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Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit

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  • I sell both. They are each an excellent vehicle, but the rabbit's 2.5l I-5 with 6 speed Auto or 5 speed Manual are a little quicker and more sport-tuned than the mazda's 2.3. it just depends on what you are looking for
  • tsungtaktsungtak Posts: 1
    I traded My 03 Accord v6 for a Rabbit 2 door, 5 speed For my 18 year old daughter. I paid 14,500 for the car. My experience with the dealership was a 10, repairs include only a lose vent, avg gas mileage is around 25mpg. My daughter wanted this car because she thought it was cute.

    A true test came when we took a trip to Chicago from Memphis and back in a 42 hour period, I was so impressed with this car, We got around 29 mpg, On the interstate we probably averaged 80 mph and peaked around 95 mph. The ride was very comfortable, good pickup even at 75 mph. We left Chicago at 10 pm in a really bad rain storm, the traction control handled amazingly, the headlights and wipers did their job very well. In the City the car was easy to drive, the little 2.5 engine was perfect, its not a race car but had plenty of
    pickup. Also while on the 9 hour trip we were never without a good radio station. My only complaints are the the stick shift, Sometimes starting from a start it wasn't very forgiving and I thought the gas mileage could have been better. The bottom line is I was comfortable and felt safe. This car gets a 9.5 in my book.but when you factor the price of the car it gets a 10+,
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Good point!

    I've always thought that this new Rabbit is amazingly comfy-riding for a small car. My 2000 Civic hatch (the most recent model w/ the high-tech full-double-wishbone suspension all around) isn't even close. I also doubt the clumsy heavy bulky '03 Accord w/ huge turning circle really rides smoother than the Rabbit.

    I almost bought a Rabbit/Jetta last year, but was only appalled by the electric pwr steering's lack of feel. Instead, I decided to collect an '07 Focus 2.3 ST & sacrifice ride comfort a little.

    Just days ago when upgrading to Quaife differential in my Mazda-powered Focus, I had a '95 Jetta VR6 as loaner car. I was impressed by its good-old VW steering's natural feel & the decently absorbent ride comfort, even w/o the modern Focus-type Control Blade multi-link rear suspension found in the most recent VW's. Too bad that an old VW had several broken parts everywhere -- it makes my '90 Mazda Protege twin-cam feel like a new car by comparison.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Carfanatic007:
    Actually, Consumer reports disagrees and they (VW GTI/Rabbit) are not recommended due to poor reliability. What a surprise.


    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/past-road-test/hatchbacks/overview/hatch- - - backs-ov.htm

    What say you, Carfanatic?
  • godaddy1godaddy1 Posts: 15
    Whoa there 600kgolfgt ! I bought a new 1999 VW Passat 4-cyl turbo (base engine) with an automatic as Consumer Report recommended in 1999.

    BIG MISTAKE - It bearly made 74K miles. List of some items I recall:
    replaced defective steering rack (warranty covered)
    Mutiple engine oil leaks (warranty covered)
    broken glove compartment (not covered-I fixed with $.02 screw which they wanted $240 to replace it)
    electrical sensor on transmission (est $450 to fix) which kept reverse lights on (not covered under powertrain since its electrical part ?!!!)
    and the biggy --> timing belt broke at 69K miles crushing valves...well before the 100K warranty (VW replaced it but it took 1-1/2 weeks to fix). I actually called 3 VW places before the incident to find out when timing belt is to be replaced, they all stated 105K (conveniently just 5K after powertrain warranty :mad: ).

    The #1 reason not to buy VW, the VW service guy told me to unload my 1999 as soon as possible, I did --> now that's VW confidence !!!! :lemon:

    p.s. I told my brother to buy one which he did get a 2000 Passat with 5 speed and he never lets me forget since he has had major & minor issues as well. :cry:
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    And I had to unload a lemon of a 2005 Toyota Tacoma pickup in under 2 years. Past experience with a manufacturer does not indicate future performance fortunately/unfortunately
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Whoa there 600kgolfgt ! I bought a new 1999 VW Passat 4-cyl turbo (base engine) with an automatic as Consumer Report recommended in 1999.

    School's in session. Here's your homework. Learn it well:

    New Rule - It is not wise to purchase an automobile (from any manufacturer) early in the production cycle. I learned that the hard way with my first VW - a 1975 Mk1 Scirocco (eventually drove it 200,000 miles after getting the initial bugs fixed) - and secondly with my next car - 1977 Datsun 280z (the first year a 5-speed manual transmission was offered, and suffered two transmission replacements as a result due to poorly designed bearings).

