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Mazda 3 vs. Honda Civic Si



  • The 3 did feel like it would be more comfortable over long distances. That said I've driven my Si 6-8 hours on many occasions and it's never bothered me, the seats are excellent.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    my old friend...........the MATRIX!!!! Or Vibe, whichever's styling floats your boat. And now there's the Daewoo-Suzuki Reno too.

    As to the Matrix, it is bigger than any of the cars you have mentioned so far, with a mondo back seat (which is a big part of the reason I bought mine long ago), but the XRS (Vibe GT) is fast, feels light on its feet, has some body roll (about on par with the SI), and never felt enclosed to me. You sit up high though - I know that is not for everybody. Be sure you don't mind shifting frequently to keep the engine in its power band if you consider the Matrix, but I would say the same of the SI.

    And hey, it even has cool stuff like the 115V power outlet and the glass in the back hatch that pops open separately from the door (neither the 3 nor the SI has that right? In fact I don't think the Focus has it either, don't know about the Reno or Spectra5 right off hand). And a rush like the VTEC Hondas of old above 6200 rpm. :-)

    A note in passing: they just don't make cars anywhere near as light as your early 90s Tercel any more, and all the beltlines have risen since those days too, so if you are sure you want a new car rather than used, you will have to make peace with those two facts, I think. :-(

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Thanks for all the info =]. I'll be thinking about it, and trying new and old cars out.

    I'm leaning towards the Civic because it's short, has great seats, and ergonomically it felt great. I do wish it had the Mazda's choice of colors, and its more poised-looking stance (when not lowered).
  • We considered the Mazda3 but nneither of is could get comfortable in it. We already had a 2003 Si and felt that the 3 was not worth trading our Si for nor would we have bought the 3 over the Si in direct comparison.
  • bunk1968bunk1968 Posts: 119
    Does anyone know what 0-60 times the Si and the 3 have put out?
    Is the new Focus a better competitor with the Si's peppiness?
  • The Si has been clocked any where from 7.4-7.8 seconds to 60. So far the best time I remember seeing for the 3s is 7.9.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    The Si is a little faster than its 0-60 indicate; it needs a shift into third before 60.

    The "new" Focus doesn't come in SVT form anymore, so you can't really get an Si competitor.

    I can't wait to go to the SF Auto Show (which really isn't very special) to sit in the cars I might buy someday. Last time I was turned off by the 3 on the inside and felt very good in the Si, but in real life the Si turned out to be a bit boring to drive.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    “The "new" Focus doesn't come in SVT form anymore, so you can't really get an Si competitor.”

    The new ST notchback sedan is even better than the SVT! Ever wonder why the production MazdaSpeed 6 switched from the show-car hatch into the notch? Mazda claimed that it's got the needed structure for performance handling. The notch's rear speaker panel acts like a rear-suspension bracing just like the RX-8 & the 350Z's cargo-blocking arch.

    The ST has the same SVT shocks & swaybars. Only the springs are longer to handle bumpy turns better.

    & its Mazda-developed 2.3 engine really really kicks [non-permissible content removed] when compare to the SVT's 2.0 that's weaker all the way until near the redline!
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    If I wanted a sedan in that price range, I'd have lots more cars to look at... the Lancer Ralliart, the Sentra Spec-V, the Neon SRT-4, the Corolla XRS, the Impreza... but I don't. I probably should've pointed out what I meant by "competitor," so my bad there.
  • I have never heard of anyone, or any reviewer, that liked the new Focus ST better than the old SVT. I certainly don't. Ss Carlisimo mentioned, there are a lot of better competitors for the Mazda 3 than the Focus ST.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Test drive an ST, then see if its ride/handling/steering compromise is 2nd to none. & since the adoption of the Mazda-developed 2.3 back in late '03, the Focus' reliability rating "sky rocketed", per CR. For '05, 100% of Focus I are equipped w/ Mazda-developed engines.

    creakid1 "Ford Focus vs. Mazda3" Nov 22, 2004 2:45am
  • I suspect that real reason that Mazdaspeed decided to focus on the sedan version of the 6 is the same reason we sat for almost 2 years having only the sedan version of the 6; Most automakers don't think that midsized and premium hatchbacks will be competitive in the USA. Heck there is even something to it; VW sells Jettas in high multiples over the Golf, even though the latter is cheaper and has more utility (and at least as good a driving experience).

