The Big Test: 2014/2015 Hatchbacks - Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, and VW
Booty Inspection: Check out Our Hatchback Plunder and Their Big Behinds
So, you're in the market for a sensibly sized and reasonably styled hatchback. You want to be able to hunt parallel parking spaces without anxiety ("I should have bought a smaller car…"), accommodate four adults in comfort, and be able to inflate the cargo volume at the drop of a second row. And you want to spend less than $30K? Smart thinking, customer. Our Big Test's compact-class hatches are, by straight averages, $27,332 as tested, and boast 60 percent more storage area than their respective sedan counterparts despite measuring 9 inches shorter in exterior length. And that's before folding the back seat.
The comparison rules were simple. We asked the handful of C-segment hatchback manufacturers to share their booty, as long as our haul came with backup cameras, navigation, keyless entry, and automatic transmissions. We encouraged automakers to put their best feet forward and nearly had our entire desired competitive pool -- we were willing to make an exception for the Subaru Impreza (no keyless entry, full stop) but the delivered test car also didn't have nav, and Mitsubishi didn't have a Lancer Sportback for us. Nevertheless, our well-appointed quintet represented the heart of this specific market: Ford Focus Titanium, Hyundai Elantra GT, Kia Forte5 SX, Mazda3 with the Grand Touring option, and Volkswagen Golf SEL.
In adhering to Motor Trend Big Test standards, the winner would not be the car that makes it up and down a curvy mountain road fastest; however, we do believe that highly intelligent consumers wouldn't mind the occasional spirited drive. In order to sit atop the podium's gold step, the chosen one had to rate highly from the average buyer's point of view, from its safety to value to the cockpit/cabin and everything in between. We fancied ourselves the Joe Public mystery shopper for compact hatches. Since the cars have voluptuous derrieres, we held the design and efficiency of their cargo bays to an elevated standard as well.
Ride and HandlingWeighed against our previous three Big Test comparisons (three-row crossover SUVs, midsize sedans, compact sedans), this edition was more fun to execute. The great thing about the relative paucity of hatchbacks in the U.S. is that the existing cars want to embody all that is holy about the "active" lifestyle. The ads depict a hatchback zipping by with Cannondales strapped to the roof, while a happy dog frolics on a campground or in a stream. The ads are telling you, "Look how lively your sedentary, pet-less existence could be (after purchasing a hatchback)."
With the higher level of activity you'll be experiencing and the destinations you'll be exploring, don't be too surprised that the group's ride and handling collectively leans toward the sporty end of the small car spectrum. Devotees of the Focus, Mazda3, and Golf won't be blindsided in the slightest, as these three have never been shy about imparting their sporting yet sophisticated aspirations whether they're assembled as sedans or hatches (think the Jetta in the VW's case).
The Ford, wearing wide (235s), sticky (0.90 g average lateral acceleration, 105-foot 60-0 stopping distance), and totally optional Michelin Pilot Sport 3 summer tires, was a blast to toss around with its quick steering (2.3 turns lock to lock) and chassis communicativeness that has few rivals in its field. The trade-offs: The car can feel twitchy on the highway because the steering reacts very sharply and suddenly just off-center, and there's no hiding the tire noise. Only the Mazda competes with the Focus in interior ruckus, though the '3 is saddled with less obvious tire roar and more general wind and road noise. The '3 loves a good cornering challenge (it's in the brand DNA) in spite of its all-season Dunlops, and only when judged against the stiffly sprung Focus were we able to consider the '3's ride somewhat relaxed. Unsurprisingly, the two's driver-centric natures bestow the least comfortable rides.
There's no question the Elantra GT exhibits the most disparity in its driving manners compared with its sedan sibling, which we deemed "would be an ideal autonomous car" in the Big Test of small sedans ("Straight Cs," June 2014). Don't let the fifth-place 0.81 lateral g fool you -- Hyundai's hatchback wants to entertain on the handling front with respectable steering and mostly controlled body movements, even if the sum of the product doesn't leave much of a positive or negative impression. The Elantra is also our median for cabin noise attenuation.
