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Mazdaspeed3 vs. VW V GTI vs. Civic Si

josh28josh28 Posts: 14
edited March 20 in Honda
We've got only 9 months before either of these hot-hatches make their appearance in the US. Let's start the comparison.

Considerations:
- Power (the 3 is rumored to have 220hp while the GTI has 200hp) and low-end torque
- Handling, chuckability, 60-0 (more important than power?)
- Reliability
- Space (a 3-door or a 5-door?)
- Standard Features (a full-size spare? heated mirrors?)
- Fuel Economy
- Safety
- Oh, yeah: Price

Anecdotally, I had a terrible experience with the reliability of my 1999.5 (Type IV) Jetta. Has VW improved its quality?

Your thoughts?
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Comments

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Just keep in mind that the Town Hall exists so people may share their opinions. He has his, you have yours.

    And try not to fly off the handle during an enjoyable debate.

    More popcorn, sushi or sauerbraten, anyone?

    :shades:

    Meade
  • The MS6 got the 2.3L turbo (274hp), and got AWD to handle the torque.
    1. Is it even feasible to make a MS3 with AWD? If so, they may use the same motor, though slightly detuned (240 hp?).
    2. If they had to stick to FWD (AWD cost prohibitive?), would they go with a 2.0L-turbo?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Anecdotally, I had a terrible experience with the reliability of my 1999.5 (Type IV) Jetta. Has VW improved its quality?

    Nope!

    http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0407/04/autos-198392.htm

    Take note of the rankings in the blue-shaded box. Mazda is just below average; VW is down with the bottom-feeders. Of course, this is a survey of new-vehicle quality, not long-term reliability. Want long-term reliability?

    http://money.cnn.com/2004/11/08/pf/autos/cr_auto_reliability/

    Again, look at the blue boxes (two of them, one for small cars and one for sedans). The Mazda3's in the "most reliable" category along with the Corolla and Civic; VW takes the entire "least reliable" small car list with three of its cars. VW also has a car on the sedans "least reliable" list.

    Wow. Seems like a no-brainer choice for reliability.

    Meade
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Every vehicle that I've owned was more reliable than 90% of the cars on the road today.

    Case in point:

    1975 VW Scirocco - 250,000 miles
    1987 VW Golf GT - 624,000 miles
    1997 VW Jetta Trek (still own) - 135K miles
    2003 VW Jetta Wolfsburg Edition - 47K miles.

    My secret? I have REGULAR maintenance done on them, either by myself or my mechanic. Coming from an aircraft maintenance background (in the US Air Force),
    I learned the importance of proper maintenance which I applied to every vehicle and power equipment I've owned since.

    VW's reliabilty ratings (on only a handful of items - whether it's the coil-related issue, oil burning (bad rings), etc), are a result of bad suppliers (65%), self-inflicted manufacturing issues (i.e. falling window regulators) (15%), and poor/inattentive drivers who do not properly maintain their vehicles (20%).

    Most people with their busy lifestyles nowadays usually don't take the time to make sure their vehicles are in good operating condition - with the worst culprits being those who lease their cars (which is why I make sure I buy my cars brand new - so I know the history of how they are driven) - these are the drivers who are most likely to neglect maintaining their vehicle (just jump in, turn the key, and drive), and the first to blame the manufacturer when something goes wrong. A recalled item due to a manufacturer's defect is one thing, but neglect is another thing entirely.

    For example, the sludge issue on VW's 1.8T engine was completely avoidable, even before the TSBs were issued requiring synthetic oil (which, IMHO, should have been the standard oil used in ANY turbocharged engine - If VW used it for the TDI's (diesels), they should have used it for all of their turbocharged engines right from the get-go).
    The issue of sludging in turbocharged engines has been around for a long time (case in point, the Chrysler 2.2 Liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engines of the 1980's were notorious for turbocharger failures due to oil sludging and coking in the critical turbocharger bearing area - resulting in excessive wear and their early demise).

