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Honda Civic vs Mazda3

patpat Posts: 10,421
The Edmunds editors share the results of their latest economy comparo here: 2006 Economy Sedan Comparison Test: Honda Civic vs. Mazda3.

Have a look ... then have at it ... :-P
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Comments

  • I have driven both cars.
    Mazda - I drove the hatchback 3 w/ manual trans - the hatch is only available in S trim, so it had a 2.3 liter engine. It handled very well - tight in the corners, good road feel, decent power - (I really like a tight suspension) the interior was, i felt, intuitive, and reminded me somehow of a sports car's dash. Being a hatch, it was eminently practical for carrying big things.

    Honda Civic - I drove both manual and automatic trans - my original feelings about automatics has been reconfirmed - I hate them. I like the stick. The car was slightly underpowered, but for an economy car, it worked. I really liked the interior - seats were comfortable, it was quiet (relative to the 94 Corolla I'm driving now). I love the dash - (except for the digital speedo - I agree wholeheartedly with the article on that score). I like all the little nooks and crannies (for glasses, change, wallets, ez-pass, i-pods etc..). The dash controls were intuitive enough. On top of it all, claimed 38 mpg is a big deal. Handling was not quite as tight as the 3, and I can't see the hood of the civic.
    I disagree with the article on the stereo system, I think that the 3 had a better sounding stereo.

    But guess what? I bought the civic (lx manual) - here's why.

    The 3 looks funny to me (someone somewhere wrote/said something about a clown car, and it stuck), whereas I really like the exterior of the civic.

    I can get used to not seeing the hood (like i did in our minivan)

    I figure the handling, performance, and sound aren't something that a few shopping runs in NOPI for a new suspension (eventually)and WeeBee Audio for new speakers can't take care of

    Since I have four kids, the full complement of airbags, sensors in the seat for determining the size of the passenger, and the flat floor (the better to stuff a third kid in the middle of the rear seat)are all factors.

    I already have a minivan so I don't really need all the practicality of the hatch (although if honda offered a civic hatch i would take it), and the folding rear seat should take care of any larger than normal stuff.

    And the DEAL BREAKER for the 3 - its Ford affiliation. The last time I had a ford, I was happy when someone hit me and totaled it (about 30 miles after warranty expired), thankfully ( :lemon: the shuttle driver from the ford dealership [good dealership, bad car] knew me by name).

    I just have to figure out where to put the cb radio (call me a geek, but that radio has paid for itself many, many, many times over - not for speeding, of course, speeding is illegal ;) )
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    would be a museum!

    10 - 4 Good Buddy!
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    with the comparison. The Mazda 3 is truly an amazing sedan. I prefer the styling of both the exterior, and interior. It drives better, and just simply feels more upscale IMO. The only thing I have trouble getting over, is the Civic's safety. I seem to put safety as one of the top things I look at on my list. If the Mazda3 had the Civic's safety, then it would be the perfect economy sedan IMO (a little more space would be good also)
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    So, they took 2 economy cars and liked the one with better performance? WHAT? I bought the Civic because I was looking for a safe family car to cart my wife and 3 kids around in. If I wanted a performance car I'd buy a Corvette, not a Mazda 3, thanks. And as much as they didn't like the Honda's dash layout, I MUCH prefer it to the traditional layout; so that certainly becomes a matter of taste. So too with the styling, which I really like as well. It sounds like they didn't like the looks of the car and it couldn't compete with the other ECONOMY car on the skidpad or racetrack. How many people are going to buy an economy sedan based on it's skidpad and racetrack performance again? I'd think the 25% better fuel economy might make more of a difference than 7/10ths of a second over the course of a quarter mile, hmm? I have an idea, let's compare two high performance sports cars and then pick the one that gets the best fuel economy. This follows the same logic as this review. Oh, and after you get done using your Mazda 3 at the track (yeah, right!) and are ready for a new car, let us know what kind of trade in value you've got on the Ford...oops, I mean Mazda.

