda $19,065 MSRP
VW $20,329 MSRP
That's quite a difference in price. Take it as you wish.
Jul 24, 2006 (3:12 pm)
I test drove both cars and thought they were rather similar. Both handled well, and both were my two top choices. I ended up with the rabbit because I liked the look of the hatch better on the rabbit than the mazda, and I also liked the interior better. The rabbit was also available with the extra options that I wanted at the dealer. Unlike what many people have said, the people at my VW dealer were very nice and helpful with my questions and the purchase, so that did not factor into my decision. I've had the car for about a month now and have had no problems it, and am quite pleased with my decision.
#10 of 389 Re: mazda vs vw [clownfishfunk]
Jul 24, 2006 (4:44 pm)
"Unlike what many people have said, the people at my VW dealer were very nice and helpful with my questions and the purchase, so that did not factor into my decision."
I did not have a problem with the VW sales team. I had a problem with the service department and customer service.
I do like the fact that you drove the 3 and the Rabbit and picked the vehicle that was best for you. It would be a boring world if everyone drove nothing but Rabbits or nothing but 3s.. Choice is a good thing