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Mazda3 vs. Jetta 2.5L vs Impreza/Legacy?

only120xsonly120xs Member Posts: 9
edited March 2014 in Mazda
I really like the Mazda 3 for whenever I get a new vehicle (6+ months at least), but I'm batting around alternatives, specifically the Jetta 2.5L or possibly the low end Impreza or Legacy. Specifically, the requirements to be in the running would be low $20k (or less would be even better), decently fun to drive, automatic (automanual a plus), and I'd prefer leather seats and folding rear seats. Obviously AWD would be a plus, but not required. Any thoughts?


  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Um, it depends on your priorities of leather/AWD/price. Leather would be easiest to find on the MZA 3 for 20k. VW has cheapish leatherette (vinyl) on its base cars (around 20k), and I couldn't tell you about the Impreza/Legacy. No leather in the impreza for 20k (but you get AWD, which the others don't have). A low end legacy will approach $25k w/few options (i.e. w/o leather). I'd go with the 3s w/ leather unless AWD is a must, in which I'd get an Impreza AWD for right at $20k (more power than Jetta w/AWD handling prowess).
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    Good post, but the Legacy SE automatic is about $23K MSRP- and includes moonroof, power drivers seat and all the other usual power items. I'm not sure what "options" youre talking about, but there really arent any factory OEM options for the car- mostly accessories.

  • bamaflumbamaflum Member Posts: 39
    ...I will purchasing a new car and the Mazda3, Subaru 2.5i, and Civic EX are my top three choices. I am really interested to hear from some "experts" about these. How is the reliability of the Mazda3 and Subaru 2.5i? I know Honda's are known for reliability and have had a bit of trouble with the new Civic (hopefully, they will correct this for 2007). Thanks.
  • davesbrewdavesbrew Member Posts: 45
    I am shopping the same crowd and recently testdrove all of them plus the cooper, and except the 2 subies and those I read enough reviews to get them off the list.

    The 3 was the winner followed by the jetta, then suprisingly the honda, and finally the cooper.
    The 3 handled great. Lots of power and great interior.
    The vw was only slightly behind the 3. Leatherette was beter than I expected, as was the base engine. Drove both the 2.5 and the GLI. The GLI was great and with the megabolstered seats was the most comfortable of the bunch. Incredible DSG transmission. If I hadnt been watching the tac, I wouldnt have even known it was shifting. The problem is pricier than the 3.

    Honda was underpowered. It was ok, but no where near as nice as the 3. I love the interior, but no leather. I had high hopes for this one... The reviews are right. If all you want is fuel economy, this might get the edge. Otherwise, go with the 3.

    Cooper- handles incredibly and arguably the most character of the bunch, but less room, higher price, and at least around here, dealers won't go below msrp.

    Subie legacy. Nice incentives right now, but all reviews I read mentioned how sluggish it was. That nixed it for me. add in the options of the 3 and price gets insane.

    Not sure about impreza- not a big fan of the looks.
  • krzysskrzyss Member Posts: 849
    if you drive 2.5i after GT it will be sluggish.

  • lordpastylordpasty Member Posts: 11
    if you drive 2.5i after GT it will be sluggish.

    But the Jetta will still look like a melting blob.
  • tima3tima3 Member Posts: 6
    LOL blob indeed ... fact is the legacy outclasses the others sedans mentioned... even in the base model...
  • dridedride Member Posts: 139
    I totally agree:

    The Civic is GREAT for MPG, but underpowered compared to the M3. I was disappointed with the lack of exciting Civic colors (in the 4 dr ES)a bright red would've been nice. I did like the aux jack the Civic had on the stereo for MP3 players.

    The Mini is a unique vehicle, but does have the space trade off for great handling. I "hear" their reliability is poor, but can not confirm.

    The M3 has been pretty good. I did have one problem last year, I had a bad fuel pump replaced, and new hotter plugs installed all under warranty. The brakes squeek a little in the cold once or twice, and the stock tires were terrible. Other than that not near as many complaints as I had on my VW. I wouldn't drive another VW if they paid me. Talk about a brand that will nickel and dime a person, no repair was reasonably priced. At about 45,000 of normal driving the expensive repairs started, and VW customer service SUCKS.
  • krzysskrzyss Member Posts: 849
    when I see M3 I think BMW, not Mazda.