    The fact of the matter is - the majority of people do not know how to operate a turbocharged vehicle - Here's a couple of guidelines to back up my argument:

    1) Before shutting off the engine after a high-speed drive, the engine should idle for about two minutes to allow the oil temperature to stabilize and cool down the turbo's bearing. If I had $10 for every person that didn't do this (about 90% of the turbo-driving public), I would be on the Forbes richest billionaires list.

    2) Do not exceed the manufacturer's guidelines for oil changes - if they recommend changing the oil at 5000 mile intervals, get it changed at or before 5000 miles, not 100, 200, or 1000 miles over the interval. Once again, If I had $10...(see item #1).

    As for the "street-car racing" set, these individuals seem to be good at installing lowered suspensions, loud exhausts, fancy engine mods, wings, spoilers, etc., but jugding by the amount of "slammed" vehicles on the roads these days, they don't seem to be good at performing basic automotive maintenance. As I cruise by these stranded vehicles driving one of my "unreliable" VW's, I shake my head and say to myself "That car may have broken down, but at least it looks cool..." But I digress....

    Bottom line - with any vehicle, you get out of it what you put into it. If people take the time to have the proper maintenance performed on their vehicles on a regular basis, more often than not (save for factory recalls), the vehicle will be reliable.

    And that logic applies whether you're driving VW's, Mazdas, Fords, Chevy's, Hondas, Toyotas, Lawn Tractors, etc....
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Bottom line - with any vehicle, you get out of it what you put into it. If people take the time to have the proper maintenance performed on their vehicles on a regular basis, more often than not (save for factory recalls), the vehicle will be reliable. And that logic applies whether you're driving VW's, Mazdas, Fords, Chevy's, Hondas, Toyotas, Lawn Tractors, etc....

    I agree with you in part, Tony. You're right about proper maintenance. But, if that's the case, then your argument seems to imply that most consumers of VWs seem to be less diligent than most consumers of Toyotas, otherwise why are VWs less reliable than Toyotas? In other words, why do some cars, like VW, happen to have customers, except for you, with such poor maintenance habits? I think we as consumers share some of the responsibility. As computer users we should install firewalls and diligently avoid spyware but that does not mean that Microsoft is not required to properly test their software before releasing it on the market for the public to use; otherwise, all those lapses in testing and consequent security holes will create endless headaches for their users. Are the users then to blame for poorly maintaining their software? Some automanufacturers appear to have made choices that have lowered the reliability and consequently the desirability of their wares.

    So as you can see, there is enough guilt to go around! ;)
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    You have just proved my point - like the old saying "it takes two to tangle..."

    I also believe that based on the driving habits of people I've observed these days (and I've seen plenty of them in my lifetime), I can safely say that there is a higher percentage of people who are less diligent in maintaining their cars (of ANY manufacturer, make or model) than those who are. Many factors play into this - busier lifestyles, longer working hours/commutes, compressed schedules. That being said, I've also observed many of these drivers talking on cell phones, putting on makeup, reading the paper, shaving - totally oblivious to what's going on. So if these drivers demonstrate the aforementioned traits I've just described, than I can conclude that regular preventive maintenance is not exactly high on their list of priorities. Therefore, when something goes wrong, they are quick to blame the dealer/manufacturer for all of their automotive-related problems instead of also taking into account whether their lack of personal responsibility also had a role (oops, I forgot that personal responsibility is not in vogue in today's age of litigation, my bad...).

    I guess I'm one of those rarities who strongly believes in personal responsibility. I take personal responsibility in making sure my vehicle is properly maintained. I'm on a first-name basis with every service manager and private mechanic that I deal with. They know I will take the necessary steps to make sure my vehicle is maintained, and they know what I expect of them - I expect integrity, high standards and results, not excuses. My clients expect the same of me in my professional life, and I deliver - otherwise I will be on the unemployment line. If I were the CEO of some of these automotive manufacturers, heads would definitely roll. But again, I digress....

    If people make an honest effort to maintain their vehicle and it still gives them problems, it's on the dealer/manufacturer. That being said, the biggest mistake I've seen drivers make time and again is (in their quest to feed their egos by being the first kid on the block to have the latest and greatest ) buying their car during their first one or two years of production. By doing so, these unfortunate people have volunteered to become beta testers for the automotive industry. I buy my cars during the last year or two of production (another one of my secrets to automotive longevity) - by that time most of the bugs have been worked out.