    I learned my lesson well with my next four cars (all VWs):

    1987 Golf GT - 16 years, 624,000 miles (until I hit a deer at 55 mph)
    1997 Jetta 2.0 - 5 years, 250,000 miles (still going strong - engine doesn't burn a drop of oil)
    2003 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8T - 5 years, 115,000 miles (still going strong)
    2003 Passat GLS 1.8T - 5 years, 80,000 miles (still going strong)

    Do you sense a pattern here? All four cars mentioned were purchased at or near the end of the production cycle - enough time for the manufacturer to work out most of the bugs...

    The VW service department who advised you to dump your car was more than likely a big cause of your problems by cutting corners on the maintenance and/or ignoring factory recommendations (such as using the wrong motor oil, for example).

    Case in point:

    The demise of your timing belt is caused by one of the following conditions:

    1) Sludge. The dealership, the factory (and possibly the car's owner) dropped the ball on this one. Turbocharged engines REQUIRE synthetic oil (meeting the VW 502.00 specification) every 5000 miles. Not 5001 miles. Not 6000 miles. Not 7500 miles. Not "Oh I haven't changed my oil since I bought the car new". No exceptions, do not pass GO, do not collect $200. The service department more than likely used conventional 5w-30 motor oil which they purchased in bulk to save money. Sludging eventually causes oil starvation - especially to the cylinder head with the camshaft operating the timing belt. Cylinder head seizes while engine is still running - timing belt gets sheared - valves meet pistons - bye, bye, engine. At the time immediately before the timing belt broke, major engine damage has already occurred.

    2) Water pump. But since your car is a 1999, the engine more than likely had the older-style aluminum water pump (which will last at least 150,000+ miles) instead of the plastic water pump that came on the scene during the late 1999 model year. If your car has a date of manufacture past mid 1999, then chances are it has the plastic water pump which has been known to disintegrate around the 60,000 - 70,000 mile mark (confirmed when I had the timing belt service performed on my two 1.8Ts at 65,000 and 73,000 miles respectively) - resulting in the broken pieces jamming the water pump. And since the plastic water pump is driven by the timing belt, a seized water pump will lead to the timing belt's demise in similar fashion as the sludge scenario described above.

    Lesson learned:

    Those drivers who insist on being the "first kid on the block to have the newest car fresh off the assembly line" are volunteering to become beta testers for the automotive industry, usually at great expense $$$$.

    As an aside, the powertrain in the Rabbit has been in production since 2005, and has been quite reliable during that period, and at present (being a non-turbo engine with a timing chain helps as well). So chances are that the 2008 model has most of the bugs worked out....
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "Do you sense a pattern here? All four cars mentioned were purchased at or near the end of the production cycle - enough time for the manufacturer to work out most of the bugs...

    Lesson learned:

    Those drivers who insist on being the "first kid on the block to have the newest car fresh off the assembly line" are volunteering to become beta testers for the automotive industry, usually at great expense $$$$."

    That's the whole point. Being the original owner of the first-year-model 1990 Mazda Protege produced in Japan, I still found the car long lasting & quite trouble free even today, aside from very few minor early- production glitches that were remedied by the factory service bulletins.

    But the same cannot be said about the last-year-model 1984 MkI Jetta produced in Germany -- things have been falling apart for many years.

    Well, I am glad that at least my 1999 E36 BMW 328is & 2007 Focus ST (w/ Mazda-developed 2.3 powerplant) all came from the very end of the production cycle.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    "It is not wise to purchase an automobile (from any manufacturer) early in the production cycle"

    That is not accurate. There are many mfgrs that you can purchase a vehicle from in its first few model years and have little no issues. Most of the Japanese makes have little issues in their first few years, where as German brands tend to have numerous issues not only in their first years, but many years afterward.

    I will say, credit is due to VW for improving their product.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    There are many mfgrs that you can purchase a vehicle from in its first few model years and have little no issues. Most of the Japanese makes have little issues in their first few years

    Last year Consumer Reports showed that even the venerable Toyota and Honda companies experience more issues in their initial production years than in the second, third or following years. As a consumer, it seems like a wise strategy to wait until the early adopters test out the new releases.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    They showed that Toyota was venerable, not Honda.

