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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Mazda VS. Subaru

Hello fellow Mazda enthusiasts. I am reaching out because I am having a hard time making a decision between a new 2019 Mazda6 Signature or the 2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT (XT is for the 2.4 Turbo Boxer engine). I have mentioned here before how excited I was to be purchasing a new Mazda 6. Ever since the design was released in 2014 I loved the looks, I think the refresh for 2018 is even better yet. Both vehicles seem to be an excellent value as well. I wanted to list some pros and cons for each car and gather your thoughts and opinions towards each vehicle.


2019 Mazda6
Pros: Gorgeous design. Excellent ride and handling characteristics, quiet interior (that's a big one), and known to be pretty reliable.
Cons: Pretty complex engine design (makes me nervous for possible repairs down the road), FWD, and cost of parts/labor.


2020 Subaru Legacy
Pros: Interior is top notch, right up there with Mazda in my opinion, comfortable ride, riding on new global platform, quiet interior, pretty easy to work on, and AWD
Cons: Possible repairs/maintenance (it is an all new model year, and my 2016 Legacy had its fair share of quirks and issues)


Thank you for taking the time to read this and offer your support. The main reason I am going to a car is for the 50 mile commute I have, on 2 lane country roads. It would either be the Subaru with AWD or have to swap snow tires on the Mazda6 in the winter months. I have always wanted a Mazda6 but there are some attractions pulling me towards another Subaru despite some of the issues I had with my previous one. Thanks again and I look forward to reading your feedback.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:55 PM
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Honestly, that's a tough one.

I'll always stand by Mazda's side because I love how they make their cars, but I've got few qualms with Subarus. If you live anywhere above the rust belt, the Subarus also retain their value better than anything else by a large margin - so if you're planning on reselling at some point, that's a huge factor.

I'll note a few things here though:

I would worry less about the Mazda Skyactive engine than anything else on the market. They've more than proven themselves over the last 6 years between all the vehicles in their fleet. AWD *might* be an option at some point if you can hold out long enough. They've put it in just about everything else at this point.

How wintery are your wintery months? We see on average between 60 and 80 inches of snow around here annually and, in recent years (but not this year) seen over 120. If you're on country roads in our conditions, you'll feel better with AWD.

That being said, @Mz6GreyGhost lives in the snowiest place in our country and loves his 6.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:59 PM
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You probably won't find anyone recommending a Subaru over a Mazda on these forums, haha. This is an interesting link:

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-car-brands

In my mind there's no question Mazda is far beyond Subaru in reliability. You've even mentioned yourself that your Subaru has not really been reliable. I've never heard that Subarus are easier to work on than Mazdas, but then again I've never owned a Subaru--although my brother owns a CrossTrek and it has been a nightmare for him.

If AWD is a selling point, it's worth keeping in mind that a FWD vehicle with dedicated snow tires is considerably better in the snow than an AWD with all-seasons.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 01:39 PM
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May I ask how long will you keep the car? If it's for five years, then an all new model or any other model will do. I mean, I don't think a car will break down at that age.

Do you need AWD? If it's a necessity, then you already have an answer. I don't live in the snows so I don't understand the hassles of driving on a snowy road, but I could almost picture it.

I've read or seen on YouTube one video saying something about AWD and snowy road. I just can't remember what is it. I think it says that AWD doesn't keep you safe from speeding on a snowy day. Perhaps I'm wrong, it might be the other way around.

On the subject of snowy day, someone here said that there's a great difference and there won't be turning back once you get a winter tire versus an all weather tire. Again, we don't have snows so I'm getting out of this topic.

As far as being "complicated" is concerned, I believe all cars are complicated. I mean almost all, if not all cars, are equipped with computers and all other automated features which were available only to high-end cars many decades ago are now offered as standard.

Regarding road noise, I don't think Mazda is known for being "quiet". I remember a thread somewhere here complaining about it. For me, I think I got used to it.

Going back with my question if AWD is a necessity, if your answer is no then I'll go for a model that is somehow "tried and tested".

That is, go for Mazda. Otherwise, go for Subaru.

