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Toyota Corolla vs. Mazda3 vs. Volkswagen Jetta vs. Chevrolet Cobalt

tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
edited July 2014 in Chevrolet
I am looking for a replacement for a 1997 Toyota Camry. Though people say Toyota Camry's use less gas, mine is giving horrific numbers(20 miles per gallon in highway, and less in the city). Also, the Camry was a kind of bland looking car, with a very mushy ride. Also, for the money, it doesn't have much features: this car was $20,500 new, and didn't even have a CD player.(who plays cassettes anymore?!!) So know I lowered my choices to Toyota Corolla , Mazda 3 , Volkswaggen Jetta, and Chevrolet Cobalt. I want the best choice of these 3 cars, that give me good fuel economy, decent power, some style, features for the money, a good amount of interior room, and reliability. Any suggestions?


  • dchevdchev Posts: 38
    Hello tpulak,
    If you can wait until February 11, 2007, I would recommend 2009 Toyota Corolla.
    It will be new generation Corolla with good fuel economy and many standard options. Unless, you want the 9th generation Corolla, which is also good (I have it and love it, so far).
    If you can not wait, Mazda 3, Honda Civic, or Hyundai Elantra are good choices.
    Or maybe Scion xD.......I like Mazda 3, but many people say that it has low fuel economy.
    Go test drive them and see for yourself, but Honda and Scion (Toyota Corolla) will have the best fuel economy, style and reliability.
    Also check, and you can find excellent prices for any of these cars.
    Good Luck
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I like Mazda 3, but many people say that it has low fuel economy.

    The Mazda3 i has good fuel economy, only a couple MPG's behind Honda and Toyota, but, it has more power. Mazda3 s has lower fuel economy, but, by far the most power.

    Honda and Scion (Toyota Corolla) will have the best fuel economy, style and reliability.

    All are very reliable. Will not go wrong with any. Style is totally subjective.

    Go test drive them and see for yourself

    Best advise. Need to drive them to see what fits you best.
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    It depends what features you need to have. IMO, you can't beat a Cobalt LS for most bang for the buck. A basic Cobalt will be your least expensive, followed by the Corolla. The Mazda 3 and Jetta are a step up as far as features, sportiness, looks, etc.. The Corolla will feel the least powerful, but will yield the best fuel economy, The Cobalt has more power than the Corolla and a few less MPGs The 5cyl engine in the Jetta is a whole different class of engine IMO and not that great economy wise. The Mazda 3 and Jetta will be thousands of dollars more than a Cobalt or Corolla.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I lowered my choices to Toyota Corolla , Mazda 3 , Volkswaggen Jetta, and Chevrolet Cobalt.
    I would not say that this is lowering your choices but rather checking a segment segment than the Toyota Camry. Some of us think small is beautiful. On the other hand, you may find these cars are too small for your needs. The good news is that the new Toyota Camry is fuel efficient and no longer bland.