    If you as a consumer think it is wise to wait until the 3rd or 4th year of production on a particular vehicle, that is ok. Most cars tend to have a few issues in their first couple years. My point was that the German makes are so much more suseptable to problems then Japanese cars are, and since you brought up CR, they also agree with my statement.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Consumer Reports recently published a hatchback comparo (as linked in a previous post) and the VW Rabbit S automatic 4 door won. They listed this vehicle as having better than average reliability and is their top pick of the small hatchbacks.

    Because of the CR recommendation, I placed an order for one. What I have found is you can wait forever to get this car if you order it the way you want it. VW really must improve their distribution system.

    THIRTEEN WEEKS?? :sick:
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    That's nothing compared to Mazda. To get a Mazda3 from the factory, you are looking at about 16 weeks.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    That's pretty bad.

    I have a leased vehicle due back July 31st. I e-mailed my VW sales guy this morning to give me a definite commitment on an ordered Rabbit by June 5th, or I have to walk. The guy didn't ask me for a deposit yet and he took my order two weeks ago. He won't ask me for a deposit until he knows for sure he can get me the vehicle. I hear VW isn't building any more 2008's, so there is a real possibility he won't be able to get it for me.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,026
    Well, you are still better off than me. The VW dealers in the Louisville area aren't the least bit interested in ordering cars for customers. That's one of the reasons I wound up with a Mazdaspeed3.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Having driven both of these vehicle types (Mazda3 and Volkswagen Rabbit (Golf)) back to back, I can give a educated opinion on both and why I chose the VW.

    I first drove the Mazda. It featured the 5-speed manual and 2.3L I-4. It was a fun car to drive, well equipped, and nicely peppy. The styling inside and out is sharp, sexy (for a compact) and modern. Materials used in the cabin were nice enough but the LED strip in the stereo head unit was gimmicky.

    Then I drove the Volkswagen. It felt more solid and substantial as well as feeling of a more mature car. Its manual transmission also had a more connected and mechanical feel. Styling is subdued but pleasing, with easy entry seats into the rear of the 3-door model.

    I did return to drive the Mazda, and that sealed the deal for me to get the VW.
    The Mazda is a noisy little [non-permissible content removed] of a fun car but has far too much commotion for my tastes and felt like a cheap tin can compared to the Volkswagen Rabbit.

    Also, in my 2008 VW Rabbit witht he 170hp 2.5L 5-cylinder engine, I average at least 26 mpg and have seen up to 31 mpg on the Interstate.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    my 2008 VW Rabbit witht he 170hp 2.5L 5-cylinder engine, I average at least 26 mpg and have seen up to 31 mpg on the Interstate.

    These are unimpressive numbers for a small car using a manual transmission.

    The Mazda is a noisy little [non-permissible content removed] of a fun car but has far too much commotion for my tastes and felt like a cheap tin can compared to the Volkswagen Rabbit
    Bizarre, this description of the Mazda3 seems to defy all previous evaluations of the car.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "These are unimpressive numbers for a small car using a manual transmission."

    Borrowing football parlance, I actually think the Rabbit is a bit of a tweener --- even though in exterior dimensions it seems to compete with cars such as the Mazda3 and Civic, in terms of engine size & output, and interior room and amenities, and overall refinement, it almost can be compared to the next size segment, the 4 cyl versions of the Legacy, Accord, Mazda6, etc. If view in that vein, then its mpg is not too disappointing. Just like the Mini, even though it is a small car, I don't think fuel economy has ever been its top priority.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    These are unimpressive numbers for a small car using a manual transmission.

    Rabbit 2.5 is rated at 21/30 and the Mazda3 2.3 at 22/29 mpg (both w/manual trans) by EPA. Based on this a driver of either car should be expected to get about the same mpg.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Rabbit 2.5 is rated at 21/30 and the Mazda3 2.3 at 22/29 mpg (both w/manual trans) by EPA. Based on this a driver of either car should be expected to get about the same mpg.

    Agreed. But since the average fuel economy of both cars with manual transmissions is in the mid to high 20's it remains unimpressive and needs improvement. A small car with a manual transmission should be averaging in the 30's not the 20's in my opinion. One way of achieving this is by shaving weight off the car; both cars should be aiming for 2500 pounds rather than the nearly 3000 pounds they cart around.
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