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The Mazda 6 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 GLI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
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 GLI 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 GLI only offers a rear monitor.
Both the Mazda 6 and the Jetta GLI 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.
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 “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta GLI has not been tested, yet.
Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the 6 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Jetta GLI. 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 GLI ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Mazda 6’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Jetta GLI’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
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.
The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 22 more horsepower (250 vs. 228) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 258) than the Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Jetta GLI 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 GLI (16.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Mazda 6 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta GLI.
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 GLI doesn’t offer an up-shift light.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The Jetta GLI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The Mazda 6 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Jetta GLI’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 6’s wheelbase is 5.8 inches longer than on the Jetta GLI (111.4 inches vs. 105.6 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 GLI.
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 GLI doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Mazda 6 a Mid-size car, while the Jetta GLI is rated a Compact.
The Mazda 6 has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta GLI (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 GLI.
The Mazda 6 has a larger trunk than the Jetta GLI (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. The Jetta GLI’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature 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 Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Mazda 6 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Mazda 6’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 GLI has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the Mazda 6 and the Jetta GLI offer available heated front seats. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Jetta GLI.
On extremely cold winter days, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Both the Mazda 6 and the Jetta GLI 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 GLI doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mazda 6 has a standard Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The Mazda 6 Signature’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Jetta GLI’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda 6, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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