    cars, that give me good fuel economy, decent power, some style, features for the money, a good amount of interior room, and reliability.
    You may want to use the extensive research of Consumer Reports that compiles information from millions of drivers annually. CR rates the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Honda Civic highly in terms of features, price and reliability. The VW and the Cobalt are another story. Test drive the ones that seem interesting to see which is best for you. Best of luck.
  • Feb. 11, 2008. ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    CR doesn't rate the price of cars. So the fact that, for example, one compact costs $2000 less than another doesn't factor into its rankings. As for features, CR does rate the Civic (EX and Hybrid specifically) and Mazda3 highly, but it actually ranks the Jetta (also the previous-gen Focus and the Elantra) above the Corolla. The Cobalt is above only the Ion and Forenza in CR's rankings. As far as reliability, it ranks the Civic Hybrid and Corolla highest in this class in reliability, with the Civic EX, Mazda3, and Impreza above-average in reliability also. (As of last October CR didn't have enough data to rate the Elantra, Lancer, Sentra, and Forenza in reliability.)
  • dchevdchev Posts: 38
    I am not sure about Mazda 3 fuel economy :confuse:
    I have read about 20-24 MPG fuel economy with 2.3 litter engine.
    Now, this is very low fuel economy!!!!! V6 engines even top this fuel economy. For example, I used to have 2005 Toyota Solara SLE with 3.3l engine, and I usually could get 26MPG average fuel economy.
    Now, If Mazda 3 could get on average 30MPG, wow it will be the perfect car for me.
    I love Mazda 3 design; I believe Mazda 3 HB is the best looking vehicle, but fuel economy is poor for me!!! This is only my opinion. It depends what you want!
    However, if we talk about fuel economy at 20-26 MPG, there are good choices in Mazda 3 price range. You can buy Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima.....and all these cars have fuel economy in 25-28 MPG!!!
    It is a personal choice, and it is a good idea to go and test drive all vehicles you like, and then choose the best one that fits your budget!
    Personally, I made my choice with 2007 Toyota Corolla, and I like it. I know it is not a Lexus, but it gives me comfortable ride and good fuel economy - average 30-32MPG.
    Good luck! :)
  • 2008 Mazda 3
    Manual 5 speed - 2L engine - 24/32 mpg
    Automatic 4 speed - 2L engine - 23/31 mpg
    Manual 5 speed - 2.3L engine - 22/29 mpg
    Automatic 5 speed - 2.3L engine - 22/29 mpg
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    CR doesn't rate the price of cars. So the fact that, for example, one compact costs $2000 less than another doesn't factor into its rankings.

    CR ... ranks the Jetta ... above the Corolla.
    Hmmm, let's check that Oct. 2007 issue of CR again. CR makes clear that in addition to the ranking score, the vehicle's reliability is key to getting a recommendation. Only vehicles with good reliability are recommended. Since the Jetta has only "fair" reliability, CR does not recommend it. This is not new, the Jetta has a long history of poor reliability and has not been recommended by CR for quite a while. CR does recommend the Corolla as well as the Mazda3, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Subaru Impreza.

    The Cobalt is above only the Ion and Forenza in CR's rankings.
    Same here, the Cobalt is not a recommended vehicle.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    You are confusing CR's rankings of cars with their recommendations. First, they rank cars in order of how they perform in their road tests. Then they decide which cars to recommend. To be recommended, the car must score acceptably in its tests, must have good overall crash test scores, and must have at least average predicted reliability. (There is a "top" level recommendation also, with more stringent criteria.)

    So it is true that CR ranks the Jetta above the Corolla. But the Corolla is recommended, while the Jetta is not because the reliability of the 2.5L models has been below average. (That means, technically, CR could recommend the turbo and diesel versions of the Jetta, which have average reliability, but CR doesn't get that fine-grained in its recommendations.)
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    You are confusing CR's rankings of cars with their recommendations.
    Well, let's say that the rank means little without the recommendation.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Why is that? What if someone wants to buy a new model that CR has tested, it's done well in their tests, but there's not enough reliability data for CR to recommended it yet. Are you saying that no one should buy that car until CR's surveys cough up enough data to let CR give it a predicted reliability score? :confuse:
  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
    By far, which is(overall) the most......

    least expensive:
    most powerful:
    least powerful:
    most mpg:
    least mpg:
    most reliable:
    least reliable:
    I need to see it in this format.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    As you wish, my Master [insert wheezing sound ala Darth Vader]:

    expensive: too close to call between Jetta and Mazdaspeed3
    least expensive: Cobalt, especially looking at real-world prices
    most powerful: Mazdaspeed3 in a run-away
    least powerful: Corolla
    most mpg: Corolla
    least mpg: Mazdaspeed3(?)
    most reliable: Corolla (per CR surveys)
    least reliable: (tie) Cobalt and Jetta 2.5 (per CR surveys)
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Remember this is CR you are refering to which should not be taken too seriously.
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    IMO, the only two in this list that somewhat compare are the Corolla and the Cobalt. They are both small, basic cars with a 4cyl engine and choice of 5spd or auto. As said again and again, the Cobalt will be more 'fun' to drive and feel more powerful, but wont be put together as well as the Corolla. If you want basic, no frills, non exciting, fuel efficient transportation, go with the Corolla. Who knows, you might like one over the other. The reason I bought my 2007 Cobalt LS, 4dr, auto, was there was nothing else on the market back in the spring of '07 that gave me more bang for the buck. I couldn't get a Hyundai or Kia for the out the door price I paid. (~$12100)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    The Mazda3i is also a pretty basic, 4-cylinder car with a choice of a 5 speed or automatic. In fact, I think the Mazda3i is the most well-rounded car in this bunch. It has good power (over 150 hp), great handling, good fuel economy (esp. with the 2.0L and 5-speed), good reliability, is reasonably priced (especially for a car made in Japan), and is good looking inside and out (subjective). The Mazda3i will be more fun to drive than either the Corolla or Cobalt. It's possible to get a Cobalt or even a Corolla for less money than the Mazda3i, but IMO they are not nearly the car that the Mazda3i is.

    If price is THE object, one option to consider is the Spectra--starts at around $11k in real-world pricing and is at least as good as the Corolla and better than the Cobalt, IMO.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    You get what you pay's as simple as that. Cobalt, Spectra are priced pretty low, but you don't get much in terms of options or quality. Although, the Spectra is turning out to be a decent car. Mazda3 is more of a car then both, hence, it costs more plus it has been reliable.
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    You have to bump up to the Spectra EX to get standard A/C. If you add AT, you are close to $15K. For a [lower end] Kia? C'mon. A Mazda3 will be thousands more than a Cobalt LS. Again, I think we are getting into an apples to oranges comparison. IMO, if you intend to spend $15K+ on a small vehicle, why even consider a Cobalt??

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Did the Cobalt LS AT you bought for $12,100 have a list price of $12,100, or did you buy it for $12,100? (I noticed a 2008 Cobalt LS base model with AT lists for $15.5k.) Likewise, just because a Spectra with AC and AT lists for close to $15k doesn't mean that's what the negotiated price, with rebates, is.

    I agree though, if you are going to spend $15k for a vehicle, there are much better options than a Cobalt.
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    The sticker on my 2007 LS 4dr,AT, was $14640. I qualified for a $2000 rebate and a $500 "conquest" rebate.14640 - 2500= 12140. Which was the cash price. To complicate matters, I traded in our 2005 Trailblazer, which I owed some money on, but came out ahead in the trade in. All said and done, I got the Cobalt for just over $8K. I financed and put nothing down.

