2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support optional in the CX-3 as “Superior.” The Golf SportWagen scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the CX-3 and the Golf SportWagen 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 all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-3 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 90 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf SportWagen was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

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The CX-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 Golf SportWagen.

Reliability

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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 CX-3’s reliability 30 points higher than the Golf SportWagen.

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’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda 4 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the CX-3 gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen:

 

 

CX-3

Golf SportWagen

 

FWD

 

n/a

25 city/34 hwy

1.8 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

 

2.0 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

29 city/34 hwy

24 city/33 hwy

1.8 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

4WD

 

n/a

22 city/32 hwy

1.8 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

 

2.0 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

27 city/32 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

1.8 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

Transmission

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

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

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the CX-3 AWD’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf SportWagen:

 

CX-3 AWD

Golf SportWagen

Front Rotors

11.6 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the CX-3 has larger tires than the Golf SportWagen (215/60R16 vs. 195/65R15).

The CX-3 Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf SportWagen S’ standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-3 Sport has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf SportWagen S. The CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Golf SportWagen SEL.

Suspension and Handling

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The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Golf SportWagen S pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Golf SportWagen’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

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The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

The CX-3 is 11.3 inches shorter than the Golf SportWagen, making the CX-3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the CX-3 Touring AWD is quieter than the Golf SportWagen SE (39 vs. 40 dB).

Ergonomics

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The CX-3 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the CX-3 Grand Touring, the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer memory seats.

The CX-3 Grand Touring has 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 Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the CX-3 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Golf SportWagen only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-3’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Golf SportWagen’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the CX-3 has standard extendable sun visors. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer extendable visors.

On extremely cold winter days, the CX-3 Grand Touring’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

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IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-3 will be $12 to $3018 less than for the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

The Mazda CX-3 has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

CX-3

Golf SportWagen

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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