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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla vs Mazda3



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    This isn't so much to knock you, as much as Edmunds:

    Most economy sedans feel like a compromise. The 2005 Mazda 3 isn't one of them

    The compromise of the 3 is the fuel economy loss to the Civic. People that want an economy car generally want the most economy for the money, being a Civic or Corolla each delivering 40 mpg or higher. You could buy a Honda Accord manual tranny and get better mileage (26/34) than the 3 (25/32), while having a much nicer interior, still sporty driving characteristics (still inferior to the 6 in the sporty part but more than the average driver will ever use), and better resale value.

    It is about compromise, it just depends on whether you want to compromise cost of fuel (5-8 mpg) for 20 horsepower. I must say, that on the daily grind to work, I rarely wind the tach above 3,000 rpm. It isn't necessary, and rarely possible in the traffic, all the more fun to get my city mileage much higher than a 3! :)
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    If you are more concerned about mileage, get an i model. It get's quite a bit better mileage than the S, in the ball park of the CIvic.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I guess some of us think it's worth that loss of 8 mpg to have a vehicle that's a bit more unique than the run-of-the-mill, plain-vanilla herd car that Honda stamps out to the masses.

  • Concerning Edmunds review of "economy" cars It was kind-of an oxymoron, because economy, as in miles-per-gallon, didn't seem to be the main focus because the winner Mazda 3 averaged only 20.8 miles per gallon.

    Most people when you talk about and "economy" car think in terms of best miles per gallon or TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).



    P.S. -My performance 6-speed Honda Accord Coupe V6 EX w/NAV gets much better mileage than a Mazda 3 and also signifciantly out-accelerates it!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    There's more to the "economy" of an economy car than gas mileage. In fact, economy cars are labeled as such more because of their sticker price than their gas mileage.

    From (which is the first "hit" you get when you type "economy car definition" into Google:

    An economy car is an automobile that is designed for low-cost operation. Typical economy cars are small, light weight, and inexpensive to buy. The Oil crisis of the 1970s caused a great deal of emphasis on economy, leading to a shift to smaller front wheel drive cars like the Volkswagen Beetle and Honda Civic.

  • ezpilzeezpilze Posts: 29
    Like I said near the end, you'd maybe buy the mazda 3 for looks, so I'm assuming that each person here would atleast go and look at the car before making their own judgement about how the car looks.

    If you were to compare my comparison to a consumer report, then you might as well just read that instead, this report is based on MY opinion. I tried all three cars out in both manual and automatic for atleast 2 hrs each. You seem to have something against me ranking the mazda 3 at the low end of the 3 econo cars. If you own a mazda 3 then I suggest you try rate the cars without a bias. From past experiences with mazdas (my friend's rx-7 and protege and family member's MPV minivan) the engines were a pain to fix, and often showed much more problems on long trips(2 yr old mazda minivan with <50k miles broke down twice while we were passing by tahoe) than Hondas or toyotas, so although qutie reliable, mazda reliability still(as far as self repairs and long term ownership) is still in my opinion, not up to par.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Right ... in your opinion. Here's my history with Mazda cars to date:

    1992 Protege LX: 28,000 miles, no problems (totaled in hydroplaning accident)
    1992 Protege LX no. 2: 83,000 miles, no problems (and I racked up all those miles in only 28 months -- 3K miles a month -- delivering pizzas during college)
    2000 Protege ES: 91,100 miles, front strut bushings replaced at 85,000 miles ($250 job)
    2002 Protege5: Wife's current car, 55,000 miles, no problems
    2005 Mazda3: My current car: 10,500 miles, no problems

    I don't have any experience working on Mazda engines because in five cars, 14 years and a little over a quarter of a million miles, I haven't had any engine problems!

  • I'm female so I think differently, more logically too because I work in law. From what I've seen, guys tend to focus solely on performance and looks. Nothing else that anyone says matters.

    I bought a Honda Civic because most experts say it's at the head of its class overall...period. Apparently a lot of people like the way it looks because it's flying off the lots. It's still a leader in its class.

    It doesn't surprise me that a Mazda fanatic is going to continuously say derogatory and purely subjective things about the way a Honda looks. The Mazda is slightly different but I don't think it's very unique --I think it's take a lot of its look from the Toyotas, especially the Corolla. They both have a lot of soft rounded corners all over it which makes it look very feminine. I prefer classic lines and more definition.

    I think mpg nowadays is a big selling point in cars because of the gas prices. Makes sense. The news says hybrids are hot! If you go for looks and performance, that's your perogative. However, I believe there are more important aspects to consider when you are spending your hard earned dollars on a car these days.

