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Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit

dougjpdougjp Posts: 4
edited April 26 in Mazda
Starting this as I think its a closer comparison than Edmund's 3 vs Civic, or vs a Fit or Accord as listed below.

I'm hoping to find comparison road tests by car mags and hope to get Edmund's to do it, if they already haven't! Sedan and/or Sport 3...
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Comments

  • jmnappjmnapp Posts: 13
    I have a 2006 Mazda 3 - i Touring and hate it. As soon as I get some cash saved up, I'm going to trade for an 07 Rabbit. I test drove the Rabbit and it's much more solid and quiet than the Mazda. I'm disappointed in the general feel of the Mazda. It feels very "cheap" compared to the VW. Also, huge amounts of road noise. German engineering is the way to go...no more Japanese cars for me. They just can't compare to the feel of a German car.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    "German engineering is the way to go...no more Japanese cars for me. They just can't compare to the feel of a German car."

    Nor can VW compete with the Japanese in regards to reliability. It is clearly give and take. Having recently owned a VW (Jetta) and now owning a Mazda 3i Touring I do not completely agree with your assessment that the Mazda is cheap. The interior fit and finish, to me, is very good and the car handles very well and is a blast to drive. But the 3i Touring is also $1500-1700 dollars cheaper and also gets better MPG 28/35(city/highway) to 22/30 than the Rabbit. Now I have not driven the new Golf, umm, I mean Rabbit yet but based on my previous Jetta I would not doubt that the vehicle has slightly better fit and finish and is quieter. But you should really look through all the Jetta, Golf, and Passat problem boards also. In my case, I ended up having to pay (out of pocket) for rental cars for approximately 30 days while my VW was in the shop for various repairs over the period of 2.5 years. It simply was no longer reliable and left me stranded high and dry on numerous occasions. I liked the car overall, but became so frustrated with its reliability and VW's customer service (I tried having my car serviced at three different local dealers and all three were horribly run and very arrogant) that I sold it early from a three year lease.

    My advice to you is to wait at least a year to see what the reliability is on the Rabbit. Even though the Mazda 3 has strong resale value, you must be taking a hit on such a quick sale and it might be best to hold it awhile longer. For the money, I would also look closely at the Honda Civic and both Toyota and Hyundai are coming out with new a new Corolla and a new Elantra. Might get very interesting over the next year or so.
  • dweber4dweber4 Posts: 3
    I have a mazda 3 five door touring, and recently drove the new Rabbit. The VW drive train was less responsive, the seats worse, and it was obvious they cut corners to keep the price down. The Mazda is more refined.
  • bruce6bruce6 Posts: 29
    In January I traded in my 2001 VW Golf (which I liked but got bored with) for 2006 Mazda 3 hatch, 5-speed. I LOVE the Mazda beyond words. It's solid, smooth, comfortable, remarkably roomy for a fairly small car, agile and quick. Of course, my Golf was the base model with the 2.0 engine, which has now been mercifully put to sleep, so the new Rabbit will be closer to the 3 in performance.

    VW has made a specialty of giving its cars more upscale-looking interiors than you'd expect for their size/price class, and are probably still a notch ahead of Mazda in that department, but my VW was also prone to annoying little problems -- pieces of interior trim coming unglued in hot weather, warning lights mysteriously coming on for no reason, stuff like that. While I haven't owned my current Mazda long enough to say much about reliability, it's trouble free so far, and 2 Mazdas I owned in the '80s -- both of which had about 80,000 miles when I traded them -- were absolutely trouble-free. I mean literally no repairs. Zero.

    Ultimately you'll have to drive both and see which suits you, but my Mazda 3 is easily my favorite car of any I've owned.
  • I'd wait on the reliability reports on the rabbit first. I had an 02 jetta vr6. bought it in 2002 knowing how unreliable jetta/golf are, but the styling and overall package really impressed me. I had to take a massive loss only a year and half later, traded it in for a toyota 4 runner. completely diff car, yes. I also now have a Mazda 3. love it. yes, the jetta was quieter, but it was much more expensive. I only paid 20 for the m3, taxes and all, with sport and 2.3. my jetta was in the shop every other month, with the radio dying twice, window glitches, shakes all over the place, engine problems that NEVER got resolved (I had to drive around w/o a radio and only on 4 of 6 cylinders while they ordered the parts, etc, and tended to god knows how many others with similar problems for 2 MONTHS one time! So, I finally got sick of it and got rid of it.) I would wait for the reliability report. you don't need the headache of owning a nice looking/performing car that needs mechanics every other month. And, the service sucked. Probably because they were overworked and had to deal with so many unhappy customers.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    wow, jaesee75edmund, we had almost the exact same experience (I owned a 99.5 Jetta VR6 that had nearly the same, if not more, problems that you had).