Our critics gave high marks to the Forte5 and Golf, both of which intermingle lateral dexterity and daily driving competence with a fairly muted interior. We wanted to drive them everywhere. The Golf's firm yet compliant suspension and deliberate, predictable steering and controls help the car exude a sense of self-assurance we associate with larger vehicles. The Forte5 presents itself as low, wide, and roomy from the driver's seat and handles itself well when twisties beckon. Maybe not '3, Focus, or Golf well, but it'll get where it wants to go.
PerformancePerformance not only covers the statistics revealing how quickly you can blow past Grandpa's '06 Buick Lucerne, but how each car performs when you're not mashing the accelerator pedal. If Gramps is gunning it and his car is packing the 275-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 (7.5-second 0-60), you'll want the Forte5 (6.9 seconds) or Mazda3 (7.3) to preserve your pride.
Its juxtaposition at the top of the anthill: The Forte5 features the Big Test's smallest-displacement engine (albeit with the most hp and second-most twist), whereas the '3's has the most swept volume (by a hearty 489cc). A shortest-in-comparo axle ratio and altitude-compensating turbo help propel the Kia to the front of the pack, and its responsive engine is an excellent cruising partner. The number 3250 should be memorized for the Mazda—that's the rpm where its Skyactiv 2.5-liter reaches peak torque, a nice, low engine speed for a naturally breathing I-4 and ideal for milling around the local byways. With auto transmissions we scored second (Forte5) and third best ('3) of the whole lot for shift feel, refinement, and response, both cars pass muster on the performance front.
Landing the coveted title of Best Auto Tranny in the Big Test (of Compact Hatchbacks) History is the Golf's six-speed. When hustled, it could masquerade as one of Volkswagen's twin-clutch DSG units in shift speed and response, but with the smooth launch characteristics of a torque converter. The 1.8-liter turbo-four it's bolted to delivers impressive thrust belying its 170-hp output (second lowest in attendance) and 7.8-second 0-60 time (third quickest). With 200 lb-ft peaking at 1600 rpm, the Golf never observably struggles. Our lone wish is for sharper response at takeoff from a stop, where an initial delay rears its head.
Tied for fourth in outright speed are the Ford and Hyundai with respectable 8.4-second 0-60 showings that would still fend off a 3.8-liter V-6-powered Lucerne by 0.4 second. Tallest-in-test axle and second-tallest top-gear ratios hint that the Elantra GT is set up with fuel economy in mind rather than straight-line performance. Luckily, the 2.0-liter I-4 onboard makes a world of difference when touring the suburbs over last year's 148-hp, 1.8-liter boat anchor. The Elantra's fourth-ranked transmission was praised for its velvety shifts, less so for its response to driver-initiated downshifts.
The Focus handled itself better than its disadvantageous output and weight-to-power ratio would suggest, the engine always projecting an eagerness that made it seem a smidge quicker than the Elantra GT by the seat of the pants. The twin-dry-clutch six-speed auto -- our least favored tranny by far -- still has a few kinks to iron out, the most egregious being low-speed takeoff chatter under part throttle that we could consistently reproduce. But the test car's transmission performance is a great improvement over our first tango with Focus dual-clutch automatics, which had all the feel of a continuously slipping CVT.
EfficiencyPer Big Test protocol, we have Real MPG numbers to help better gauge the real-life fuel economy you can expect for each vehicle. The methodology and data acquisition process is substantially more precise than what others can provide. As always, the variable with the most powerful effect on efficiency is the driver.
