Comparisons

Poor Man's 3 Series Rivals: Mazda3 Vs. VW Jetta

For some, the BMW 3 Series is just too expensive for many. Here are two cheaper, solid alternatives.

A brand-new BMW 3 Series isn’t cheap. The base model, without any extras, still costs just over $32k. Clearly that’s out of many's reach, but fortunately there are cheaper alternatives. And perhaps two of the best of these are the new Mazda3 and Volkswagen Jetta. Granted, both are front-wheel-drive, but these compact sedans were designed and engineered for the enthusiast. The entry price for the Mazda is just $16,945.

Fully-loaded and you’ll still spend well under $30k. As for the Jetta, the obvious driver’s choice is the GLI trim, and that starts at just over $24k. Option it up and you’re looking at a total price of around $29k. What’s more, you can get both cars with a six-speed manual. So unless you’ve just gotta have a Bimmer and rear-wheel-drive, the new Mazda3 and Jetta GLI are solid picks. And you’ll still have plenty of cash left over. After all, there’s always other toys to buy.

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