Compare The Volkswagen Golf vs. Mazda3

If you're looking for a fun-loving hatchback to enhance your commutes, comparing the VW Golf vs. Mazda3 is likely on your mind. The 2022 Mazda3 comes in hatchback and sedan form, so all the specs you see below will be for its hatchback form. Likewise, there are a few details to note about the 2022 VW Golf that we'll touch on below. So read on and see how these two models compare across trims and price, performance and efficiency, and everyday driving practicality.

Volkswagen Golf vs. Mazda3 Trims and Price

You can still find a new VW Golf for sale, but this model was discontinued in our market for the 2021 model year. Not to worry, though. The VW Golf GTI and VW Golf R ride into 2022 as the brand's hatchback models. We'll compare both the 2021 VW Golf and 2022 VW Golf GTI against the Mazda3 hatchback, as they are the Mazda model's main competition (the performance-powerhouse VW Golf R is in a top-tier class above them all).

So, let's talk trims. The 2021 VW Golf entered its final year with a bang. There are no different trims to choose from or compare in our VW Golf vs. Mazda3 guide; the only choice was between a standard manual or available automatic transmission.

That's not a bad thing. Instead, the 2021 VW Golf brought together a generous helping of standard features to make its curtain call a memorable one. These standard features include a panoramic sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, automated emergency braking, Apple CarPlay, a WiFi hotspot, leatherette upholstery, and much more.

The base-model 2022 Mazda3 may have a slightly lower starting price than the 2021 VW Golf, but to get features like leatherette upholstery and a blind-spot monitor on a 2022 Mazda3, you'll need to upgrade to the pricier Select trim. Even then, only the much more expensive 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo trim level and higher offer a power moonroof.

As for the new VW Golf GTI, you get three trims to choose from. There's the value and performance-packed S, the high-tech SE, and the luxurious Autobahn trim. All models have standard turbo-power and excellent standard features like the VW Digital Cockpit Pro. To get the turbocharged performance, you'll need to choose the 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo trim, which has a slightly higher starting price than the 2022 VW Golf GTI.

Mazda3 vs. VW Golf Performance and Efficiency Specs

Mazda3 or VW Golf GTI, which is faster? The VW Golf GTI by quite a bit. This model has been the hot-hatchback benchmark for over four decades, and for 2022, it shows no signs of slowing down. Specifically, a 2022 VW Golf GTI gives you a peppy 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 241 horsepower and launches from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds1, according to Car and Driver test results.

Several Mazda3 trims are not turbocharged, but with the 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, you'll get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that can make up to 250 horsepower.

However, something to note about Mazda3 vs. Volkswagen Golf GTI performance is that the 2022 VW Golf GTI requires regular fuel while getting the 250 horsepower output from a turbocharged Mazda3 requires premium fuel.

If you use regular fuel in a 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, its engine will only make 227 horsepower.

At full tilt with 250 horsepower, the same 0-60 mph tests from Car and Driver reported that the turbocharged 2022 Mazda3 ran from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

So even when it makes slightly less power, the 2022 VW Golf GTI will outrun the turbocharged 2022 Mazda3 models.

How about efficiency? The 2021 VW Golf is incredibly efficient and delivers up to an EPA-estimated 29 mpg city / 39 mpg highway2.

When deciding between a VW Golf or Mazda3, you'll find that a non-turbocharged 2022 Mazda3 will deliver up to an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city / 34 highway3.

On the turbocharged side of things, the 2022 VW Golf GTI will deliver up to an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway4.

Meanwhile, a 2022 Mazda3 with the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will deliver up to an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg city / 31 mpg highway3.

Yes, it is possible to be faster and more efficient than the competition.

Mazda3 vs. Volkswagen Golf Dimensions

For VW Golf vs. Mazda3 practical dimensions, all models in question can seat five, and the VW Golf has plenty of spacious measurements for you to enjoy. As a reference, all 2022 Mazda3 hatchback models offer 92.7 cubic feet of passenger volume and 47.1 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats down.

The 2021 VW Golf provides you with 93.5 cubic feet of passenger volume and 53.7 cubic feet of cargo volume with rear seats down. The 2022 VW Golf GTI also has 0.5-inches more front headroom and 0.9-inches more rear headroom than the 2022 Mazda3 hatchback.

Discover Your Next VW Golf Today

Thanks for checking out our VW Golf and Mazda3 comparison guide; if you want to see how other VW models stack up to the competition, we can help you compare the VW Tiguan and Jeep Grand Cherokee. If the efficient, spacious, generously-equipped, and fun-loving VW Golf has your attention, then visit our dealership today to discover its many other benefits with a test drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a VW Golf bigger than a Mazda3?

In some VW Golf vs. Mazda3 dimensions, the VW Golf is bigger than a Mazda3 hatchback, while the opposite is true in others. Specifically, a 2022 Mazda3 hatchback is 8-inches longer, 0.1-inches narrower, and 1.5-inches shorter than a 2021 VW Golf.

On the inside, a 2022 Mazda3 offers 92.7 cubic feet of passenger volume and a 47.1 cubic foot maximum cargo capacity. The 2021 VW Golf provides 93.5 cubic feet of passenger volume and a maximum cargo capacity of 53.7 cubic feet.

Is a VW Golf quiet?

Yes – both the 2021 VW Golf and 2022 VW GTI are considered very quiet cars. These two models are high-quality cars with a build that helps drown out unwanted road noise.

Is Mazda3 a luxury car?

The Mazda3 is not considered a luxury car by automotive industry pros. The Mazda brand attempted to launch a luxury brand named "Amati Cars" back in the 1990s, but currently, they focus on affordable cars with higher-end styling.


1Car And Driver test results - use for comparison purposes only

229 city/39 highway mpg for 2021 VW Golf 1.4L Six-Speed Manual. EPA estimates. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition.

3EPA estimates. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition.

425 city/34 highway mpg for 2022 VW GTI 2.0L 7-Speed Automatic. EPA estimates. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition.

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