The Big Test of Compact Hatchbacks efficiency star by a fair margin is the Focus, tallying 28/40/32 city/highway/combined on the Real MPG test even with its performance-oriented (and again, optional) summer rubber. If you're clinging to EPA numbers, that's in line with your hierarchic expectations, since the Ford ties the Mazda3 for highest EPA combined output at 31 mpg. The '3 locks up second place with 26/35/29 RMPG while dishing out the second-most potent acceleration, a welcome blend in our book.
Following the flow of EPA figures, you'd expect to see the new-for-2015 Golf next (29 combined mpg), but it's bringing up the RMPG tail at 22/33/26. Interestingly, that's quite a ways off the '14 Jetta that was knocked out of our Big Test of compact sedans earlier this year because of high ownership costs and low feature and safety counts. The VW sedan generated a Real MPG of 28/40/32 with the same powertrain combo of a 1.8-liter turbo-four/six-speed automatic.
The in-house Emissions Analytics team found that the Forte5 SX (with its 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 upgrade) and Elantra GT (its 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I-4 is the Forte5's base engine) both return 24/32/27 RMPG. Boasting 28 more hp and 41 more lb-ft of torque, the group's fleetest acceleration, and all for $615 more than its Hyundai "equivalent," it's plain as day the Forte5 realizes the greater efficiency.
Cockpit/CabinWe normally comment on the dashboards and center consoles, but in this go-around we'll direct you to the spread of cabin photos with pithy remarks for each car. Generally speaking, there wasn't a bad interior in the house. The materials selected for small cars are very good in this day and age, with the '3 and Focus slotting a hair ahead of the already nice Elantra GT and Forte in quality, presentation, and fit and finish. As one would hope for the costliest-in-test entrant, the Golf has clean, modern-looking accommodations. The VW backs itself into the top of our cabin registry.
We spent time investigating the main reason for this Big Test: the hatchback lid and the big behind it creates. As an appetizer, we first had our five judges rank each car's passenger and cargo spaces by our trained eye, without consulting any manufacturer specifications. (The numbers alone are incapable of conveying how head-, shoulder, leg-, and hip room physically bind together, or how certainly shaped cargo areas make the dimensions less valuable.) We perceived the Forte5 to be far and away the most spacious, with the styling-focused Focus serving as the cramped bookend. After the Forte5, we identified the Golf, the Elantra GT, and the Mazda3 in descending order for front and rear passenger spaciousness. In the matter of cargo volume with the back seat up, the '3, Golf, and Elantra GT are positioned between the Kia and Ford. OEM specs situate the Focus (23.8 cubic feet), Forte5 (23.2), Elantra GT (23.0), Golf (22.8), and Mazda3 (20.2) from largest to smallest trunk (all pretty close to each other) though the Ford number seems the least believable after eyeballing the cars side by side.
But wait, there's more! One of the handiest things about driving a hatchback is being able to drop the second row for transporting bigger and longer paraphernalia. We evaluated the handiness by noting how easy it was to lower the seat back and how flat the load floor is. The Forte5 and Golf shone with easy-to-pull release tabs and mostly flat cargo floors. The VW even has a center pass-through. The '3 is mostly flat but uses small release buttons that are a little tough to push, while the Focus has a comparable button setup plus a steep drop-off from the cargo hold to the back of the seat that becomes part of the floor. The Elantra GT's back seat falls with ease, but annoyingly, the floor is not even close to being flat.
He-man readers can pass over this closing bit. As a consumer service, we assayed the ease of opening and closing the hatch lids from the perspective of a more petite buyer. All 5 foot, 3 inches of our online editor Kelly Pleskot ranked the cars' lids based on ease of quickly accessing the release button (important when your arms are full of bags or boxes), weight, and effort needed to shut the hatch. She concludes, from easiest to most difficult: Mazda3, Forte5, Golf, Elantra GT, and Focus.
Ford FocusAudiophile alert: The Sony sound system prominently features a subwoofer in the "trunk."
Kia Forte5 SXA cooled driver's seat and heated steering wheel equal warm hands and chilled tush.