    Warner
  • mldj98mldj98 Posts: 378
    Right on Brother!
    Could not have said it better myself!
    Some people put so much stock in track times, 1/4 mile times, etc.....but when it comes right down to it....the Civic has everything needed in a nice economy car with the added bonus of STANDARD safety features that other cars either don't have or you have to pay big time as an option!
    Hey Warner.....Happy Motoring!!!! :o)
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    In the test done by Inside Line - the Mazda3 got 22 MPG VS 29 For the Civic - that means the Civic got 31% more MPG - at $2.17 per gallon thats almost $2,400 is savings. Add that to the $2,400 lower sticker price and the (my guess) $3,000 more (for the Civic) you will get at trade in time and what do you get? $7,800 less on a $19,000 purchase - thats over 40% savings?

    I would still take the Mazda3 - I didn't buy the Mazda3 to save money.

    But I do agree - if you are doing a comparison of ECONOMY cars MPG is more important than 0-60 times.

    Any car that does not return at least 25 MPG should be automatically rejected because its - NOT AN ECONOMY CAR.

    I will give Inside Line some credit - they did state "If MPG is important then you should buy the Civic"
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    The tests and conclusions were laughable.
    It was an economy car comparison test. Why was economy dismissed so readily?
    "At first, the $2,400 difference in cost between our test cars was a major concern, but then we realized we could do without the $1,335 moonroof/CD changer package on our 3. Without it we'd have a car that cost only $1,000 more than the Civic."

    They were so biased towards track performance and their subjective opinions on looks and so eager to justify the added cost of the Mazda that they didn't even mention that since the Mazda is an older design, much larger dealer discounts are available than you will be able to get on the Civic fow some time.
    However, that does nothing for the Mazda's resale value or fuel costs.

    It isn't as if the Mazda performed better without a cost penalty.
  • I knew all I was going to read about is how great the Honda's fuel economy is and the side airbags. Well you can always get the 2.0L Mazda3 which would make fuel economy a non-issue. As for the SAB's one could argue that 12 ft of braking distance and better handling to avoid accidents would certainly be a fair trade-off.
    Some of us do want performance cars and would love a Vette, but guess what, most of us cannot afford one and we still have to lug our kids around. We should be happy that Mazda builds a car that is actually fun to drive and at the same time affordable to the average Joe.
  • chidorochidoro Posts: 125
    How did they get a LX to price at MSRP of $19,610?
    I can only assume they compared the 2.3S to the EX because it numbers don't make sense. $1k to buy a better car? Very odd that this went through editing as listed.

    Otherwise, it's obvious the 3 is an impressive vehicle. The Civic appears to be an emotional vehicle choice, ie. you love it or hate it. This match-up seems to side with the latter.

    A 9.6 0-60 for the Cvic? Seems awfully slow compared to other comparo's. The sheer negativity towards the Civic is pretty surprising to say the least. There are just many questionable observations that contradict other reviews. That is usually because it was due to an emotional backfire.

    Edit: It already looks as if the comparo edit team is trying to rectify the initial post-up to adjust EX from LX.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    I knew all I was going to read about is how great the Honda's fuel economy is and the side airbags.

    These are very important advantages of the Civic in this segment (the economy sedan) and SHOULD be mentioned and SHOULD carry much more weight than seven tenths in the quarter or a couple mph in the slalom. These are not areas where an economy sedan is supposed to do well. Chances are if an economy sedan does well in these areas, it's moving rapidly away from the "economy" part, as we see with the Mazda.

    Well you can always get the 2.0L Mazda3 which would make fuel economy a non-issue.

    Sure you could. It still wouldn't get the same fuel economy that the Civic gets, though. And I'm sure some of that "fun" factor would go away with that model as well as it drops 10 hp and gobs of tourqe from the 2.3 liter engine. And again, it wouldn't have the resale value that the Civic has.

    As for the SAB's one could argue that 12 ft of braking distance and better handling to avoid accidents would certainly be a fair trade-off.

    The braking IS an advantage, no doubt about it. However, your contention that this is an equal trade-off for the airbags (and other crash-related safety features that the Civic has that the Mazda doesn't) is not realistic unless you feel that all accidents where the airbags would be deployed would be your fault. Those great brakes and handling aren't going to help you if someone blows a light and wacks you while you're sitting still.