    Mazda is a good car, don't get me wrong. I prefer Hondas and Toyotas. For years, they have been at the top of their field bringing customers cars that are known worldwide for their reliability, quality, resale value and gas mileage.
  • I believe the previous poster who mentioned his opinion after looking at all three brands said that Mazda's reliability isn't as good as the others is talking about all Mazdas out there as a whole, not just yours, Meade. I'm glad you had no problems, but not everyone is that lucky.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Please be careful - all opinions are subjective, yours included. We are all entitled to our opinions, of course, and we use own priorities to define the criteria we use to arrive at them. What you define as your criteria is entirely your prerogative. By the same token, others are entitled to define theirs according to their own line of thinking.

    You aren't right and they aren't wrong, just as they aren't right and you aren't wrong. You all are entitled to your views and to express them here without getting beaten up for them.

    That said, we are here to discuss and contrast our different viewpoints, so carry on. Let's just not get into telling others in some way that their opinion is somehow incorrect. It is not incorrect for them, even if we see things differently.
  • Okay you said :

    "An economy car is an automobile that is designed for low-cost operation. "

    Low cost operation, the key word being operation, in an economic sense is gas cost and maintenance cost. There are also factors such as reliability, tire cost,repair costs, insurance cost ,but these are not the major differentiating metrics.

    Operation has nothing to do with sticker price according to your defintion.

    My choice for economy car is the Mercedes 320CDi ; low operation cost.

    The point is that mpg should be a significant factor in an economic car evaluation and it was not in the Edmunds economic car comparison.

    If it were considered then Honda Civic would have been the winner. But hey, Honda Civic continues to win year after year and after all the Mazda 3 is a fun ,sporty car just not economical.

    I tend to side with LegalPenguin, I think the Honda Civic is the best choice out of the 3: Best relability, Best mileage, good layout of controls, and the smoothest manual shift.


  • These days it is a fashion to say that this or that car is 'plain vanilla', 'for the masses', 'run of the mill' etc etc. The latest Civic is by no stretch of imagination a plain vanilla car, any more than a Mazda 3. The 3 is a great little car, but by no means unique.

    Coming back to what Honda stamps out to the 'masses', well they make what people want to buy, not something that will sit in dealer lots and have to be discounted 4-5 thousand dollars. And what exactly do you think american masses are, idiots??? People talk and talk about different cars, but when time comes to vote with their wallets, everyone takes a more realistic look at things. This is the sole reason that the 05 Civic was handily outselling the 3 even with the 3 being considered a sportier car. This will continue, I have no doubt on that, and not because Mazda can't make more 3s.

    Anyway, Honda does make some pretty exciting cars (IMHO) some of which are listed below:

    New Civic Si
    2006 Accord V6 Stick
    Acuras - TSX, TL, RSX

    Even the Odyssey is considered a sporty minivan. Apart from this, Honda itself is an exciting car/motor company, as demonstrated by their race presence. In F-1, they are considered at the top of the heap in power, pulling in around 900 HP from a 3.0L engine.

    In the market place, Hondas are usually a the top of the heap in their respective classes, both in HP as well as Gas Mileage. That is the reason most of the cars/SUVs they make sell well, in fact are best sellers.
  • Where is that in Mars? Give me me data please.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,448
    i'm guessing from comments that the new civic is way better than the old one. drove the last generation and hated the lack of feel. i bought an '04 focus. other than the cheap interior, it's a pretty good, fun car to drive. some cars are great on paper, but not so great to live with. i have never been able to get comfortable in toyota seats. the drivers seat in a sport package focus is way better than the standard setup.
  • Here are my subjective views of the pros and cons of both cars-

    PRO- exterior styling, interior styling, acceleration, handling, black interior available
    CON- lower gas mileage than some competitors (s model), driver seat a little cramped for bigger folks, harsh ride on imperfect surfaces

    Honda Civic-
    PRO- looks great from side and back, innovative and spacious interior, fuel economy, comfortable big-car ride
    CON- front is unattractive, interior color choices are bland, no higher performance sedan option

    Both really are fantastic cars. I think 3 sales will continue to increase with rising gas prices and Honda will have no problems selling their 300,000 planned units this year.

    For me, it comes down to whether I want sportiness/handling (Mazda) or comfort and economy (Honda). I'm leaning toward the sportiness and handling.

    If only Honda would offer an Si Sedan....
  • The 3 i does get significantly better fuel economy than the s.

    Here are the figures-

    i - MT- 28/35
    AT- 26/34

    s- MT- 25/32
    AT- 24/29

    Mazda doesn't have the '06 specs listed on their site yet, so the AT figures are for '05 models. The i had some engine modifications that might affect mileage and the s has the 5-speed automatic this year which may increase economy.
  • ezpilzeezpilze Posts: 29
    I just realized this, why isn't the nissan sentra in this compar anyways? The SE-R is within or around the price range of the mazda 3 as well, while the 1.8S is definintely within the corollas price range... Same with the Mitsubishi ralliart... wait, why were these 3 cars the ONLY econo-cars to be compared anyways?

