2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 6’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 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Mazda 6 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 and rearview cameras.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Mazda 6 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 6’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.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Mazda 6’s reliability 25 points higher than the Jetta.

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 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (187 vs. 147) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 103 more horsepower (250 vs. 147) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda 6 is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

 

Mazda6

Mazda6 Turbo

Jetta

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

n/a

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

6.4 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.8 sec

n/a

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

14.9 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.1 MPH

97 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Jetta doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Mazda 6 has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (16.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Mazda 6 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta.

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Mazda 6 has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Jetta doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 6’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Jetta:

 

Mazda6

Mazda6 Turbo

Jetta

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

10.9 inches

10.9 inches

10.8 inches

The Mazda 6 stops much shorter than the Jetta:

 

Mazda 6

Jetta

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 6 has larger tires than the Jetta (225/55R17 vs. 205/60R16).

The Mazda 6 Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta’s standard 60 series tires. The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 6 Sport has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Jetta. The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Mazda 6 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Volkswagen Jetta has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Mazda 6 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Mazda 6 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Mazda 6 flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 6’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the Jetta (111.4 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 6 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Jetta.

The Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta SEL (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Jetta doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Mazda 6 a Mid-size car, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.

The Mazda 6 has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta (99.7 vs. 94.7).

The Mazda 6 has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity

The Mazda 6 has a larger trunk than the Jetta (14.7 vs. 14.1 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Mazda 6’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Jetta’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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.

Consumer Reports rated the Mazda 6’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Jetta’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature’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.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 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.

The Mazda 6 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium.

Both the Mazda 6 and the Jetta offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Jetta doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 6 and the Volkswagen Jetta, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The Jetta has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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