  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I think you made the correct choice. The Mazda maybe the most stylish of the group but the Cobalt is very well rounded and will get better mileage than a Mazda which is probably the lowest in the group. The Cobalt has so many nice standard features and options that to me it stands out in the overall value catagory.
  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
    Whoooa!!! Standard A/C?? I mean, how many cars come without A/C!! I need A/C here, especially because of all these heat blazes in the summer. Also, I need to know which of these cars come standard with power windows, and power locks, in base trim.
  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
    Yeah, the Mazda is quite a pit pricier. I got a price quote the other day, on a Mazda 3i, that had leather seats, and alloys, that costed me $17,490 final. But with a corolla, with was loaded with nothing(the plastic wheel covers where cheep looking!!), I got a deal of $15,380 final. I noticed, that the Toyota's options were so expensive! Like when I tried to opt for the alloy wheels, they said the price would have been around the 16,000 's. I did,'t want to go that far(with a toyota). I am still waiting for the prices of a chevy Cobalt, and , finally, for the Jetta, its outta mind. The only reason-- it costs tooo much for a compact sedan. I got a price on it for $19,855 final. So far , what do you people think of these prices?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Why does it matter whether features like A/C and power windows/locks come standard in base trim, if they are readily available as options? It's common for low-end cars like these (although Jetta is not really a "low-end car" compared to others) to be offered in a bare-bones "price leader" trim so that the automaker can advertise a low starting price. Then you have some low-end cars that don't offer standard A/C and/or power windows/locks on the base trim, but do offer important safety features like six airbags and even ABS as standard on all trims. Again, what is the big deal as long as the equipment you want is readily available?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    A final price for a Mazda3i with alloys and leather of $17.5k seems pretty reasonable (although it must have been custom leather, since the 3i doesn't offer leather as an option). The Jetta can be pretty reasonable if you get the base model with no options, but even that car is pretty well equipped for this class. I don't know what trim you were quoted on the Jetta for $20k, but it must have been an up-level trim. The base Jetta 2.5 S 6AT starts at around $18k invoice, add about $400 for 16" alloys. That Jetta quoted for $20k must be pretty well equipped!
  • I would look for a certified 2007 Impala with the 3.5 litre 6. I had a 2006 model and it consistantly got around 20 mpg in the city and 30-32 on the road. Why put up with a small 4cyl compact car when you can be more comfortable, get the same or better gas mileage and hold more people and luggage in an Impala for less money. A new Impala is throwing money down the drain considering that it depriciates 50% in the first year. Buying a 5-10k mile one for about $15k is worthwhile. Paying $23k for a new one like I did is stupid.
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    I agree, a late model, low mileage Chevy Imp is an awesome buy. You get a lot of car for the money. We've got a few in the family. Problem is- you are not going to average ~30mpg per tank with an Impala unless it's nothing but a long steady hywy run. You'll average say 30mpg with a Cobalt and 25mpg per tank with an Imp. It adds up with gasoline the price it is.

  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
    The Jetta was kinda equipped, with leather seats as well as alloys, but somehow, from the distance, it seemed like wheel covers.I really don't wanna spend 20k on a Jetta. Its not worth it. I also found a totally base Mazda 3i(it came with power windows, and locks, though i am not sure that's an option) for $14,500 total. But I saw a fully equipped used Mazda for $11,355 , and it only had 13,500 miles. The owner was a private guy, and he had no intention to make money. Everything was in good shape, with the exception of a small 1/2 inch scratch in the back fender. Sure it had plastic wheel covers, and fur seats, but it was better of than the corolla. Which deal is better? The Chevy a good deal, but I noticed some loose plastic trim pieces. And the plastic pieces were cheap too. Though this is a compact sedan, I would still want some quality stuff. :) For some reason, Mazda's trim pieces felt more quality.The gaps were so tight, I don't think a penny could go through the gaps. The corolla's quality was good too, but I noticed some inconsistent gaps, and some rough edges. In fact, I'm wearing a bandage now, as I am typing this sentence. I am surprised with the Jetta's build quality too. The materials were even better than the Mazda, but it had inconsistent gaps more than the Corolla had. I have a question: does the Mazda 3(in any trim) come with wood trim. I personally prefer wood trim (even fake) to metallic trim(the metallic trim is fake anyway). I own an Acura MDX, that has woodtrim, so I like the grand feel. I mean its kind of weird that the Corolla comes with fake woodtrim in LE, and that leads to a luxury like feel.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Power windows/locks are an option to the 3i, or part of a trim package like the Touring package.

    If you can wait awhile to buy, the 3 is getting a Touring VE package (kinda like that on the 6) in January. It's supposed to be like the Touring "plus" with 17" alloys, and I think standard safety package (side bags, ABS) plus some other goodies. If it's anything like the VE package on the 6, it will be quite a bargain.

    The 2008 3i is supposed to have "zebra-pattern" wood trim standard--doesn't it? I recall it's a very dark grained plood, not your traditional orangeish plood. Looked quite tasteful (for plod).
This discussion has been closed.