Commuter Comparo: Mazda3, Rabbit, MINI

momusmomus Member Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in MINI
I'm in the market for a sporty, fun-to-drive commuter. I've narrowed the list to the three cars listed in the title. The Civic might make it back into the mix if the 2009 models are out by the time I buy, and if they offer stability control.

Here's how they match up in terms of value and performance.


All performance numbers are from C/D. The prices are based on my personal configurations (e.g., I live in Minneapolis and choose heated seats but no sunroof).

I'd like to hear from current or past owners of these cars, and anyone else with an opinion about which is the better choice as a daily driver. I've driven each of them, of course, but I'm interested in the views and insights of others.



  • driver71driver71 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased the Mazda3 iTouring Value Ed last week and could not be happier. So far it's a great little car w/ nice features for under $18,000. Fun to drive I wish I could drive it more but gas is too expensive. I had my heart set on the Mini but I'm still not convinced of the safety issue. There are still too many SUVs' in So Cal. :( Also, I have heard they have the tendency to catch fire.
    I don't know much about the Rabbit, But when I talk to Jetta owners they tell me things start falling off after a year or so.
    Hope this helps.
    Good Luck!
  • driveinalongdriveinalong Member Posts: 7
    I recently found myself asking the same question: what to buy - but my list was more focused - Rabbit v. Astra (mini too small for my family; we did not want another Japanese car).

    Excerpt from previous post - some items to consider for your decision:

    "#1 - $$$ - VW is currently offering 0% financing for 3 years for '08's on the lot.

    #2 - I know how to drive a manual both for economy and for performance. Both cars can be driven conservatively and have acceptable fuel consumption (Astra slightly better), however, the Rabbit's 2.5 5c is clearly much more fun when you feel like driving with a bit more uumph from time to time.

    #3 - I personally preferred Rabbit's interior; controls laid out more intuitively for me (although I preferred the Astra's interior illumination colors to Rabbit's red & purple/blue), and the Rabbit seats fit perfectly (was in a severe accident 12 years ago - seats matter a lot to me)."

    I know your question referenced choosing more performance oriented cars (Mazda 3 and Mini); a few more items to consider...

    The Rabbit is our family commuter car - wife and 1 young son; thinking about another in near future. 4 doors is a must for us. The Rabbit was priced with the most standard safety features (ABS, front/rear airbags, ASR), best performance, and best financing deal in our area this summer.

    From the small number of fuel mileage posts I've read about the Mazda 3, drivers report that their real life city mileage slightly lower than epa sticker. As power / weight for both vehicles is similar, there's a good chance that the lower city numbers may have more to do with driving styles of average Mazda 3 owners. Try searching the mpg comparisons at for another perspective.

    I've driven the Rabbit for 5 weeks now. I liked it when I bought it - and my opinion has only improved. Perhaps I'll regret my decision if gas goes to $7/gal, but for now, I am a happy camper.

    I like to drive and keep my cars for a long time - I've picked the one that I know I will be happy with for the long term.
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    I had my heart set on the Mini but I'm still not convinced of the safety issue. There are still too many SUVs' in So Cal. Also, I have heard they have the tendency to catch fire.

    I haven't seen that claim before...can you post a link to some site that discusses that?

  • joem5joem5 Member Posts: 201
    Better buy skiis for it.Snowshoes anyways. :shades:
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