    BTW - Automotive maintenance and collective guilt is a pretty good discussion. Thanks one and all...
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    A lot of good points raised which I agree with whole-heartedly. You're a dealers dream client, I would think.

    I'd be interested in hearing what you think of the long term reliability ratings given by Consumer Reports to various VW products. It seems that products by VW and its relative Audi suffer from electrical issues; has that been your experience? According to CR, owners of these cars have reported problems in over 14.8% of the cases based on their latest survey. These defects are considered so important that CR classes the cars as unreliable. For a Passat or Audi TT, two of my favorite cars, this rating seems astounding to me. These are not lowly carts but near luxury class vehicles. Compare this to the humble Mazda 3 and its predecessor Protege, both of which are rated highly in almost every category. I"d be interested to hear how you square that circle.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Had I purchased a 1998 through 2002 VW, I would have definitely experienced the electrical issues. But like I said, that's why I buy my cars at the end of the model year - to avoid those gremlins. And to answer your question, I have not experienced any electrical gremlins so far in my 47K miles with the 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta. And my wife hasn't experienced any such problems with her 2003 Passat GLS 1.8T.

    That being said - the Mazda has definitely been more reliable than VW as a whole. But I don't choose my cars on reliability alone. I chose my 2003 VW Wolfsburg Jetta based on styling, fit and finish, driving dynamics, road feel (which the Mazda doesn't have - and I've test driven the 3), the smoothness, power, and low-end torque of the 1.8T (peak torque starts at 1950 rpm as opposed to 3000+ rpm for the Mazda). And on top of that, the Mazda 3 and 6 (among other makes) have emulated the styling ques from the 4th-generation Jetta from the sleek, somewhat rounded shape right down to the roof mounted antenna (which VW pioneered 19 years ago with the 1986 Scirocco 16V). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    It's the same theme - the Germans have the role of automotive pioneers - introducing new innovations to market, and the Japanese have benefitted by learning from the German's mistakes, emulating and improving upon these innovations - and if you don't believe me, ask Mazda where the original patent on the rotary (Wankel - which is a name of German origin) engine came from - it's from NSU in Germany. The diesel engine is also a German innovation brought to market by Rudolf Diesel.

    So Mazda may have the edge on reliability, but definitely not on originality.

    The circle is complete....
  • biggus3biggus3 Posts: 32
    You must be bloody crazy. First off, where do you get that the Mazda3 emulates the Jetta. Just because a car has a curve in it doesn't mean it looks ANYTHING like a Jetta. And besides that, if "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" look at the 2006 Jetta. All it is is a bloated Corolla and the Corolla is already an ugly looking car. Furthermore, who cares about where the antenna is located.

    As far as styling, fit and finish, driving dynamics, and road feel, I have yet to read a bad review in any of these categories for the Mazda3. What I have heard however are complaints about the Jetta having a sloppy shifter and boring handling. The only real advantage of the Jetta is the extra power. That leaves a personal question as to if the extra price of the Jetta rationalizes that increase in power. So either there are lots of crazy people running around thinking the Mazda3 is a fun car to drive, or maybe you are just the crazy one.

    Lastly, dont blame Japanese manufacturers for improving on European designs. There is just as much need for improving a design as there is in the original design. Case in point, if you think that Wankel was the first person to dream up a rotary engine, you're crazy. The fact of the matter is there were numerous previous attempts to develop a rotary motor, Wankel just fixed the problem of keeping the gas sealed to enable compression (read about Swiss manufacturer Bernard Maillard if you dont believe me).

    If you really want to go there about the Germans being automotive pioneers, lets look at that. You could make a case about Americans being automotive pioneers. After all, they were the first to mass produce the automobile and developed the automatic transmission. You could call the Japanese automotive pioneers for developing feasible hybrid vehicles. So before you claim the Germans as the high and mighty in the automotive world, maybe you should do some homework.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Wow! I think we have some anger management issues here... You're just taking this argument a bit to personal here...

