2020 Mazda 3 vs. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/06/02

The Mazda 3 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Jetta doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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’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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 3 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

© 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 2020/06/02

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the Mazda3 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Jetta. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Jetta ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Mazda 3’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Jetta’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

© 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 2020/06/02

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.

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 3’s reliability 20 points higher than the Jetta.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 27th.

Engine

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

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda 3 is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (manual transmissions tested):

Mazda3

Jetta

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

87.3 MPH

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda 3 is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

Mazda3

Jetta

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.6 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/06/02

An engine control system that can shut down some 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

© 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 2020/06/02

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

© 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 2020/06/02

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

The Mazda 3 stops much shorter than the Jetta:

Mazda 3

Jetta

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/06/02

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

The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s 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 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium has standard 18-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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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.

The Mazda 3 Premium Hatchback AWD handles at .88 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 3 Premium Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta SEL (26.7 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

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

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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

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

Ergonomics

© 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 2020/06/02

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 Mazda 3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Mazda 3’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Jetta’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

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’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to 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

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

Economic Advantages

© 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 2020/06/02

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 3 is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because it costs $127 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 3 than the Jetta, including $401 less for a water pump, $305 less for a muffler, $354 less for a starter, $155 less for fuel injection, $202 less for front struts, $141 less for a timing belt/chain and $20 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/06/02

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda 3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volkswagen Jetta isn't recommended.

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

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