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Mazda Mazda3 vs. Volkswagen Jetta Reliability by Model Generation

Results are for year ending September 30, 2016. Only successfully completed repairs are currently included in the analysis. Routine maintenance, most wear items, recalls, and problems fixed with just a reflash or warning light reset are not included.
Year and Model Percent of Average  
2015 - 2016 Volkswagen Jetta
23.1428571429% Best 78% Worst
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2014 - 2016 Mazda Mazda3
23.7142857143% Best 79% Worst
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2011 - 2014 Volkswagen Jetta
40.8571428571% Best 109% Worst
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2010 - 2013 Mazda Mazda3
7.71428571429% Best 51% Worst
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2004 - 2009 Mazda Mazda3
35.1428571429% Best 99% Worst
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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability And Durability of the Mazda Mazda3

Mazda Mazda3 Reliability And Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2012 4dr Sedan 155-horsepower 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
It was neck and neck between the Mazda3 and the MINI COOPER. I had my heart set on the MINI, but reliability was the deciding factor. I spent countless hours researching vehicles over the last several months and was very dismayed at all the mechanical issues that plague the MINI. On the other hand the Mazda3 seems to be very much trouble free. I really wanted a MINI, but I knew its 'cool' fun to drive personality wouldn't be enough to overcome the reliability headaches I could expect. full 2012 Mazda Mazda3 review
2012 4dr Hatch 155-horsepower 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
I do have to hand it to this car; it's been DEAD RELIABLE. Nothing has been broken enough to warrant a trip to the shop. THe only issue I had was with the heater fan making noise, and then the heater stopped working at the end of last winter, but it is woring normally now, without a repair. full 2012 Mazda Mazda3 review
2011 4dr Sedan 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Reputation for reliability. full 2011 Mazda Mazda3 review
2011 4dr Sedan 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Consumer Reports top rated is always a good choice. full 2011 Mazda Mazda3 review
2010 4dr Hatch 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Always rated well full 2010 Mazda Mazda3 review
2010 4dr Sedan 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
6-speed manual FWD
Mazda has been a reliable purveyor of fun cars, and its Mazda 3 is no disappointment. The new-for-2010 version features overhauled sheetmetal and extra cabin refinement, and a 3 s Sport model. full 2010 Mazda Mazda3 review
2010 4dr Sedan 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
I;ve had them in past and have had no warranty issues and other than regular maintenance had not had to take them in to get serviced. full 2010 Mazda Mazda3 review
2010 4dr Sedan 148-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
I have been impressed with previous Mazdas I have owned. The 3 was well rated with CR and other automotive sites. full 2010 Mazda Mazda3 review
2009 4dr Sedan 148-horsepower 2.0L I4
4-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Have owned other Mazdas and liked them. full 2009 Mazda Mazda3 review
2009 4dr Hatch turbocharged 263hp 2.3L I4
6-speed manual FWD
reliabiilty is excellent so far. both rear shocks leaked after about 65,000 miles. one oxygen sensor replacemnent. that is it so far. made in hiroshima says it all i guess full 2009 Mazda Mazda3 review
Mazda Mazda3 Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2010 4dr Sedan 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
According to various sources it is not as good as Honda/Toyota. I had 0 problems with the 3. In equal time and distance the Corrola had given me some light headache though. full 2010 Mazda Mazda3 review
2010 4dr Hatch 167-horsepower 2.5L I4
6-speed manual FWD
The drivetrain reliability on this car is awful. Clutch started failing at 40K, axles have gone bad, wheel bearings have gone bad, suspension has been replaced.. full 2010 Mazda Mazda3 review
2009 4dr Hatch 156-horsepower 2.3L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
I got this from previous owner. full 2009 Mazda Mazda3 review
2008 4dr Hatch turbocharged 263hp 2.3L I4
6-speed manual FWD
turbo might be unreliable full 2008 Mazda Mazda3 review
2008 4dr Sedan 148-horsepower 2.0L I4
4-speed shiftable automatic FWD
My alternator went out after 10,000 miles of gentle driving. It happened to fail as I was driving through the coastal Oregon mountains, causing me to lose power steering intermittently on the twisties. Inexcusable for modern, brand-new automobile!! full 2008 Mazda Mazda3 review
2006 4dr Hatch 160-horsepower 2.3L I4
5-speed manual FWD
I am getting an intermittent CEL coming on, and it seems to be missing every now and then. Not sure if it is bad tank of gas, or a plug is dirty, but it is a little disconcerting. Sometimes when you pull away you feel it jerk a little, and then it kicksin full 2006 Mazda Mazda3 review
