2023 VW Jetta Vs Mazda 3: A Comparison

VW Jetta Vs Mazda 3

Table of Contents

The compact sedan market is brimming with options that cater to a wide range of tastes and requirements, making it a challenge for buyers to zero in on the perfect car. Two standout contenders in this space are the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2023 Mazda 3, which have both managed to attract attention with their stylish designs, excellent performance, and practical features. 

As you delve into this in-depth comparison, you’ll discover the unique strengths of each vehicle that set them apart and help determine which one is the right fit for you.

Exterior Design:

Volkswagen has done an impressive job updating the Jetta for 2023, giving it a more modern and refined look. The sleek lines and sharp creases of the Jetta make for an elegant and aerodynamic profile. The car’s front end features LED headlights and a signature grille that adds to its premium appearance.

Mazda, on the other hand, has stuck to their KODO design philosophy with the 2023 Mazda 3. This philosophy emphasizes the connection between car and driver, resulting in a fluid, dynamic look that is unmistakably Mazda. The Mazda 3 boasts slim LED headlights, a bold front grille, and an aggressive stance that conveys a sense of motion even when parked.

Interior Design:

Inside the 2023 VW Jetta, you will find a well-appointed cabin that emphasizes comfort and simplicity. The Jetta’s dashboard layout is both functional and visually appealing, with easy-to-use controls and a crisp, modern infotainment system. High-quality materials are used throughout, giving the Jetta a premium feel.

The 2023 Mazda 3 also delivers a sophisticated interior with an emphasis on driver-centric design. The cabin features a minimalist approach, with a sleek, horizontal dashboard and a floating infotainment screen. The Mazda 3’s materials are also top-notch, with a mixture of soft-touch plastics and premium fabrics that provide a sense of luxury.

Seating:

The 2023 Jetta and Mazda 3 both offer comfortable seating for up to five passengers. In the Jetta, you will find supportive seats with ample legroom and headroom in both the front and rear. The seats are well-bolstered and provide good support for long drives.

In the Mazda 3, the seating is similarly comfortable, with an emphasis on ergonomics and driver engagement. The Mazda 3 features well-contoured seats that provide excellent support and ample room for passengers. However, some taller passengers might find rear headroom to be slightly limited due to the car’s sloping roofline.

Storage:

When it comes to cargo space, the 2023 VW Jetta has a slight edge over the Mazda 3. The Jetta offers 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space, providing ample room for luggage, groceries, or other cargo. The rear seats can also be folded down for additional storage options.

The Mazda 3’s trunk space is slightly smaller, coming in at 13.2 cubic feet. Despite this difference, the Mazda 3 still offers plenty of space for most daily needs, and its 60/40-split folding rear seats add extra versatility.

Performance:

The 2023 VW Jetta comes equipped with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, providing responsive acceleration and a comfortable ride.

The Mazda 3, meanwhile, is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, offering lively performance and agile handling. The Mazda 3 also offers an optional all-wheel-drive system for improved traction in various driving conditions.

Fuel Efficiency:

The VW Jetta boasts impressive fuel efficiency figures, with an EPA-estimated rating of 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. This makes the Jetta an excellent choice for those looking to save on fuel costs without sacrificing performance.

The Mazda 3 is also quite fuel-efficient, though not quite as much as the Jetta. The Mazda 3 achieves an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The optional all-wheel-drive system does come with a slight drop in efficiency, but it provides added peace of mind for drivers in inclement weather.

Safety:

Both the 2023 VW Jetta and Mazda 3 are equipped with a host of standard safety features, including advanced airbags, traction control, and electronic stability control. Both vehicles also come with standard driver assistance features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring.

The Jetta further offers optional safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. The Mazda 3 also has optional safety upgrades, including rear cross-traffic alert and a head-up display. Both cars have been highly rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for their crash-test performance and safety features.

Trim Levels:

The VW Jetta is available in four trim levels: S, SE, R-Line, and SEL. The base S trim comes with standard features such as LED headlights, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Higher trims offer additional amenities like a sunroof, leatherette seating, and a larger 8-inch touchscreen display.