    The fact that Germans usually play the role of automotive pioneers is undeniable (whether you want to admit it or not. Second, I'm not blaming the Japanese for improving a European product (I would do the same thing myself if I were in their shoes) - I'm just stating a fact. I've been driving (and fixing) cars since the 1970's - and I've seen the trends, so I have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about.

    Third, autonomous and I were having a friendly, civil discussion and have basically agreed to disagree about certain issues. If you would like to join the discussion in a calm, non-reactionary manner, you're more than welcome to do so. Reactionary discussions will only serve to alienate your intended audience.

    Fourth, as far as an overall automotive package, you seem to favor the Mazda, and I seem to favor the Jetta. No one is "crazy" for making a choice that seems to fit their needs. That's why there are hundreds of different makes and models of automobiles. If we all had to drive the same car - things would definitely be beyond boring....

    BTW - I have done my homework, and it's a fact that the Japanese manufacturers over the years have identified the BMW's, Audi's, Porches, Mercedes Benz's and yes, even the VW's as their competitive targets and design aspirations - and in many ways have either matched, closed the gap, or surpassed, and in other ways, the Germans keep raising the bar. It's called competition - one side comes up with something good, the other side comes up with something even better, and the process repeats itself again and again. It's good for the consumer.

    >What I have heard however are complaints about the Jetta having a sloppy shifter and boring handling.

    So that means since you have heard about it, I can assume you haven't actually driven one. I have driven Mazdas - including the 3 and the 6, and I like the driving dynamics. But, like most Japanese vehicles, you have to wind the engine to keep it in the fat part of the torque curve. Now that's my impression - don't take it personal (unless you are a key shareholder of Ford/Mazda).

    One more thing - if you've read the road tests on the upcoming 2006 VW GTI, the general consensus is that "VW has once again raised the bar" - which the original GTI did back in 1976. The GTI is the ORIGINAL pocket rocket which provided the inspiration for the genre all the way to the present day pocket rockets. And that's a fact....
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    What can I say, Tony, but I agree with you. Regarding the German-Japanese circle, Mazda openly cites BMW as their model; just consider the latest badging (e.g. BMW 3 series, Mazda 3). To my eyes, the Protege5 (my car) is a variant of the VW Golf (omnipresent on the streets of Montreal, my home town). I believe the VW Golf used to be the top small car in Quebec (that little piece of Europe in North America) until it was displaced by the Mazda3.

    Some of the dire business reports about VW (e.g. major loss of sales in 2004, poor showing of the Phaeton, poor reliability ratings esp. the Touareg, offshore quality concerns, etc.) make me wonder about its future.
  • biggus3biggus3 Posts: 32
    I wasn't inferring that you were crazy for preferring the jetta over the mazda. I was calling you crazy for thinking that the mazda got any stylistic cues from the jetta and that the Mazda has no road feel. I have never heard anyone discuss the sexy curves of a VW and with the exception of the R32 I have never heard anyone gloating about how their VW handles. Perhaps it is just my opinion, but I believe most people buy VWs for the engines and interiors (I wont deny they are excellent for their class). In contrast, people buy Mazdas because they are fun to drive. I disagree with you on the road feel issue. As the driver of a Mazda3 (go figure, eh?) the car never ceases to amaze me when pushed to its limit. I drive mine pretty hard and it has always responded. I just believe that if there was a problem with road feel you wouldn't hear the raves from the automotive press on how exciting the car is to drive.

    Furthermore, I wasn't trying to deny that the Germans have created quality automobiles over the last few decades. I was pointing out however that stating that Germans are automotive pioneers and Japanese brands merely improve on German designs is a tad bit short sighted. You can make a great case any of the 3 countries playing "the role of automotive pioneers" for the reasons cited in the previous post.

    Lastly, I will concede that the GTI seems like a drastic improvement over the previous generation and will be fun to drive. I do however believe that if the Mazdaspeed3 gets the rumored 220 hp turbocharged 2.3L, it will definitely give the GTI a run for its money. But we will just have to wait for that battle.

    Sorry for "taking the argument a bit too personal"
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Hey, no problem. I'm just glad to see that competition abounds to keep the automotive industry on its toes (and from getting stale). I will concede that the Japanese automakers have had plenty of innovations throughout their history - and are heavily pioneering automotive hybrid technology.