2006 4dr Sedan 160-horsepower 2.3L I4
5-speed manual FWD
Perhaps I have a lemon or drive it too hard, but have replaced: Clutch at 22k (free fix from dealer) Right Axle (CV joints clicking) at 65k ($480 part!) Left Axle (CV joints) starting to click Broken engine mount (rear, #3 I think) at 50k inspection full 2006 Mazda Mazda3 review
2005 4dr Sedan 160-horsepower 2.3L I4
4-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Had several repairs during warranty. None engine related except one. Nearly every repair was covered by a TSB so known problems. Plus developed rust on inside door panels due to improper factory clean;Mazda has a lot of problems with rust in this model full 2005 Mazda Mazda3 review
2005 4dr Hatch 160-horsepower 2.3L I4
5-speed manual FWD
I've owned many great Mazdas in the past and they have always been exceptional cars, but this 3 has been awful. Everything was OK until around 70k miles and from there on out it has been nonstop issues.
  • Brakes - Plan on replacing rotors every time you do pads
  • Tie Rod - Broke clean in half at 80k miles. The car was never in a collision or anything that could have explained it. If I was on the highway I could have seriously crashed the car
  • Belt Tensioner - Only available OEM (and pricey)
  • Control arms, bushings (front and rear), constant clunks and thuds from the suspension.
  • Broken shock mounts
  • Heater Core at 90k miles
  • Wheel bearings - In 127k miles I have done all 4 twice. My mechanic says that this is common on all of the 3's he services.
  • Front End shimmy - It has had a shimmy of varying degrees constantly since about 50k miles on. I will get a bunch of front end work done, replace rotors, or balance tires, and it will be better, but never gone
  • All sorts of electrical weirdness (Sometimes the "you forgot your key in the ignition" chime wont go off until you turn the car back on/off)
  • Headlights - You will replace them so often that you can do it in your sleep. We also have a Mazda 5 and it is the same way. I have even had to replace the weird socket adapters they use. Currently I am getting no power at all to the passengers side. Also, those clear lenses haze like crazy.
  • Horn - even the slightest puddle drowns it. Mine seemed to have been shorted out as the relay trips but now I dont even get power to the horn itself
  • The condensate drain for the AC clogs constantly. If you dont notice it, it will slowly start to seep into the carpet and cause a wonderful mildew funk. Its easy to fix with a chopstick or pencil, but I have never had a car where this is an issue before.
  • Cruise Control now toggles off/on/off/on creating a wonderful seasick sensation
I would like to mention that I'm not some boy racer constantly hooning around. My car is completely stock, I'm a 38 year old dad, and 90% of the miles on it are highway back and forth to work. This is my daily commuter. full 2005 Mazda Mazda3 review
2004 4dr Sedan 160-horsepower 2.3L I4
4-speed shiftable automatic FWD
No major problems but there are still some problems with brake dust in the rear. Had to have the front passenger window fixed (got loose). Purge valve was found defective. Transmission 2nd gear shifted hard until the software was updated. full 2004 Mazda Mazda3 review
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability And Durability of the Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta Reliability And Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2012 4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed manual FWD
I drive an average of 20,000 miles per year and am currently on track to put more than 40,000 miles in two years of ownership. Not one problem whatsoever. No visits to dealership other than routine maintenance. Very solid vehicle so far. full 2012 Volkswagen Jetta review
2010 4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
We purchased the vehicle new in June 2012. Around Oct I noticed a bubble on the lower half of the steering wheel. It did not bother me until I seen a thread was starting to come undone. We showed the dealer and they said to monitor it, and if it gets worse come back in. On a weekend trip it came undone more. Once back in town we took it in, and they scheduled to replace it. They did so under warranty with not problems. Besides this One problem the vehicle as been flawless. With just over 40k miles on the vehicle we both say we would get another one. Problem is I told the wife she MUST wait tell 150k miles to get a new vehicle. full 2010 Volkswagen Jetta review
2009 4dr Sedan 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Comes with a good warranty and free oil changes. VW has a good reputation for building quality vehicles. full 2009 Volkswagen Jetta review
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
After 105,000 I can say that this car has been very reliable. Timing belt and water pump at 85000 to be safe. A front bearing went bad at 40000. A turbo sensor went bad at 100000. Brakes lasted til 80000. Never has needed an alignment. No other issues. This car just runs and runs. full 2009 Volkswagen Jetta review
