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Mazda MAZDA3, Volkswagen Rabbit, Car Comparisons, Hatchback
#215 of 389 Comparison between the 3 and VW
Apr 13, 2007 (11:05 am)
THIS IS A COMPARISON:
Build Quality -
Both cars seem pretty even when looking at the build quality. Fit and finish were excellent and the VW appears to have only a slight edge.
Ride Quality -
Both cars offer very good Ride quality. Some would say that the VW is more refined, and that may be true to an extent but I noticed that at moderate speeds on rough roads the VW felt less controlled and more bouncy. This is due to increased weight of the VW. The syspension on the 3 reacted a little faster and with less bounce. (Note: both cars were driven on the same roads, Delaers about 3/4 mile apart).
Road noise -
This is the one area where the rabbit had an edge over the 3. The interior noise is less in the VW as compared to the 3. Note: The 2007 Mazda 3 has additonal dampning material added and is considered much quieter that earlier years.
Driving Dynamics -
The steering response of the Mazda 3 felt much more positive than the VW and with far less body roll. I found the VW steering to require more effort to achieve the same result. The Braking of the 3 was far superior to the VW. Where the 3 has a nice even progression and control. The VW felt mushy and slower to respond.
Cornering / Handling -
There really is no comparison here. The Mazda 3 corners and responds to driver input so much better than the VW, and every other FWD C-segment car (Civic, Corolla, Sentra, Focus, etc). I have acutally driven all of them and can safely say that the Mazda 3 is the best handling 4 door C-segment car period. Note: The Mini Cooper is a subcompact W/ 2 doors and is not considered a C-segment car, thus it is excluded.
Both cars have very good interiors. As far as materials quality is concerned I would give an edge to the VW, particualarly the GTI. When it comes to appearance I personally prefered the look of the 3. It has a clean modern vibe to it that suits the exterior of the car well.
Inerior Comfort / Space -
This is where I had a problem with the VW. While I liked the power of the GTI. I could not get comfortable in the seats. They are too tightly bolstered and would probably be fine for a 150lb person. For me at 5'10 and 200 lbs, well forget about it. The Rabbit has a nice seat that is more comforable and fit my proprtions better. The Mazda 3 on the other hand has an excellent seat and appears to have been designed with long haul comfort. Layout of controls is similar in both cars and I would call that an even draw. The amount of usable space in the 3 hatchback is considerably larger than the VW. There is probably another 16-20" of additional space behind the rear seats. So if you plan on using this area then the 3 gets a nod for space.
Note: The Mazda 3 is almost a foot longer than the VW and yet it is 350-400 lbs lighter.
Sound System / Nav -
If you want a pretty decent factory sound system the Bose Audio option on the 3 is the way to go. The sound is smooth and I found it the be fairly balanced considering the little subwoofer under the front seat. The VW on the other hand has a horrible head unit. I don't know what VW was thinking when it came to the stereo. It is very harsh and employs soft clipping that gets worse as the volume is increased. Also the speaker placemet is bad where the main drive units are placed in the middle of the front doors. Some other factors to consider: The only way to get audiophile sound in this car is to replace the head unit, yes it is that bad. So in my opinion getting the factory Nav in the GTI is a waste fo money. Where on the 3 you can keep the factory head unit and using a high quailty impedance adators add separate amplifiers and quality speakers. Another plus for the 3 is that the Navagation system is separate from the audio system.
Maintainence / Reliability -
This is what scares me about the VW. They have a bad reputaion for reliability of particular concern being electrical problems. Where VW uses a Bosch ECU and many other electrical componets. The Mazda 3 utilizes a Denso ECU and Hitachi electrical componets. Note: Toyota aslo uses Deno and Hitachi. The long term mainatince schedule for the the VW is also much greater than that of the Mazda, with the GTI being even worse. The GTi uses a timing belt that has to be replaced at 60k - 80k miles. I went further than that and did a fair amount of internet research. The VW Rabbit and GTI have had numerous problems, too may to tell and basically the main reason I recended my offer to the dealer. While the Mazda 3 is not perfect it has a far greater track record and very good waranty ratings.
Everybody that their own unique requirements that they try to meet in making a car purchase decision. When comparing the 2007 Mazda 3 to the VW Rabbit the clear winner in
most catgories is the Mazda 3. I was looking for a cool comuter car (automatic) that both myself and my wife could drive. Since I already have a kick-ass sports car I didn't feel that I had make a purchasing decision based soley on performance but the car as whole. After almost a year of crawling over almost every new car out there to the point of annoying numerous sales people, (about 30 or more test drives). I came to my own conclusion that the 2007 Mazda 3 is best C-segment car currently available. It simply does so many things better than the competition...
#216 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [stallionre]
Apr 13, 2007 (12:43 pm)
Good summary! Thanks. One question, did your 3 come with a factory alarm system. If I'm not mistaken, the Mazda alarm does not protect against hood instrusions, whereas the VW does. The VW also has the highly visible blinking LED on the door sill. Just wondering if the Mazda can be fitted with an after-market security system.