Mazda3The head-up display on the dashboard encourages its commander to fire missiles.
Volkswagen GolfA 12-volt power port and two small side bins in the cargo area make for good tailgating.
SafetyIf the Elantra GT, Focus, Golf, and Mazda3, along with Big Test absentees Impreza and Lancer, can mix and match to be the Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy of safety, the Forte5 would be Cousin Oliver.The first six are Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Picks for 2014 (we're appropriating the longer-wheelbase Elantra sedan's IIHS designation for the Elantra GT), and the main bunch, save for the Golf, are National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 5-star crash safety awardees. (The Volkswagen had not yet been rated by NHTSA at time of writing.) Based on IIHS rulings, you could expect relatively similar levels of crashworthiness and passive impact protection from the Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, and VW.
Kia's Forte5 earned four stars overall by NHTSA's evaluation. It's not an IIHS Top Safety Pick because of a Poor demonstration in the small-overlap front crash test, though we expect a future retest. (The rest of the cars were Good or Acceptable, even the new-way-back-in-2008 Lancer.)
Both the Golf and Mazda3 have discretionary equipment to push into Top Safety Pick+ territory ("+" denotes some form of active front crash prevention). The '3 (s Grand Touring only) can elect for a $2600 Technology Package with Smart City Brake Support and Forward Obstruction Warning enabling autonomous braking at low speeds. (It avoided a collision in IIHS' 12-mph test.) The Golf (S with Sunroof, SE, SEL) has a $695 Driver Assistance Package with Forward Collision Warning.Value
If your idea of value is "least expensive car always wins," then look no further than the $26,485 Elantra GT. We can also advocate for the $26,675 Focus, which would ring the register for $26,080 without the $595 Titanium Handling Package (18-inch wheels with Michelin summer tires). However, the driving enthusiast in us finds a lot of value in the pack over the standard 17-inchers and all-season rubber. That's the tricky part of discussing "value," as all consumers attach different sub-values to it.
As there were specific mandatory features for the contestants -- auto transmission, keyless entry, nav, backup camera -- our consortium was largely evenly equipped, meaning our prices as tested are a good reflection of how the five hatchbacks compare against one another. There's some leeway at the pricey end of the pole. The $27,590 Mazda3 could be $27,290 were it not clad in deep Soul Red Metallic paint priced at $300. Our $28,810 Golf SEL has the $995 Lighting Package, but resisting it cuts the VW's cost to $27,815.
The most intriguing matchup is between the Elantra GT and $27,100 Forte5. The Forte5 SX is $615 more than the Hyundai, with better performance and, realistically, the same fuel economy. As another option, a comparably outfitted Forte5 EX (sharing the Elantra GT's engine) would cost $25,500.
Cost of OwnershipTake a look at the IntelliChoice-supplied target purchase prices. Then have a peek at the cars' prices as tested. They won't match, and the amount of variation essentially indicates how much (or little) negotiating power you'd have. Depending on incentives, days inventory, and sales data, the target price reveals the state of the market—lower than MSRP could mean plenty of stock and/or generous cash on the hood, while higher could signify short supply and high demand.
There are two ways to interpret the cost of ownership numbers: in absolute terms where the figures are be-all, end-all, and in relative terms where we ascertain how the 5-year costs stack up against the purchase price. Both methods have pluses and minuses. If low monetary impact is absolutely critical, then the Elantra GT is your car, anchoring the Big Test COO floor at $34,628, $417 less than the next-closest Mazda3 ($83.40 per year). These two hatchbacks are the 5-year residual leaders too, posting a healthy 52 percent value retained apiece. Notwithstanding the thriftiest-in-comparison purchase price at just $18 less than the Hyundai, the Focus occupies the middle rung on the COO ladder. The second-priciest Forte5 is particularly hampered by high depreciation and fueling costs. The COO ceiling-setter Golf feels the sting of its financing and depreciation charges, the byproduct of the car's hefty target price ($1704 more than its official price as tested).