2008 4dr Sedan 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
With the odometer reading over 36,000 miles I have not had any unpleasant surprises or repairs. full 2008 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan 150-horsepower 2.5L I5
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
The car has held together very well in the 26,000 miles I have owned it. True Delta and Consumer Reports both show that reliability is good and improved considerably over older VWs. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
Diesel powertrains are renown for their durability. My brother has a diesel Golf with 120,000 still purring. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
Diesel reliability and longevity. Gotten nearly 5 years out of the car without any of the stereotypical VW glitches. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2004 4dr Sedan 115-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
This has been a trouble-free car for four years & 40,000+ miles. full 2004 Volkswagen Jetta review
2004 4dr Sedan turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
The diesel engine is proven and will last a very long time if properly maintained- which does add to the expense of the vehicle in the long run. It appears to be well built and sound, in comparison to some other makes of vehicles I have ridden in. full 2004 Volkswagen Jetta review
Volkswagen Jetta Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2013 4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
Sunroof decided to not close after two weeks, I had to give it a little help with my hand, then after three days it fixed itself. If it happens again it'll have to go back to the dealer for repair. Otherwise no problems. full 2013 Volkswagen Jetta review
2011 4dr Sedan 115-horsepower 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
VW has traditionally had troubles with reliability. We've had the Jetta for 9 months and 8,000 miles (daughter's car) and thus far there have been four admittedly minor recalls. On positive, structure feels sturdy all controls appear of hi full 2011 Volkswagen Jetta review
2010 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
1 year old, shop needed to work on motor at least twice. full 2010 Volkswagen Jetta review
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
More than a little concerned about Volkswagen’s lingering reputation for poor reliability, high repair costs, parts availability and short livened parts. full 2009 Volkswagen Jetta review
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed manual FWD
This car has required too many repairs: clutch master cylinder failure (125k miles) clutch slave cylinder failure (167k miles master replaced again, just to be sure) DMF failure (186k miles converted to SMF) HPFP failure (167k and 190k miles) - $5500 repair (VW paid for first one) motor mount failure (drivers side) P2015 intake manifold flap problem (fixed with dieselgeeks kit) Exhaust pressure sensor 2 failure Delayed air conditioning Forgot that it had aux input when battery disconnected I did drive the car for 115,000 and its ability to generate expensive repairs never ceased to amaze me. Parts are very expensive and the labor times are long because it is difficult to work on. Also this was the first year of the Common Rail diesel engine, and there are a lot of problems that weren't worked out. (example: High Pressure Fuel Pump and single piece diesel particulate filter). Bottom Line: think really hard before you buy a 2009 VW Jetta TDI full 2009 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan 150-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
I ran into many interior cosmetic trim issues during the warranty period, however no major mechanical problems. Now at ~67k miles I have had to replace the drivers door latch and one of my radiator cooling fans is acting up. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
A few annoying problems to date. Electrical system issues. Nothing in the powertrain or major subsystems. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed manual FWD
TDI engine lasts forever if you take care of it, but its a VW and they are notorious for needing lots of repairs on everything else on the car. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan 150-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
Fuel pump had to be replaced around 73k miles. Car felt sluggish after I bought it used. I had a bad feeling the pump was going to go. Luckily there was a dealer only 36 miles away in Billing, MT that JUST opened. I limped the car in. Wish I had my tools I could've done the repair in the parking lot. Lift the bottom of the back seat up and there it is. full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
06 Jetta TDI has a long list of common issues, all of which I have had, Transmission valve body failure, dual mass flywheel catastrophic failure, camshafts wear out which puts steel bits inside engine, expensive EGR coolers fail. Beware! full 2006 Volkswagen Jetta review