Whatever you choose, just make sure that you enjoy looking at the car as you approach it on the parking lot. Add the exhilaration as other people look at you with admiration as you open the door.


What's the point of getting a new car, when everytime your hands are on the steering wheel, you shake your head with regret while asking yourself, why did you end up buying this car?
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:04 PM
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Just to clarify for ya because I know you like learning as much as we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archerfish View Post
I've read or seen on YouTube one video saying something about AWD and snowy road. I just can't remember what is it. I think it says that AWD doesn't keep you safe from speeding on a snowy day. Perhaps I'm wrong, it might be the other way around.
Essentially: AWD is All Wheel Drive, not All Wheel Stop.

AWD will get you going in the snow, but there's nothing you can do to stop once you've started sliding regardless of your setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archerfish View Post
On the subject of snowy day, someone here said that there's a great difference and there won't be turning back once you get a winter tire versus an all weather tire. Again, we don't have snows so I'm getting out of this topic.
All weather tires are meant to be USABLE in snow, but a dedicated snow tire is DESIGNED for snow. There is absolutely no comparison between the two, as far as I'm concerned; they're in different leagues.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:15 PM
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I'll set aside my Mazda bias for a moment here, but I won't make any guarantees...

I noticed the 2020 Legacy isn't out yet, but I've seen some details/pics online, and it does look promising.

In terms of quality/reliability, Subaru may be slightly worse than Mazda, based on reports, but I have friends that own (and swear by) Subarus and they've never seem to spend an inordinate amount of time at the dealer or mechanic. I've always been VERY cautious about first-model-year vehicles on all-new or extensively reworked platforms, based on a horrendous experience I had with my Grand Am, And I'd probably wait until the '21s are out, so the "bugs can get worked out of them"...

As far as winter driving is concerned... I may get some comments from others on here, but IMHO, a car with 4 winter tires is FAR superior to ANY similar vehicle with AWD. It's true that AWD helps gaining traction when accelerating, especially on slippery surfaces, but it does NOTHING to aid in the other two important categories, stopping and turning/handling. The best AWD system on this planet will do nothing if it's stuck running on inferior tires. I've driven in some of the worst snow/slush/ice storms than Ma Nature can throw at me, in all types of vehicles, for 25 years now, and I can say, without reservation, that I've never felt more confident and securely in-control behind the wheel as much as I am in my 6 with winter tires on. I first bought them for my '04 6 15 years ago, and I've never looked back. I convinced my sister to get winter tires for her Saturn years ago, and she's since graduated into an AWD CX-5, but still runs on winter tires from November to April. My advice? Whether you go with the 6 or Legacy, if you drive in areas that will see more than a few feet of snow per year, and/or live in areas when the air temperature may go for weeks without reaching 45 degrees, get winter tires.

(Edit: looks like others have said the same thing while I was wasting my time typing my post, but you get the point... lol)

I also recommend getting a second set of wheels. That way, you can "downsize" the winter tires/wheels (for example, buying 17" winter wheels/tires in place of the Signature's 19" wheel/tire combo). A narrower tire with a taller sidewall is better at "digging in" to get snow traction, the tires are much less expensive to buy/replace than the OEM size, and you can get a set of cheap wheels that you won't mind scratching/scuffing due to winter conditions or potholes, etc.

But I digress, back to the cars...

My best advice is to just drive them as much as possible before making your decision. Which one handles better? Is more comfortable? Has the features you want? Has great ergonomics? And most importantly, which one do you see yourself having a bigger smile on your face as you walk toward it in the morning and away from it at night, whether it's tomorrow or 5 years from now...

Either way, good luck... And get the 6!
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakuya View Post
Just to clarify for ya because I know you like learning as much as we do.



Essentially: AWD is All Wheel Drive, not All Wheel Stop.

AWD will get you going in the snow, but there's nothing you can do to stop once you've started sliding regardless of your setup.



I thought I'm the first one who answered this thread. I'm so slow to compose my message...

AWD as All Wheel Stop? That is hilarious! I should add that to my vocabulary.