Relatively speaking, the Golf offers the best ownership value as relayed by its ownership-cost/target price ratio, a metric that keeps the playing field level for the popular-selling and less popular-selling cars. The vehicle in demand will start at a purchase price disadvantage, and it snowballs from there since much of the ownership costs are tied to two PP-influenced factors of depreciation and financing. (They combine for 44 percent of the Elantra GT's total COO and jump to 49 percent for the VW.) The lower the ratio, the better the COO relative to its market-manipulated PP: 1.24 for the Golf, 1.26 for the Mazda3, 1.34 for the Hyundai, 1.37 for the Focus, and 1.39 for the Forte5. The Mazda should satisfy accounting efficiency experts, listing the second-lowest COO and second-best COO:TPP ratio even with the second-highest PP.
|Ford Focus Titanium||Hyundai Elantra GT||Kia Forte5 SX||Mazda3 S Grand Touring||Volkswagen Golf TSI SEL|
|AVG STATE FEES||$406||$412||$412||$423||$426|
|DEPRECIATION||$13,527 (52%)||$12,546 (48%)||$14,076 (53%)||$13,271 (48%)||$15,444 (51%)|
|5-YEAR COST OF OWNERSHIP||$35,365||$34,628||$37,119||$35,045||$37,916|
|INTELLICHOICE TARGET PURCHASE PRICE||$25,881||$25,899||$26,642||$27,906||$30,514|
|PURCHASE PRICE: Target purchase price includes destination and average applicable state taxes applied to a transaction price between invoice and retail, based on applicable incentives.|
ConclusionThe Forte5 started high up in the judges' collective order with its capable driving habits and better than expected fuel economy, and it was our runaway interior volume champ, but cost of ownership and safety concerns relegated it to a bronze finish. Reengineering the crash structure could legitimately push it up a spot.
We loved flinging the Focus around and it makes compelling value and Real MPG arguments, but it's hurting in other Big Test criteria such as passenger space, ride quality, user friendliness, and transmission smoothness. With no COO crutch to lean on and its status as the only car in the comparison not recommended to families, fifth is as high as the Ford goes. The inexpensive to purchase and own Elantra GT inserts itself above the Focus, but its all-around middling scores, borderline insulting not-flat-folding back seat, and questionable value against the Forte5 leaving it an undisputed fourth.
The word "second" was used near and around the Mazda3 often in the Big Test, and that's where it lies. It hits hard in nearly every category -- less road noise, tweaks to the rear-seat release, and a lick more passenger comfort ensure another solid run at first.
Which brings us to the Golf. Numbers-wise, it's not knocking down any walls. But we learned that with the latest generation, VW is building thoughtfully designed and easy to use hatchbacks with a smart cabin and great functionality, and the driver can enjoy the car in any situation. Is it worth the extra cash it commands? The verdict: every penny.
1st Place: Volkswagen GolfIts Real MPG isn't outstanding, but everything else about the seventh-generation Golf is.
2nd Place: Mazda3The sedan may be the better-executed total package within the '3 family, but second place attests Mazda manufactures Big Test studs.
3rd Place: Kia Forte5Functionally, the Forte5 does everything we want in a hatchback. Kia, how about some more safety?
4th Place: Hyundai Elantra GTIn terms of functionality, the Elantra GT should poach a few ideas from the Forte5. Good thing it changed engines this year.
5th Place: Ford FocusGreat fuel economy, fun to drive, and neat to look at? If this weren't a Big Test, you might be looking at a runner-up.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Subaru Impreza EditionAs mentioned in the Big Test's introduction, we took delivery of a Subaru Impreza (a 2014 Impreza Sport Limited) in anticipation of its participation. But it didn't meet the feature requirement we set forth from the very beginning (no navigation or keyless entry*). Still, we kept the car with us during our evaluations and put it through the motions.