    I now own a Mazda3, and love the car. I recently drove a VW Rabbit (4dr auto) and, while I liked the interior, there is no comparison between the Mazda3 and the VW when it comes to performance and handling. The VW's electronic power assisted steering feels numb compared to the 3's handling. Like you though, my biggest concern for folks cross shopping these vehicles would be VW's previous reliability issues with the Golf/Jetta (both cars share many of the same parts).

    I think that VW missed the boat by not offering the TDI engine in this car until 2008. If the Rabbit could achieve 40mpg highway, it would have stole sales away from the likes of Mazda, Toyota, and Honda.

    My advice to anyone shopping these two vehicles is to drive them back-to-back. There is simply no comparison with regards to the driving experience, the 3 blows the Rabbit away (unless you like numb steering and roll when cornering)....
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I just priced out a Mazda3 S Touring 5-door with the moon roof/6CD package in 5-speed Vs. the VW Rabbit 4-door hatch with side impact airbags, sun roof and 17" alloys.

    Mazda $19,065 MSRP
    VW $20,329 MSRP

    That's quite a difference in price. Take it as you wish.
  • I test drove both cars and thought they were rather similar. Both handled well, and both were my two top choices. I ended up with the rabbit because I liked the look of the hatch better on the rabbit than the mazda, and I also liked the interior better. The rabbit was also available with the extra options that I wanted at the dealer. Unlike what many people have said, the people at my VW dealer were very nice and helpful with my questions and the purchase, so that did not factor into my decision. I've had the car for about a month now and have had no problems it, and am quite pleased with my decision.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    "Unlike what many people have said, the people at my VW dealer were very nice and helpful with my questions and the purchase, so that did not factor into my decision."

    I did not have a problem with the VW sales team. I had a problem with the service department and customer service.

    I do like the fact that you drove the 3 and the Rabbit and picked the vehicle that was best for you. It would be a boring world if everyone drove nothing but Rabbits or nothing but 3s.. Choice is a good thing :)
  • Huh? You must be joking! The Mazda 3 is rated extremely well by all publications in handling, reliability, etc. The Mazda 3 is made in Japan. You can get a loaded Mazda 3 2.3 with leather, etc for the same price as a Rabbit. I would take the Mazda 3 in a heartbeat!
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The Mazda 3 is made in Japan.

    Despite all of the recent recalls of Japanese built cars, the Mazda 3 is still an excellent choice. Do not let the fact that it is built in Japan scare you away. Most of the recalls have been by Toyota anyway.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Despite all of the recent recalls of Japanese built cars, the Mazda 3 is still an excellent choice. Do not let the fact that it is built in Japan scare you away.

    Statistically, Japanese cars are the most reliable. Just because a manufacturer announces a recall does not mean the vehicle is unreliable. Toyota has had the most recalls lately, however, I do not think it will tarnish their name.

    GM and Ford have had huge recalls this year as well.

    Mazda has been fortunate to not really have any recalls, except for the preventative one placed on the Mazda5 back in September.

    The Mazda3 has not had any, and it's way to soon for the VW Rabbit to have any. I also believe the 2.5 5 cyl. is a new engine for them? Am I correct?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    I also believe the 2.5 5 cyl. is a new engine for them? Am I correct?

    No you are not correct, the 2.5 5cyl is new only to North America, it has been offered for several years outside of North America.

    Statistically, Japanese cars are the most reliable. Just because a manufacturer announces a recall does not mean the vehicle is unreliable. Toyota has had the most recalls lately, however, I do not think it will tarnish their name.

    Statistically, for North America, Toyota has had more recalls per vehicle than Daimler Chrysler. Interesting trivia.
    I agree that a recall does not determine reliability and has greater affect on perception.

    My point is this, recent posts in many topic concerning the Rabbit and VW in general imply that reliability is determined by country of manufacture are incorrect and ridiculous. Japan = Very Reliable
    Mexico = Unreliable Germany = Somewhat Reliable :sick:
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    "My point is this, recent posts in many topic concerning the Rabbit and VW in general imply that reliability is determined by country of manufacture are incorrect and ridiculous."