#217 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [stallionre]
Apr 13, 2007 (12:47 pm)
What's your "kick-ass" sports car? (Sorry if you had mentioned this previously)
#218 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [stallionre]
Apr 13, 2007 (12:56 pm)
wow. Very through and through stal. But there are a few things that i'd like to mention;
since this is a rabbit vs. 3 thread, i'll leave the gti completely out of it. That said, i do feel the need to mention that aside from body roll, the gti and 3 put up similar numbers. And as far as speed itself goes...well vw certianly has the advantage when it comes to finding your 'fast'. Mid 8's 0-60 compared to the gti's 6.7-6.8 is not contest. (the last c/d comparo clocked the gti at a very VERY brisk 6.2 seconds! Thats mazdaspeed territory! ANd it was the four door which is 60lbs heavier!)
ANYWAY, as far as the mazda's handling goes, this has been covered many times. As it is the best in its class, its only by a small margin that it out manuvers other cars in its class.
As far as the civic goes, the base version keeps up fairly well, and the si will actually REALLY out handle it. But again thats a different class. (kind of)
As far as space goes, i do realize the hatch is a bit bigger in the 3, but you cant get it in a 2 door version. Thus the hatch is a premium model and can't cater to people who have a less than 18k budget. I think 20 inches is a bit of a stretch tho, yeah its bigger, but its no colossus of the hatchback world. Just wait for the vw sportwagen
The pay off is that the passenger in the rabbit, be it 2 or four door, don't feel as cramped in the backseat, the backseat of the 3 really is nothing to write home about, and i've had many buddies that are thankful that i got the rabbit over the 3 simply for the backseat space. Some would disagree, but i feel the opinion of people who don't frequent car sites like this and scrutinize square inches inside of a vehilce more of a reliable source for this kind of stuff.
The seats in the 3 are less agressive than in the rabbit and especially gti. I guess you wouldn't do well in an r32 or a ms3! I'm 5'8 and about 185, but the gti feels like a (comfortable) glove.
The mazda is lighter. Most japanese cars are; weight is a characteristic of all german vehicles. Loose a little nimbleness; gain a lot of security and sure-footedness. Thats how i can some up the feel between the two. I'll take the latter. Funny how the 3 has a tendency to get around the same milage if not just a TAD bit better than the rabbit; with all the things going for it (4 cyl, 2.3 as oppossed to a 2.5, all aluminum, lighter chassis) you'd expect it to do better/
while the 3 is a bit quicker than the rabbit, the rabbit's engine is being retuned for 2008: up 20 hp and 7lbs of torque and a lot of it is top end power which should help its quickness on more than just off the line. This should put it about as fast as the 3. (remember its still plump!)
as far as the stereo goes, any car that comes with a name brand system is going to sound great. The rabbits stereo has many speakers and i think it sounds great for stock. The head unit is very powerful, but you also have to realize that the bose is an option, and only standard on the most expensive 3. Is a factor stereo really worth it? No not really, at least not to justify the expense. I'll just go aftermarket thanks.
As far as maintanence goes, i think the mazda does have the favor in this; its cheaper to maintain, german cars are just expensive to service. Reliability is also in favor of the 3, but you also have to realize that everyone here is seeing you post that the rabbit has had numerous problems, when you are in fact talking about the previous generation golf; when you say rabbit, they think mkV. Even though I understand what you are talking about, others may not.
As a matter of fact, the mazda 3 has more problems documented on this site than the mkV rabbit does. The mkIV is another story...although you do hear about more people talking ABOUT poor reliability than actuall problems. But that is another discussion entirely. the 3 has a better track record maybe, but its also been out longer. Funny thing is, at 15 k, i hade more 'issues' with my civic than my bunny. (50k is awaited anxiously.)
although everyone does have different needs an opinions, there can never really be a 'clear' winner. (although by saying that, we all know who you are rooting for. ) Case in point; have you read the latest econo car comparo in car and driver? The Rabbit was 1st place, beating even the 2nd place Mazda 3 (and it was a 2.3 w/leather) and 3rd place civic.
Good thoughts though!
#219 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [bodble2]
Apr 13, 2007 (1:23 pm)
My 3 came with a factory Alarm and engine immobilize, However, I am making many mods on the car, including installing an LED on the dash and rear dash of the car for an intrusion alarm.
#220 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [bodble2]
Apr 13, 2007 (1:25 pm)
No problem, I have the '07 M3S GT Sedan, 5-speed sport auto trans, fully loaded. I am making many mods to it and will be ready this summer. That will set me back about $15K, but will be fun to do.
#221 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [stallionre]
Apr 13, 2007 (1:33 pm)
geez stal 15k? What are you going to do to it that wont make you wonder why you didnt just get a mazdaspeed 3?
Or is this going to be all cosmetic?....
#222 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [eldaino]
Apr 13, 2007 (1:34 pm)
Your right about the weight, and I like your write up a lot. Thanks for sharing. It took me a while to write this to make sure I get my fact and opinions right. I also didn't want to offend anyone.
#223 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [eldaino]
Apr 13, 2007 (1:37 pm)
I am re doing the entire inside and out. I want to make this car like a wanna-b race car. However, I want to install new racing spring, lifts, engine mods about $5K with that, Kick ass killer sound system say, 500 watts or more, DVD, 50 pack CD changer, Chrome accents, etc.
THIS WILL BE MY TOY!!!
#224 of 389 Re: Comparison between the 3 and VW [stallionre]
Apr 13, 2007 (1:37 pm)
don't worry about it man, we all make mistakes. (you should have seen me in the fit forums when i first joined!)
We all need brushing up every once in awhile! Your cool dude, no worries.