Where would it ultimately have fallen? Likely somewhere in the middle of the pack, signaled our judges after driving the all-wheel-drive-only hatchback and surveying all that its cabin had to offer. The Subaru wowed with top-flight showings in overall hatchback functionality, safety, and cost of ownership. It's an IIHS Top Safety Pick and 5-star-rated by the NHTSA. Our $24,990 test car, with a $24,822 IntelliChoice target purchase price, would have cost $32,483 to operate over five years. The cost of ownership would increase had the Impreza been equipped with the missing navigation -- the price as tested would have jumped to $26,090 -- but the car's superb projected 57 percent residual gives the Impreza a distinct leg up on the cost front.
Interior functionality made high grades alongside the Kia Forte5 and VW Golf, and Pleskot preferred the Impreza ahead of the Mazda3 in the test of hatch lid opening and closing. The cabin was praised for its airy feel (a byproduct of its generously sized greenhouse and light-colored interior) despite manufacturer specs stating the whole interior should be one of the snuggest in comparison. From our vantage point, after sticking three men in the back seat, there's plenty of room in the front and rear rows to go around. Driving the car day to day is, succinctly, "OK."
Now, the stuff we didn't like. It's hard to see the backup camera's point of view on the dinky 4.3-inch center stack screen (standard on the Limited trim). Conveniently, upgrading to the nav system buffs the field of vision to a 6.1-inch display. The interior is well designed from a usability standpoint, but materials and presentation are not particularly inspiring. The CVT's performance shades more of Nissan products, rather than, say, Honda.
For its 9.9-second 0-60 mph time, you get only middling Real MPG -- 27 combined mpg ties with the much quicker Forte5 (6.9 seconds) and Elantra GT (8.4 seconds). Grizzled snow warriors might see a lot of value in the AWD system. But shoppers on the prowl for a more comprehensive package are better served elsewhere.
*Our test car has a "Remote Keyless Entry System" feature per its Monroney, which refers to the unified key/fob being able to unlock the vehicle without a person physically inserting a key blade into any door handle. The other Big Test participants can unlock on their own via a proximity sensor.
|2014 Subaru Impreza Sport|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Flat-4, aluminum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||121.7 cu in/1995 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||148 hp @ 6200 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||145 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||21.2 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont. variable auto|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||10.9-in vented disc; 10.8-in disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||7.0 x 17-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES||205/50R17 88V M+S Yokohama Avid S34|
|TRACK, F/R||59.4/59.6 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||173.8 x 68.5 x 59.5 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||34.8 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3131 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||60/40%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||37.2/37.1 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||43.5/35.4 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||55.6/54.2 in|
|CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R||52.4/22.5 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||5.3|
|QUARTER MILE||17.4 sec @ 80.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||116 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.83 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.8 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||2000 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$24,990|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||14.5 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||27/36/30 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||125/94 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.64 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||24/31/27 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded regular|
|2014 Ford Focus Titanium||2014 Hyundai Elantra GT||2015 Kia Forte5 SX T-GDI|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD||Front-engine, FWD||Front-engine, FWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||I-4, aluminum block/head||I-4, aluminum block/head||Turbocharged I-4, aluminum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||122.0 cu in/1999 cc||122.0 cu in/1999 cc||97.1 cu in/1591 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||160 hp @ 6500 rpm||173 hp @ 6500 rpm||201 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||146 lb-ft @ 4450 rpm||154 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm||195 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm|
|REDLINE||6500 rpm||6750 rpm||6750 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||19.1 lb/hp||17.4 lb/hp||15.3 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed twin-clutch auto.||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO||3.85:1 (1-2,5-6), 4.28:1 (3-4,R)/2.70:1||3.20:1/2.47:1||4.47:1/3.14:1|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs|