    The problem with Mexico stems from when both Ford and VW started building cars there. There were serious process and quality control issues and it made the press. From what I have read this is no longer an issue in Mexico and in some cases Mexican quality is even better than the quality of some US manufacturing plants. Point is that the damage was done initially and many people still associate Mexican build quality as being bad.

    As for the German perception I think this stems from well documented reliability issues with both VW and Mercedes Benz recently. Perhaps VW and Mercedes have cracked down and have resolved some of these issues, but it takes time to restore your image. Look at Hyundai. They have really improved across the board for quite a few years, and many people still associate Hyundai build quality with the Hyundai Excel problems...
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    As for the German perception I think this stems from well documented reliability issues with both VW and Mercedes Benz recently

    The thing about German vehicles is that usually the build quality is good, as well as refinement. However, they just do not last. Most problems with VW/Audi are electrical, and they have had numerous problems with their boosted engines.

    Mercedes-Benz is just a sinking ship that is sinking FAST. Great design, great power, but you cannot enjoy it if it is always in the shop.

    Look at Hyundai. They have really improved across the board for quite a few years

    They really have come leaps and bounds. Materials used in the interior are not as good as Japanese brands, and the over all feel is not as good either, however, they are seeming to last quite a long time.

    Since this is a Mazda3 Vs. Rabbit thread, I will say this..It is a bit to early to tell how the VW will do, reliability wise, and the Mazda3 has proven to be reliable. Both vehicles will have it's fair share of hick-ups. But, who will experience more? My bet is VW will.
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    VW certainly has a lot to prove to the market as far as reliability is concerned. The past Golf/GTI/Jetta had loads of issues. It doesn't predetermine this model will suffer the same fate, but if I were a betting man, my money would be on the Mazda.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    JD Powers and others aside, I'll say this.

    My current car is a 2005 Mazda3 hatchback ... er, wagon ... er, hatchgon? Wagback? :) I purchased it April 7, 2005. It's now 15 months old and has 24,100 miles on it.

    Problems? Zero.
    Gas mileage? 27 city commuting, 32-35 highway. (5-speed)
    Fun-to-drive factor? Grinning, ear to ear!

    Meade
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's continue the conversation about the ship in trouble in the Mazda3 discussion. We'll let this discussion stay focused on comparing the 3 to the Rabbit. If there are any dry ones left to compare, that is. ;)

    moparbad, "Mazda3 Sedan" #8898, 27 Jul 2006 12:17 pm
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I'm just glad that non of those Mazda3's or CX-7's are mine. I see that they are mostly allocated for the west coast or Vancouver, Canada.

    I just hope they do not take from my allocation to help them! I can't get enough as it is!
  • funpgfunpg Posts: 3
    US manufacturers' recalls seem to be more for things like cars catching on fire or gas tanks exploding while Japanese recalls tend to be minor problems.

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    However, Toyota's latest recall is not so minor. It is for a "faulty engine part" that causes an oil leak...
  • fl2113fl2113 Posts: 2
    Back to the topic at hand, I drove a 2007 Rabbit 2.5 and an 06 3s 5-door, both auto, back to back recently. The interior build quality on the Rabbit was excellent, with a very similar layout to the Audi A4, but the seats and trim were a disgusting shade of beige. I did think the black or gray interiors work better on the Rabbit. I drove the Rabbit first, and at first I liked it, but once I drove the 3, the deal was done. The 3 was so much more responsive, fun to drive, and just overall more refined. I love the interior especially, it just feels much more comfortable and inviting and sporty than the Rabbit's. Nothing against the Rabbit, it's also a great car, but the 3 wins in my book. I drove out the door that day with an s model hatch in silver. Excellent value. So far I'm sure I've made the right choice after my first few weeks having the car
  • I has my car search down to three models. The Civic, Mazda3, and the Rabbit. I ended up with the Rabbit. The civic is simply not in the same class. Well built and reliable, but it feels like a toy. I really liked the Mazda. I think it feels sharper in the corners and the 2.3 pulls nicely. The fit and finish is very good, too. So why did I get the Rabbit?

    It feels much more solid. Although it does not feel as sharp in the corners, it still has great handling and road feel. That 25 mph corner you take in the Mazda3 feels very nice. But I have taken 90 degree turns in my Rabbit and 25 mph and not even has the tires squeel (only H rated, too).

    For the money, no other car has the safety features and technology built into them like the Rabbit.