    Some of us do want performance cars and would love a Vette, but guess what, most of us cannot afford one and we still have to lug our kids around. We should be happy that Mazda builds a car that is actually fun to drive and at the same time affordable to the average Joe.

    I understand completely. Without making some sacrifices in other areas (where I'm not willing to make them currently), I cannot afford a Vette, either. If this is a worthwhile compromise to you, then the Mazda may be a worthy choice. I just did not feel that the comparison was based on the correct criteria for an economy sedan. If a real sports car is not an option (like it isn't for me), I think it's better to realize that you're not going to have one than it is to try to turn an economy car INTO one. But hey, everyone does their own thing and that's what's great about living here.

    Warner
  • Well you can always get the 2.0L Mazda3 which would make fuel economy a non-issue.

    Sure you could. It still wouldn't get the same fuel economy that the Civic gets, though. And I'm sure some of that "fun" factor would go away with that model as well as it drops 10 hp and gobs of torque from the 2.3 liter engine. And again, it wouldn't have the resale value that the Civic has.


    Real world fuel economy would amount to less than $100 bucks a year. In fact, according to a Consumer's Union report, the 3 gets better real world mileage than the previous gen Civic. Also, the 2 litre still produces more torque than the new 1.8 litre.

    The resale value of the Civic is the number one selling feature of the Civic IMO. I think Mazda suffers from the "Ford" stigma which is unfortunate as the the 3's predecessor was equally as reliable as the Gen 7 Civic.

    As for the SAB's one could argue that 12 ft of braking distance and better handling to avoid accidents would certainly be a fair trade-off.

    The braking IS an advantage, no doubt about it. However, your contention that this is an equal trade-off for the airbags (and other crash-related safety features that the Civic has that the Mazda doesn't) is not realistic unless you feel that all accidents where the airbags would be deployed would be your fault. Those great brakes and handling aren't going to help you if someone blows a light and wacks you while you're sitting still.


    Twelve feet can put you into an intersection where a pending t-bone could occur. Also, you can greatly diminish your chances of encountering a side impact by checking before entering an intersection.
    On a side note those A-Pillars on the Civic, are in a bad spot and can impede your field of vision. Ironically this was an issue with Volvo's as they bolstered the pillars for roll-over protection.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Real world fuel economy would amount to less than $100 bucks a year.

    I guess this depends on how many miles you drive per year, no? With the 2.0 engine, you are right that the Mazda gets close to the fuel economy of the Civic (but probably only with the manual trans - put autos in both cars and I think the numbers would start to move apart further, in the Civic's favor).


    In fact, according to a Consumer's Union report, the 3 gets better real world mileage than the previous gen Civic.

    That possible. I'm not sure what last year's numbers were. I know that I got a lifetime average (over 41,000 miles) on my 2004 Civic of 35mpg. But we aren't comparing previous models, we're comparing the new models, like the comparison that they did.

    Also, the 2 liter still produces more torque than the new 1.8 liter.

    I was actually comparing the Mazda 2.0 to the Mazda 2.3 since one of the selling points of the Mazda (in the article) was it's powerful engine. The 2.0 liter engine only has 10 more HP than the Civic engine, instead of the 20HP advantage that the 2.3 equipped model had. How much of the extra "fun to drive" factor evaporates with the loss of 50% of it's power advantage over the Civic?


    The resale value of the Civic is the number one selling feature of the Civic IMO. I think Mazda suffers from the "Ford" stigma which is unfortunate as the the 3's predecessor was equally as reliable as the Gen 7 Civic.

    Agreed. I don't really know if there's a legitimate REASON for the Civic's (and Hondas in general) higher resale value, but it DOES exist and must be accounted for when comparing vehicles.


    As for the SAB's one could argue that 12 ft of braking distance and better handling to avoid accidents would certainly be a fair trade-off.


    The braking IS an advantage, no doubt about it. However, your contention that this is an equal trade-off for the airbags (and other crash-related safety features that the Civic has that the Mazda doesn't) is not realistic unless you feel that all accidents where the airbags would be deployed would be your fault. Those great brakes and handling aren't going to help you if someone blows a light and whacks you while you're sitting still.


