2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Mazda 6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Jetta GLI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Jetta GLI has a standard backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Compared to metal, the Jetta GLI’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda 6 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Jetta GLI and the Mazda 6 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Jetta GLI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The 6’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Jetta GLI’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Mazda 6’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 12 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Jetta GLI’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Mazda 6’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

The Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 41 more horsepower (228 vs. 187) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 186) than the Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is faster than the Mazda 6 (automatics tested):

Jetta GLI

Mazda6

Mazda6 Turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

7.3 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.8 sec

20.9 sec

16 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

7.5 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15.8 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

89 MPH

97 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta GLI gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 6 Grand Turbo (25 city/32 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta GLI Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta GLI higher (7 out of 10) than the Mazda 6 (3 to 7). This means the Jetta GLI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Mazda 6 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Jetta GLI offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is optional on the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 6.

The Jetta GLI offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Jetta GLI

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 Turbo

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

10.9 inches

10.9 inches

The Jetta GLI’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Mazda 6 are solid, not vented.

The Jetta GLI stops much shorter than the Mazda 6:

Jetta GLI

Mazda 6

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Jetta GLI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 6 Sport’s standard 55 series tires. The Jetta GLI’s tires are lower profile than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Jetta GLI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Mazda 6 Sport.

Suspension and Handling

The Jetta GLI offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Mazda 6’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition handles at .95 G’s, while the Mazda 6 Signature pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Mazda 6.

The Jetta GLI is 7.5 inches shorter than the Mazda 6, making the Jetta GLI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Jetta GLI has .1 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Mazda 6.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Jetta GLI and the Mazda 6 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Jetta GLI is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mazda 6 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the Jetta GLI the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Mazda 6 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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

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