    The Japanese, European and Korean automakers are prime examples of an engineering-oriented corporate culture (most of their top managers come from engineering backgrounds) - so we can expect the bulk of innovation to come from these circles. So I expect Mazda and VW (despite its current problems) will be in the game for years to come.

    The bean-counting, marketing-oriented corporate culture of the Big Three has somewhat stifled their innovation by focusing on high profit pickup trucks and SUVs (especially in the case of GM) and ceding the rest of the car market to the Europeans, Japanese and Koreans - resulting in the lessening interest in their products and slowly dwindling market share. Therefore, I prefer to buy my automobiles from companies (and/or countries) with an engineering-oriented philosophy.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Excellent points!

    biggus3: You can make a great case any of the 3 countries playing "the role of automotive pioneers" for the reasons cited in the previous post. The reality is that auto manufactures are no longer national, and hence do not represent a particular "country". We all know it's not unusual for an auto manufacturer to have headquarters in Japan, designers from Italy, assembly in Kentucky and a world salesforce to be called a global firm. The result: incredible machines brought out by the best from each area. Its an F1 world.

    600kgolfgt: The bean-counting, marketing-oriented corporate culture of the Big Three has somewhat stifled their innovation by focusing on high profit pickup trucks and SUVs (especially in the case of GM) and ceding the rest of the car market to the Europeans, Japanese and Koreans - resulting in the lessening interest in their products and slowly dwindling market share.
    I'm glad you added "somewhat" above as I think GM's skateboard is an amazing feat of engineering. Also, their venture into fuel cell technology, in effect leap frogging hybrid technology, leaves me salivating for some practical applications. The problem with GM seems to be that not enough baby steps are preceding this giant leap, so a lot is riding on the vision. The Honda Accord Hybrid proves that a large firm can create a more fuel efficent and more powerful machine accessible to a wide audience that is more than insight. Let's all hope GM pulls it off.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Kinda gives new meaning to the term "Global Economy", doesn't it? :)
  • josh28josh28 Posts: 14
    Is there any sign that reliability at VW has improved over the last couple of years? I certainly hope it made some changes after its quality reputation plunged (well deserved!) in 1999-2001.

    Is there anyone considering either the MazdaSpeed3 or 2006 GTI?
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    The 2003 - Present model years have been considerably more reliable than the 1999-2002 models. My 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta just turned 47K with absolutely no problems. I usually buy my vehicles at or near the end of the production cycle for that reason - the bugs are usually worked out by then.
  • kronogoosekronogoose Posts: 116
    I'm definitely interested in the MS3, it may be hot-hatch I hoped the Protege5 would become. I'm hoping it will provide Mazda reliability and driveability well below the $25k mark.

    Do you think they'll take a similar styling approach as they did with the MS6? Specifically, leave out the gaping hood scoop and tall spoiler? I hope they do, and make it look better than the MS6 with its disproportionately large front end.

    Speaking of styling, are there any spy photos or artists' rendering of the MS3?
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Saw that edmunds is now reporting the 258 hp Mazdaspeed 3. Great googly-moogly., I've been lamenting the fact that nothing is exciting me for when I return my 330i in May of 06. And since the day I saw the Mazda3, I've commented that it needs a Mazdapseed makeover. Well here it comes!!!

    Weird that edmunds says sub 6 second 0-60. Uh, the car weighs 2800 lbs. Even if AWD is 400 lbs, why would it be so slow? My porky 235 hp 330i gets to 60 in under 6 seconds. Weird.
  • tsx24tsx24 Posts: 85
    For one, they don't know the gearing, which accounts for quit a bit of the 0-60 time. They are just being conservative. Figure increased torsional rigidity, the MSP3 may get up to 3000 pounds without AWD. Add another 200 for AWD if applicable, and you are up to 3200 pounds with 256 hp (not 258). Obviously it SHOULD do less than 6, but depends on gearing. This car interests me as well, as I have had my eye on the Audi A3 3.2 DSG, Lexus IS250, Acura RDX etc. I like small luxury-performance wagons.
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