    Twelve feet can put you into an intersection where a pending t-bone could occur. Also, you can greatly diminish your chances of encountering a side impact by checking before entering an intersection.
    On a side note those A-Pillars on the Civic, are in a bad spot and can impede your field of vision. Ironically this was an issue with Volvo's as they bolstered the pillars for roll-over protection.


    Twelve feet can't put you anywhere you weren't already if you're sitting still. If you are approaching an intersection at 60mph and wait until the last possible second to brake, yeah....you lose 12 feet. Is that a realistic real-world scenario? I'll let you decide. As far as visibility issues, I have not noticed any in the Civic. About the only visibility related issue that I can comment on is that the outside mirrors appear to get dirty quicker than I remember on other cars. It could be this crappy weather that we've been getting fairly consistently here in Chicago....not sure. The pillars are never a visibility factor for me, though.

    Warner
  • mpg60mpg60 Posts: 71
    Hey all,

    It all boils down to personal preferences, likes and dislikes. So if you see an article etc on the civic from someone proned to liking honda their opinion will be slanted to that effect. Likewise with the Mazda 3. Bottom line though, isn't it great that we have choices. I drive a 3 and love it probably as much as someone who is driving a honda civic, but i am not going to begrudge them for making that personal choice as each car has something to offer depending on where one's priorities lie. This imo does not make one car better or worse than the other when it comes to these two fine automobiles.
  • A lot of the pro-Civic comments I've read so far mention the much better resale of the Honda versus the Mazda. It got me thinking, just how well has the Mazda3 been holding its value? I know the used Mazda3s I've looked at over the last few months seemed quite pricey, near the cost of a new one.

    I did compared an '04 Civic EX 4-door with an '04 Mazda3 s 4-door and here is what I found using Edmunds TMV-

    Price New Private Party/% Dealer Retail/%

    Mazda3 $16,615 $13,546/82% $15,542/93%

    Civic $17,260 $14,272/83% $16,176/94%

    The verdict- the Mazda3 loses no more than 1% more of its value than the Civic. That translates into less than $200.
    Resale value is NOT a valid argument in the Civic vs. Mazda3 battle!


    Personally, I've driven several Honda Civics as well as Accords, a Prelude and an Acura Legend- a total of eight since 1988. They were all exemplary vehicles.

    When I started shopping for a new car again this year, I started at the Honda dealer. The '05 Civic wasn't bad at all, but I wanted to wait for the '06 to show up and see what it was all about. In the meantime, I drove lots of others including the Mazda3. The Mazda impressed me as sportier, better handling, more powerful and better looking.

    After driving the '06 Civic EX, I was convinced the Mazda was the best choice for me. The biggest drawback was the Civic's exceptional fuel economy, but the Mazda's driving dynamics more than make up for it. I also love the fact that the Mazda feels and drives like a car costing twice as much. Honda's funky interior design as well as the lack of an engine upgrade were significant strikes against it, IMO. I also found the Civic's restricted interior/exterior color combinations to be a problem.

    Performance DOES matter to a lot of people shopping in this class. Just because we want a smaller vehicle or one that doesn't cost $30k doesn't mean we want to drive something slow, sloppy handling or boring.
  • mcapmcap Posts: 49
    I agree that both cars are great. I really like both of them and had a hard time deciding. But the comparison was clearly biased.

    They should have compared a loaded Touring i with moonroof, SAB and ABS to the ex. That is really the best match.

    They are also glossing over many complaints commonly heard on this board. They rave about the leather which, here on edmunds has been referred to as hard, cheap plastic. I have also read complaints in the Mazda forum about the non maintenance free battery, grooving on the rear rotors, shift problems between 1st and 2nd, the center console that really cuts into leg/knee room, a large rear blindspot, the uncessary funkly orange lights on the dash, and above all, consistent complaints about an A/C system that on some cars, is poor at best.

