Volkswagen Golf vs Mazda 3
First up is the all new Mazda 3, which aims to build on the award winning success of the brand’s talented and fashionable CX 5 crossover and sleek 6 saloon.The rakish 3 hatchback promises real premium appeal, featuring head turning looks and an upmarket interior. It also aims to be as ugg boots sale fun to drive as Mazda’s legendary MX 5 roadster. On top of this, it’s lighter than its predecessor and packed with the company’s efficiency boosting SkyActiv technology, so it should cost less to run than before.As with other models in the Mazda line up, the newcomer is avail ugg boots sale able in three trim levels: SE, SE L and Sport. And in the 3’s road test debut, we run the rule over the fast and frugal 2.2D SE L, which costs 20,745.Going head to head with the Mazda is one of the most desirable five door hatchbacks money can buy: the VW Golf. Now in its seventh generation, the car oozes class and quality, is practical and doesn’t cost much to run. It graces VWs with the latest fuel saving kit, including stop start and regenerative braking.Mazda’s SkyActiv models mix efficient engine tech with lightweight construction. But the highlight is the brand’s i eloop stop start. There’s no 12V power supply and no shopping bag hooks, plus the Golf has an extra underfloor cubby. At idle, the smooth, free revving 2.2 litre diesel is barely audible, registering 44dB on our sound meter. By comparison, the clattery Golf recorded a relatively high 48dB.But on the move, the Mazda’s advantage is eroded. While engine noise and wind noise are well suppressed, there’s a lot of tyre roar. As a result, it showed exactly the same readings at 30mph and 70mph as the refined Golf.1st place: Volkswagen GolfThis was one of our closest road test verdicts of the year, but ultimately the Golf does just enough to take the win. Although it’s the more expensive choice here, it’s as cheap to run and has stronger residuals. It’s also more practical, boasts a softer ride and is very nearly as good to drive.The VW trails on standard kit, but it gets all the essentials, such as a DAB radio. Plus, while it can’t match the Mazda’s official economy claims, the Golf was more frugal on test, returning a strong 46.5mpg. You’ll shell out less on routine maintenance for the VW too, thanks to a top value 299 servicing pack. This covers the car for three years and 30,000 miles.The new Mazda 3 is great value, fun to drive and surpris ugg boots sale ingly cost effective to run. It’s also fast, impressively refined and extremely well put together. Trouble is, it can’t match the best in the class in terms of practicality, while the infotainment system is a little frustrating.Mazda has ignored the trend for turbo petrol engines. Even so, the entry level 99bhp 1.5 and 118bhp 2.0 litre petrol versions of the new 3 emit just 119g/km of CO2. There’s also a 163bhp 2.0 litre that puts out 135g/km.Unlike many rivals, the Mazda is also available as a four door saloon. It has a 419 litre boot bigger than the five door’s plus is more aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of 0.26. There are no plans to launch a 3 estate, though.Unfortunately, Autoexpress’ bias towards VAG is becoming so blatantly obvious they need to address it. The Seat wins over the 308 with the narrowest of margins. The Golf wins over the Mazda 3 with the narrowest of margins.When most cars shade it, it’s because of better handling. In this case, the Golf shades it because of softer damping quite to the contrary of what you normally do.As a result, I find your group tests including VAG products almost redundant. The tests without VAG products seem more objective and worthy of a read. It truly is a sad story. I’ve driven both cars, and in my opinion, I would easily choose the Mazda.Concerning luggage space; the Mazda has a full size spare wheel that detracts from space. The Golf includes the compartment under the floor in it’s official litres, unless I’m mistaken. If you look at both trunks, the Mazda looks to have the more practical space as it is longer but not as high or is it just about numbers to AE?The Golf is more expensive, has less equipment, is worse to drive, it looks like it was designed during the last century, has softer suspension (wow, that was a shock! I though Autoexpress a ugg boots sale lways praises firm/sport rides), noisier engine, higher emissions.It says the Golf has better mileage but it fails to give the numbers for Mazda. Officially the Golf does 88mpg, here it only managed half of that.