    Even if the structural issues were the reason, they are a less compelling reason on the Focus; the squared off end makes than hatches that try to emulate coupe or sedan lines.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    talking about why the production MazdaSpeed 6 switching into the notchback for the structural reason. & the Euro market prefers hatch over notch.

    &, yes, our '05 Focus I ST 2.3 is the highest-performance notchback Focus in the world!
  • I've driven the ST, and while it is a very nice car, it is too "every day sedan" to really replace the SVT.

    As Carlisimo mentioned, there are a lot of very solid competitors in this price range (give or take): the Lancer Ralliart, the Sentra Spec-V, the Neon SRT-4, the Corolla XRS, and the Impreza are all preferable sporty sedans -and I'll add the Mazda 3s, Cobalt and Ion Redline.

    I'm not sure that the ST would rank too highly in that group, but it sounds like an interesting comparison test. Edmunds?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Since I never drove the SVT. Can you tell me more about the 2 different steerings -- ST vs SVT? I've heard the SVT's ratio is very quick, maybe too quick for high speed. 'cause my ST steering's already pretty quick, but lacks road feel at parking-lot speed(no big deal). & I heard the SVT's steering feel is Miata-like. Is that true?

    I really thought the main reason the ST isn't as hardcore as the SVT is the 16" tires, but rides much more comfortably due to longer springs &, of course, the 16"s.

    If I live w/ a Mazda 3S, I'd pick the 16"s. I'm not an "Evo" driver, but a Rabbit GTI driver that likes raw steering/handling w/ playful controllable oversteer drift but still rides comfortably in a stable way. I don't really need the max acceleration or max corning g-force.
  • The steering wasn't just quick on the SVT, it was very, very precise, and steering feel was excellent. The ST handles very well, but response is not quite as immediate. Hard to say how much of this is a result of the springs and tires.

    I don't know if I can compare the SVT steering feel to the Miata, because the cars are so different.

    From the sound of your GTI, I would think the ST and the SVT would both feel like boats to you!
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    My restored "Rabbit GTI" is actually modified w/ softer springs. It is a German-built Jetta coupe Wolfsburg w/ Recaro-style front seats & no front sway bar. I simply put the GTI sway bars in it, front & back, & added Gabriel gas shocks. Plus the front upper & lower bracing. The car was transformed from a low-limit high-swaying neutral/oversteerer into a higher-limit low-swaying mild-understeerer but safe 4-wheel drifting w/ easy-to-correct occasional oversteer due to no weight behind the rear axle(the spare tire is located far forward).

    See my profile:

    This is my type of preference -- keep the Focus SVT suspension but w/o the lowered firmer-riding springs. That's why I jumped into buying this ST.

    CR found the regular Lancer poor in ride/handling/steering compromise. So I assume by the time they modify the car into more handling bias & even improved steering, such as the Ralliart, the ride will suck. As we can see, even the STi version of the Impreza WRX still rides less punishing than the Lancer Evo, per CR.
  • I haven't driven a Ralliart, but I've heard good things - something to try.

    The ST sounds like exactly the compromise you were looking for then. A somewhat softer SVT, I think.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "So far the best time I remember seeing for the 3s is 7.9."

    Car and Driver got 7.4 seconds with the Mazda3s hatch. The sedan is a little lighter, so it should be a little quicker.

    I thought you and Gee were Car and Driver readers?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    then your knowledge is incomplete. ;-)
This discussion has been closed.