2019 Mazda 3 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Mazda 3 offers optional Rear Smart Brake Support that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Jetta doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Mazda 3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Jetta doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Jetta doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Mazda 3 offers an optional 360-Degree Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta only offers a rear monitor.

The Mazda 3 =’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Jetta doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Mazda 3 and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Mazda 3 comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Mazda will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Jetta.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Mazda 3’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Jetta’s camshafts. If the Jetta’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 39 more horsepower (186 vs. 147) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 3 Premium/Hatchback/AWD’s fuel efficiency. The Jetta doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Transmission

The Mazda 3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 3 AWD’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Jetta:

 

Mazda 3 AWD

Jetta

Front Rotors

11.61 inches

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (215/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The Mazda 3’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 3 offers optional 18-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Jetta (107.3 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Jetta.

For better maneuverability, the Mazda 3’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Jetta’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda 3 Sedan is 9.5 inches shorter than the Jetta, making the Mazda 3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Mazda 3 Sedan has 1.2 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Jetta.

Ergonomics

The Mazda 3 Premium has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and warning light readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Jetta doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Mazda 3 Premium’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

When the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Jetta’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Mazda 3 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Model Availability

The Mazda 3 comes in sedan and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Volkswagen Jetta isn’t available as a four door hatchback.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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