    Bosch active steering
    electronic limited slip
    traction control
    emergency brake assist
    abs, of course
    Eight air bags
    6 speed triptronic trans
    and a host of other acronims that are part of
    ESP (electronic stabalizatio program). There is alot of technical info online as to the other safty features.

    Mazda is offering traction control and stability control for 2007.

    Reliability probably goes to the Mazda3, but I don't think is as scary to own a vw as people say. Anyone can have a horror story with a car. Go to the honda forum and see some of the issues posted with the new Civic. Buy an extended factory warranty when the original is used up. OMO.

    Finally, the 2.5 five cylinder engine in the Rabbit has 170 ft/lbs of torque. That makes it really pull. The powerband is so wide that the six speed triptronic trans can pull in just about any gear. I love this car more and more every time I drive it.

    So drive both cars a few times and see which you like better. I could be happy with either car, but the vw has an edge for me.
  • What about the new Suzuki SX4? Not as much power but has AWD and better gas mileage and I believe a lower price.

    I already own a Mazda5 so I'm looking for something other than the Mazda3.

    Here is a good link.
    link title
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Yup, I think that's an interesting contender. The AWD is a really bonus for a car in this price range. From what I can see though, the interior is not up to the quality of the other cars discussed here. And the auto tranny is only a 4-speed, when the Rabbit is up to a 6-speed. :cry:
  • Good points, I'm a manual guy and they are both 5 speed.

    You are probably right about the interior and I haven't been in the SX4 yet, but from the posts on the SX4 most seem to like the interior.
  • I went in search of a rabbit and when i could not find one i test drove a GTI. grinned ear to ear for a week, had GTI dreams. but, alas too pricey for me. finally found a 4 dr rabbit to test drive, was looking for a 2dr, and was not quite so impressed, in fact a little disappointed. then i drove the mazda it put the smile back on my face. not as potent as the GTI, but also about 5 grand less. I got an 07 5dr. A big factor for me is that the vw dealerships (nice guys) would not give me a decent price for my trade. I got 2 grand more from the mazda guys. The 3 is a pure joy to drive, and for me it was the right choice. although I still have gti dreams every now and again. :)
  • Reliability probably goes to the Mazda3, but I don't think is as scary to own a vw as people say. Anyone can have a horror story with a car.

    Maybe, but seems like VW owners have those horror stories pretty consistently... TOO consistently. :surprise:

    I know many current and past VW owners, and virtually EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has a reliability horror story to tell. Or, more precisely, a SERIES of reliability horror stories, involving multiple trips to the shop... the consensus seems to be that your average VW car prefers inhabiting the shop to anyone's garage. Ugh.

    Long story short, the ex-VW owners tell me they will never touch one again, and the current VW owners are all saying that their next car will NOT be a VW, no matter what. Not exactly a recommendation. :sick:

    For that reason, a VW could serve me mixed drinks and give world-class shiatsu massage and I probably still wouldn't buy one. But then I've already exceeded my lifetime quota of being stuck on the side of the road by a factor of five or so (owned a series of 1970s-era used American cars, fun fun fun, not), so my tolerance for poor reliability is basically nil at this point.
  • spinzspinz Posts: 8
    I just got a '07 Mazda3 GT hatchback. My previous car was 2000 VW Golf TDI and yes it kept giving me problems but it really helped me save fuel until finally the auto transmission failed on me. So I sold it and decided on which hatchbacks to buy. My other choices were VW Rabbit and Audi A3. I prefer the Golf/Rabbit over the Audi cuz I thought the A3's roofline was too short. But both cars were high on insurance and personally I think the Mazda3 is better designed than the Rabbit since it looks too tall & too stubby. I'm so happy I bought the Mazda3 but I missed the great mileage of the diesel. Yet, the Mazda3 with the Grand Touring package makes it a very refined car and also a fun car to drive.
  • dridedride Posts: 139
    Agreed, I would not drive a VW again even if I was paid to do so. After 50k miles, mine started falling apart: interior switches, water pump, cat. converter, the clutch started slipping, the temp sender went bad almost every other month... What a drag, but I still felt "connected" to the car. It was the terrible customer service that angered me the most. I could be dropping $1,600 for repairs, and they would still send me to the payphone to call for a ride! And getting a loaner during repairs, yeah right! IMHO purchasing a new VW is a mistake, but purchasing a new VW in in its first model year is a really bad idea (ask anyone who owned a 98 bug). I knew too many people who also "got bad ones". What an unreliable vehicle.
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