The Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Mazda 3 MPs are performance versions of the VW Golf and Mazda 3 produced by German automaker Volkswagen and Japanese automaker Mazda, respectively. Both are sporty, compact models that have much in common, although certain key differences are important for buyers to consider when comparing these or similar cars.
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Volkswagen Golf R32 Information
The Volkswagen Golf R32 was a performance version of the Golf sold in 2004. It was based on the Golf Mk4 model, which Volkswagen produced between 1997 and 2005. The Golf R32 was a two-door compact hatchback with all-wheel drive and a 3.2 litre VR6 engine rated at 240hp. The engine was paired with a six-speed manual transmission. While other performance variants of the Golf Mk4 were produced in other years, the R32 was only available as a 2004 model.
Mazda 3 MPs Information
The Mazda 3 has been in production since 2003 with the performance variant (known as the "Mazda 3 MPs" or "Mazdaspeed 3," depending on the market) arriving in 2007. It is available as a four-door hatchback with a front-wheel drive/front engine configuration. The Mazda 3 MPs has been available in two primary trim levels, "Sport" and "Grand Touring," with different optional accessories. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.3 litre, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 263hp and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The Mazda 3 was redesigned for 2010, which meant a new MPs model as well. The new Mazda 3 MPs includes a 2.26 litre turbocharged engine.
The Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Mazda 3 MPs are similar in many ways. Both are performance versions of entry-level, compact hatchbacks. They both have an overall fuel economy rating in the mid-20s mpg. In terms of performance, both models use four-wheel disc brakes, sport-tuned suspensions, and 18-inch alloy wheels. In addition, the cars each offer seating for five and several of the same basic convenience features, including cruise control, auxiliary power outlets, and power windows and door locks.
One of the biggest differences between the Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Mazda 3 MPs is the engine configurations. While the Golf R32 uses a naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine, the Mazda 3 MPs uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces slightly more power than the VW. In addition to having a larger, non-turbo engine, the Golf R32 also uses an all-wheel drive system as opposed to the Mazda's front-wheel drive. Still, performance characteristics are actually quite similar between the two car. For example, in a test of 0-60 mph acceleration, the Golf R32 clocked in at 6.8 seconds, while the Mazda 3 MPs was just a half-second faster at 6.3 seconds.
Comparison for Buyers
For buyers interested in a sport compact model, both the Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Mazda 3 MPs deserve consideration. While the Golf R32 was only produced in 2004, it was still priced initially higher than comparable Mazda 3 MPs models from 2007-2009. For buyers looking for a new car, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 offers a modern sport compact with technological refinements that were not available on any of the earlier models from either automaker.
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