The Mazda 3 comes in three trim levels: 2.5S, Select, and Preferred. The base 2.5S trim includes LED headlights, an 8.8-inch infotainment display, and smartphone integration. Upgrading to the Select or Preferred trims adds features like leatherette seating, dual-zone climate control, and a premium audio system.

Pricing:

The VW Jetta has a starting price of around $20,000 for the base S trim, making it an affordable option for those looking for a well-equipped compact sedan. The higher trims range in price from around $23,000 to $27,000, offering additional features and amenities for those looking for a more luxurious experience.

The Mazda 3 has a slightly higher starting price of around $21,500 for the base 2.5S trim. The Select and Preferred trims range in price from approximately $23,500 to $26,000. While the Mazda 3 is a bit more expensive, it offers a premium experience and impressive performance.

Key Differences

Performance:

The Jetta comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that produces 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the Mazda 3 offers a slightly more powerful 2.5-liter engine with 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda 3 also has an optional all-wheel-drive system, providing better traction in various driving conditions.

Fuel Efficiency:

The Jetta boasts superior fuel efficiency, with EPA-estimated ratings of 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The Mazda 3 achieves slightly lower figures, with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

Cargo Space:

The 2023 VW Jetta offers slightly more cargo space, with 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space compared to the Mazda 3’s 13.2 cubic feet. Both vehicles feature 60/40-split folding rear seats for added versatility.

Pricing:

The VW Jetta has a lower starting price of around $20,000, whereas the base 2023 Mazda 3 begins at approximately $21,500. Both vehicles offer various trim levels with additional features and amenities at higher price points.

Trim Levels:

The Jetta is available in four trim levels (S, SE, R-Line, and SEL), while the Mazda 3 comes in three trim levels (2.5S, Select, and Preferred). Each trim level offers a unique set of features and equipment tailored to different buyer preferences.

Final Thoughts

The Jetta offers a more elegant design, superior fuel efficiency, and larger cargo space, while the Mazda 3 delivers a more engaging driving experience, an upscale interior, and a fluid exterior design. 

Ultimately, your choice will depend on what factors matter most to you. By taking both vehicles for a test drive, you can get a feel for their unique characteristics and make an informed decision based on your individual needs and lifestyle.

Features Breakdown:

2023 VW Jetta Features:

  • Exterior Design:
    • Refined and elegant appearance
    • Sleek lines and sharp creases
    • LED headlights and signature grille
  • Interior Design:
    • Comfortable and simple cabin
    • Functional dashboard layout
    • High-quality materials
  • Seating:
    • Supportive seats with ample legroom and headroom
    • Comfortable for up to five passengers
  • Storage:
    • 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space
    • 60/40-split folding rear seats
  • Performance:
    • 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque
    • 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Fuel Efficiency:
    • EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway
  • Safety:
    • Advanced airbags, traction control, and electronic stability control
    • Standard driver assistance features
    • Highly rated by NHTSA and IIHS
  • Trim Levels:
    • S, SE, R-Line, and SEL
  • Pricing:
    • Starting price of around $20,000

2023 Mazda 3 Features:

  • Exterior Design:
    • Fluid and dynamic KODO design philosophy
    • Slim LED headlights and bold front grille
    • Aggressive stance
  • Interior Design:
    • Sophisticated and driver-centric cabin
    • Minimalist dashboard layout
    • Premium materials
  • Seating:
    • Comfortable and ergonomic seating
    • Accommodates up to five passengers
  • Storage:
    • 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space
    • 60/40-split folding rear seats
  • Performance:
    • 2.5-liter engine with 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque
    • 6-speed automatic transmission
    • Optional all-wheel-drive system
  • Fuel Efficiency:
    • EPA-estimated 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway
  • Safety:
    • Advanced airbags, traction control, and electronic stability control
    • Standard driver assistance features
    • Highly rated by NHTSA and IIHS
  • Trim Levels:
    • 2.5S, Select, and Preferred
  • Pricing:
    • Starting price of around $21,500

About Marcus The Car Guy

I've been in car sales and finance for over 20 years, working at the highest volume dealerships in the nation including Fletcher Jones, DCH and more. Want to pick my brain on finding cars, negotiating cars, and structuring car deals?

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