On the topic of sliding, all the while I thought AWD can prevent you from sliding because of traction control or something.

The CR-V 98 I had was advertised as "real time four wheel drive". It will engage all four wheels depending on road conditions and will disengage the other pair at a certain RPM/speed range automatically. When it broke, it was decided to remove it since it doesn't serve any purpose for us and just adds weight and thereby adding gas consumption. We don't go "mountaineering" and that's why I said it doesn't serve any purpose for us. Why did we buy it then? It's because it was the top model and all the features we want back then is not offered on the other variant.

Going back, I think it is safe to conclude that AWD has an additional maintenance part when compared to FWD. If I am correct, then this should be another consideration to help in choosing between Subaru and Mazda.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:39 PM
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Completely agree with everything below. I spent 12 months driving back and forth weekly between Northern Indiana and Rochester NY, through the HORRIBLE snowbelt between Erie PA and Fredonia NY, and my 6 with snow tires was phenomenal. Total white-out conditions sometimes stopped me, but never road conditions. Did that drive during the Christmas 2017 storm that dropped something like 65 inches over 3 days, and didn't have an issue!

AWD (with snow tires) would occasionally get me moving faster from a stop, especially when intersections are all polished up, but it's a minor difference. When it comes to handling and stopping, I don't think AWD makes an appreciable difference at all. The most important winter driving factors (IMHO) are snow tires, and changing your driving style.

My only caveat would be if you live in mountainous areas, especially areas that may have chain requirements. When I was in Northern CA I occasionally commuted to Carson City NV. If I were doing that regularly in the winter, I'd probably be looking at AWD, because (I think) that lets you avoid mounting chains for the mountain passes.

Also second the recommendation for 17" wheels. 19" snow tires are so expensive that it's nearly a break-even to get a cheap set of wheels and cheaper 17" snows. When I did the math, the extra wheels paid for themselves in year 2, compared with the additional cost of 19" tires and twice-annual tire mounting costs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mz6GreyGhost View Post

As far as winter driving is concerned... I may get some comments from others on here, but IMHO, a car with 4 winter tires is FAR superior to ANY similar vehicle with AWD. It's true that AWD helps gaining traction when accelerating, especially on slippery surfaces, but it does NOTHING to aid in the other two important categories, stopping and turning/handling. The best AWD system on this planet will do nothing if it's stuck running on inferior tires. I've driven in some of the worst snow/slush/ice storms than Ma Nature can throw at me, in all types of vehicles, for 25 years now, and I can say, without reservation, that I've never felt more confident and securely in-control behind the wheel as much as I am in my 6 with winter tires on.

.....

(Edit: looks like others have said the same thing while I was wasting my time typing my post, but you get the point... lol)

I also recommend getting a second set of wheels. That way, you can "downsize" the winter tires/wheels (for example, buying 17" winter wheels/tires in place of the Signature's 19" wheel/tire combo). A narrower tire with a taller sidewall is better at "digging in" to get snow traction, the tires are much less expensive to buy/replace than the OEM size, and you can get a set of cheap wheels that you won't mind scratching/scuffing due to winter conditions or potholes, etc.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter186 View Post
The most important winter driving factors (IMHO) are snow tires, and changing your driving style.
This. All. Day.

I recommended the 6 to a friend and told him it was a good, heavy car in the snow and handled great even on OEM tires. He had it for a month and was cursing at me saying he was getting stuck in the snow all over the place.

I have other friends who drive wide-tire RWD cars with all seasons and they're perfectly fine - driving style plays a huge role.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 03:08 PM
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While I never owned an AWD vehicle, I'm living in a very snowy region in QC, Canada. Last winter, we had a total of around 400 cm / 157 in of snow. Plus many freezing rain episodes.

My 2018 mazda 6 was running on Toyo winter tires and 17 inches steel wheels this winter. Even during winter storms this car handles beautifully, IMHO. And my previous 2nd gen 6 too.

If the 6 was available with AWD when I purchased mine, I might have chosen this option, but only if available with the 2.5T.


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