|BRAKES, F;R||10.9-in vented disc; 10.7-in disc, ABS||11.0-in vented disc; 10.3-in disc, ABS||11.8-in vented disc; 10.3-in disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum||7.0 x 17-in, cast aluminum||7.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES||235/40R18 95W Michelin Pilot Sport 3||215/45R17 87H M+S Nexen Classe Premiere CP671||225/40R18 88V M+S Nexen Classe Premiere CP671|
|WHEELBASE||104.3 in||104.3 in||106.3 in|
|TRACK, F/R||61.2/60.4 in||61.0/61.5 in||60.8/61.3 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||171.6 x 71.8 x 57.7 in||169.3 x 70.1 x 57.9 in||171.3 x 70.1 x 57.1 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||36.0 ft||34.8 ft||34.8 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3048 lb||3009 lb||3080 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||59/41%||60/40%||61/39%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.3/37.9 in||40.1/37.9 in||38.3/38.7 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.9/33.2 in||42.0/34.6 in||42.2/35.9 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||55.6/53.7 in||55.9/54.9 in||56.1/54.9 in|
|CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R||44.8/23.8 cu ft||51.0/23.0 cu ft||56.4/23.2 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|0-30||2.8 sec||2.8 sec||2.3 sec|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||4.6||4.6||3.8|
|QUARTER MILE||16.4 sec @ 85.1 mph||16.4 sec @ 84.5 mph||15.3 sec @ 89.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||105 ft||121 ft||110 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.90 g (avg)||0.81 g (avg)||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.8 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)||27.7 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)||27.2 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||2200 rpm||2200 rpm||2300 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$26,675||$26,485||$27,100|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles||5 yrs/60,000 miles||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/60,000 miles||10 yrs/100,000 miles||10 yrs/100,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||5 yrs/60,000 miles||5 yrs/unlimited miles||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||12.4 gal||13.2 gal||13.2 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||27/37/31 mpg||24/33/27 mpg||21/29/24 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||125/91 kW-hrs/100 miles||140/102 kW-hrs/100 miles||160/116 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.63 lb/mile||0.71 lb/mile||0.81 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||28/40/32 mpg||24/32/27 mpg||24/32/27 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded regular||Unleaded regular||Unleaded regular|
|2014 Mazda3 S||2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD||Front-engine, FWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||I-4, aluminum block/head||Turbocharged I-4, iron block/alum head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||151.8 cu in/2488 cc||109.7 cu in/1798 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||184 hp @ 5700 rpm||170 hp @ 4500 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm||200 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm|
|REDLINE||6500 rpm||7400 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||16.7 lb/hp||18.3 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||11.6-in vented disc; 10.4-in disc, ABS||11.3-in vented disc; 10.7-in disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||7.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum||7.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES||215/45R18 89W M+S Dunlop SP Sport 5000||225/40R18 92H M+S Pirelli P Zero Nero|
|WHEELBASE||106.3 in||103.8 in|
|TRACK, F/R||61.2/61.4 in||61.0/59.8 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||175.6 x 70.7 x 57.3 in||167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.1 ft||35.8 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3080 lb||3115 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||61/39%||60/40%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||37.6/37.5 in||38.4/38.1 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.2/35.8 in||41.2/35.6 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||57.2/54.4 in||55.9/53.9 in|
|CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R||47.1/20.2 cu ft||52.7/22.8 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|0-30||2.4 sec||2.5 sec|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||3.7||4.3|
|QUARTER MILE||15.6 sec @ 90.0 mph||15.9 sec @ 87.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||117 ft||118 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.83 g (avg)||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.0 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)||26.8 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1700 rpm||1800 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$27,590||$28,810|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/60,000 miles||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||3 yrs/36,000 miles||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||13.2 gal||13.2 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||27/37/31 mpg||25/36/30 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||125/91 kW-hrs/100 miles||135/94 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.63 lb/mile||0.67 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||26/35/29 mpg||22/33/26 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded regular||Unleaded regular|