  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Yeah, using MZ3 as an abbreviation for the Mazda3 seems clearer.
  • germanboygermanboy Member Posts: 9
    The automatic transmission is rated for 0-60 at 9.1 seconds. Since the manual transmission time was nowhere available, I tested it myself with a stop-clock. First, I tested an automatic 2.5 and got exactly 9.1 seconds. Confident in my experimental procedure, I tested my manual. I did 0-60 in 8.1 seconds (I'm originally from Germany, so I know a few tricks when it comes to make the most out of a manual). Even more, since I had to shift to third at around 58 mph (rev limiter), I tested my 0-58 mph and got 7.7 seconds. Imagine if the rev limiter were set just a little higher... Bottom line: With a manual this car (2.5) is actually zippy!
  • tdgtdg Member Posts: 6
    OK, this may sound a little old, but I'm only 30. If performance creeps into a conversation for cars around 20K, you've got to forget it. There is no way you are going to get true performance for 20K on a new car. Used, yes, but you forefit other options.

    My suggestion is this: Test drive the cars (manual if you are hoping to approach performance, although you specified automatic), and see what you like best.

    My wife drives a Mazda 6, so I can assume a little expertise on the Mazda front: Great car, fun to drive, but you should have bought the 3 two years ago when noone else had them. Now, the prices have been rising higher and higher, but it is a great looking and performing car with a really small back seat.

    The Jetta I can claim no expertise for: But my opinion is that it is really boring (I mean no offense). I'm not saying it is ugly, but the old style was much better - same with the Passat. In terms of reliability, I'd have to say to forego the new Jetta. I have two friends who have had problems with their new Jettas. Just because it is German, doesn't mean it is better. Look at the electrical problems on many BMWs.

    As far as the Legacy, I own the '06 Legacy Limited. Leather, blah blah blah... love it. It isn't going to break any land speed records, but it is plenty of fun to drive, especially if you learn how to really play with AWD. If you look at the SE or base models, and give them a shot, I think you'd probably be very surprised. And reliability? The average Subie owner keeps the car 8-12 years. That must say something. Oh, and you mentioned the Auto-sports shift. Subaru has it (I have it in mine). It's fun, but really, don't sweat it, it isn't a replacement for a manual.

    Good luck and have fun (don't forget other cars too: Base Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Pontiac G6, Subaru Impreza).
  • mlgbmlgb Member Posts: 4
    I recently went thru this decision. Although I have owned 3 Mazdas in a row (lastly two Proteges) I went with the Subaru.

    The deal breaker was the enclosed trunk area in the Mazda (the part that is covered when the seats are up).I could not lay a golf bag sideways across. I was surprised because my 2000 Protege sedan has a huge trunk.

    The Subaru has a more comfortable and quieter ride, less engine noise, fewer road bumps (I tested them on the same stretch of road). The handling is just as good as the Mazda. The Mazda's manual is much easier to shift. The engine in the Subaru was quieter than I expected, and plenty peppy.

    I like the styling of both cars, although the Mazda wins hand down on interior, the Subaru is not as spartan as I expected. Kind of tailored, and neat. I like the sport seats although nothing is a comfortable as the Mazda seats for me.

    I have not yet taken new car on a long road trip, will report back after the break in period. The one thing that is bugging me is no light in the trunk area!!!!
  • nofeernofeer Member Posts: 381
    bang for buck i think the 3 bests most, looks better than the vw and the seats for me are much better than the civic coupe i tried, but i need to sit in the ex sedan. tested the 3 with a 5sp (2.3 5door0 it's that torque that makes the difference since most of my driving is from 0-45.
    need to know if the 3 grand touring has stability control, i plan to consider the grand touring with leather and 5M but to get the most from safety you need the side, curtain airbags and stability control

    but since i like to test drive cars anyway, i will try the vw and suburu.
    here's my needs
    4 doors
    stab control
    airbags-up down, sideways that is the major thing that improves safety in the smaller cars.

    5-6sp (but i don't want to make icecream or taffy so shifting my brains out to get a little extra performance won't work for me.

    FUN TO DRIVE--i drive a minivan now, this is for work and business, let uncle sam pay for some of my driving joy

    looks good (subjective, i think the civic is cool, but the 3 has a bit more spark.

    has anyone tested the mazdaspeed3?

    any links to the most complete comparison of the above?
This discussion has been closed.