    Oh well whatever, and in regards to mdaffron, I'm glad your experiences with mazdas were enjoyable, but from the amount of mileage I see on your mazdas and based on their years, I'm guessing you did alot of city and freeway driving only(sorry if I'm wrong). In my case the cars were driven under more severe conditions both from the driver and the environment(Hills, snow, desert heat, etc). I'm not saying that Hondas and Toyotas were impervious to all the abuse, but on average they tended to last longer before needing any maintainence.
  • Can't remember the source, but the '06 s 5AT gets 25/31
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    The latest Civic is by no stretch of imagination a plain vanilla car, any more than a Mazda 3.
    I could not agree with you more. And as allfiredup noted they both have their audiences. What I find useful in these forums is the expression of what's important to various audiences. For example, I love cars that provide taut, precise moves and would be prepared to give up the comfort found in other cars that give me the feeling of "floating" over the road. There is nothing wrong with being in one or the other group. Also, as 03accordman rightly writes, Honda can make exciting cars. Did you know that Soichiro Honda, the firebrand founder, who was called the "Latin" of Japanese automaking, was a racer of his own creations and once sustained a serious injury taking two years of recovery (all this from a wonderful book by Wanda James called Driving from Japan).

    The 3 is a great little car
    Among the names Mazda used for its compact cars besides 3 was 323 and GLC; when asked what GLC meant, the response was "great little car".
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I'm guessing you did alot of city and freeway driving only(sorry if I'm wrong). In my case the cars were driven under more severe conditions both from the driver and the environment(Hills, snow, desert heat, etc).

    I would think 4,000 miles a month (for 28 months) of stop-and-go Pizza Hut delivery driving in all manners of weather, from 100-degree, high-humidity mid-Atlantic summers to winter ice storms, sleet and snow, would just about beat any snow or desert weather you could throw at a car. And my second '92 weathered (sorry) that kind of environment from the day it left the lot until the day I traded it in 83,000 miles later, and never had one problem.

    No, I'm not saying the 3 is for everyone. Nor am I saying I expect all Mazdas to perform the way mine did. (But ya gotta admit, after five nearly flawless cars, the odds are in favor of my experiences.) I'm glad Pat came in and set a few things straight here. It seems that some people here don't understand that our opposing opinions are healthy and they balance out the comparison. None of the three cars in question is a "bad" car, any more than any of us being more "right" than the other. My reasons for liking my car are just as important to me as your reasons for liking your car are to you, and the Town Hall (and more specifically, this comparo discussion) exists so we can yack it out -- in a civil manner, hopefully while still having a little fun jabbing each other -- so prospective buyers can tap into what's important to them and make a decision based upon our experiences. In other words, this discussion exists so I can say the Civic is "plain vanilla" as much as that person can say the Civic is the best thing since vanilla pudding in a take-along six-pack. :P

    You state your opinion, I'll state mine. Each of us is correct for our own reasons. But don't think you're going to change my opinion -- or, more importantly, my demeanor -- by calling me overly personal, insensitive or overreactive. This is a forum about cars -- and cars are a highly opinionated, overly subjective, and explosively passionate subject for many. Especially those of us who prefer not to drive what everybody else is driving, and who base our choice of car on more than just what some publication told us we should be driving.

    BTW, regarding that "economy" definition, I'd like you to consider my "cost of ownership" against the Civic even with its 8-mpg highway lead. Since Mazda has paid for all my oil changes for the first three years (value $240 @ $20 per change), plus all my tires for life (assuming two more sets @ $450 -- that's lowballing it, btw -- which comes to $900), plus it has a timing chain which will not cost me $400 to replace in the fourth or fifth year of ownership, buying my Mazda3 has already saved me $1,540. The Civic gets 8 more mpg, which at $3.00 a gallon and the 11 gallons it takes to fill up my Mazda3, equates to about $7.50 more per fillup of my 3 than if I had a Civic (assuming all we do is highway driviing -- but again, I'll lowball myself for the sake of this argument). I fill my tank about every 10 days. I keep my cars for about five years. That's 183 fillups. 183 x $7.50 = $1,372.50 the Civic would be saving me over five years, compared to the $1,540 I'm saving in Mazda-supplied oil changes and tires, and the fact that I won't need a timing belt and the Civic will. So I actually save more than $167 by driving the 3 instead of the Civic.

    One more thing -- somebody listed the Mazda3's seats as a "con" because they could be uncomfortable for larger drivers. Well boys and girls, I'm 6-1 and weigh 280 pounds, and I shop in the "big and tall" stores. Unlike some of you, I DID go and look at the competition, and I still do regularly -- I came damn near buying a Sentra SE-R back in 2000 over the Protege -- even had signed some papers and agreed on a payment at Dominion Nissan here in Richmond -- thank God I didn't now! -- anyway, one, er, "big" reason for buying the Mazda3 over the Civic and Corolla was that my hip dug into the seat-belt connector in the Civic, and my head was hitting the ceiling in it and the Corolla!


    P.S. If you really want to know why I'm so passionate about Mazda, it's because Mazda is passionate about building cars that aren't plain-vanilla and catered to the masses. Read this before you respond:
This discussion has been closed.