    You may prefer the interior and build of the Mazda but I am not sure how you walk away convinced that the comparsion is a no brainer. The new civic interior is outstanding....especially the dash. It takes some getting used to but most everyone who has one loves it. The lines are clean and the materials top notch for the segment. There are thoughtful touches all over the place like a bin that opens automatically in the center, adjustable arm rest in the middle, two electrical outlets, programmable remote entry, steering controlled audio and cruise buttons that are illuminated, outstanding wipers, great rear and rear blindspot visibility, a nice blue (not orange) backlight, and a number of other thoughtful touches. How about cruising on the highway at minimal RPMs?

    Again, I think the three wins on steering, brakes and some aspects of engine performance. But the civic is no slouch. It's very close.

    Finally, you have to look at cars in the long term. The 6 was apparently very reliable until it was downgraded recently. Who knows what the long term viability of the 3 will be (although the civic is unproven for 06 as well). In the end, I think the civic offers the best blend of performance and reliability. But, as I say, both are great.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    A lot of the pro-Civic comments I've read so far mention the much better resale of the Honda versus the Mazda. It got me thinking, just how well has the Mazda3 been holding its value? I know the used Mazda3s I've looked at over the last few months seemed quite pricey, near the cost of a new one.

    I did compared an '04 Civic EX 4-door with an '04 Mazda3 s 4-door and here is what I found using Edmunds TMV-

    Price New Private Party/% Dealer Retail/%

    Mazda3 $16,615 $13,546/82% $15,542/93%

    Civic $17,260 $14,272/83% $16,176/94%

    The verdict- the Mazda3 loses no more than 1% more of its value than the Civic. That translates into less than $200.
    Resale value is NOT a valid argument in the Civic vs. Mazda3 battle!


    You can say this, and quote KBB and all the others. The only thing that matters though is what someone actually GOT for their car, not what they were supposed to be able to get. I equate this to the antiques/fine art business in a sense. Have you ever watched the antiques roadshow? I have, and used to be quite active in art/collectible markets. I personally know some of the experts that have done the appraisals for the roadshow. Some are more realistic than others, but the bottom line is that their appraisals mean nothing. The only number that matters is what someone is willing to pay for a particular item (or vehicle), NOT what the appraisal is. My 2000 Hyundai Elantra wagon had an appraisal of around $7,000 when I sold it in 2004 (to buy my '04 Civic), but the dealer wanted to give me $1,800 in trade in! I finally struggled and sold the darn thing for $3,650 (and I TRIED). So go ahead and quote all the websites that you want to, but I won't be listening until someone shows me what they GOT for their car on the fair market because that's the only thing that matters. On the other hand, my 2004 Civic (according to KBB) was supposed to be worth $9,730 trade in, $11,255 private party but I got $11,900 on the TRADE IN, from a dealer (this was a 5-speed with 41,000 miles on it). I don't see the Mazda living up to that, period.

    After driving the '06 Civic EX, I was convinced the Mazda was the best choice for me. The biggest drawback was the Civic's exceptional fuel economy, but the Mazda's driving dynamics more than make up for it. I also love the fact that the Mazda feels and drives like a car costing twice as much. Honda's funky interior design as well as the lack of an engine upgrade were significant strikes against it, IMO. I also found the Civic's restricted interior/exterior color combinations to be a problem.

    I'm assuming you mean the biggest drawback to the Mazda was the Civic's fuel economy? Hey, if you liked the Mazda better and bought it, that's GREAT...and it's great that we have such choices here. I personally find the Civic MUCH better looking, inside and out and I love the dash layout. I'm sure other opinions vary. I opted for the Galaxy Gray Metallic, which I really liked (I actually liked the Shoreline Mist Metallic a bit better, but my wife liked the darker color, and the light color interior would probably get (okay...LOOK) dirtier much sooner.

    Warner
  • I don't get why they used a Mazda3 s GT to compare with the Civic EX, even though it won anyway. The GT package does adds amenities like heated leather seats, automatic climate control, trip computer, tire pressure monitoring system, automatic HID headlamps and rain sensing automatic wipers for only $1,500 over the Touring model. None of these features are available on the Civic at all.

    The Mazda3 s Touring would have provided a more level playing field making the 3 and Civic prices much closer. The Touring model with Moonroof/6CD package and automatic transmission stickers for $20,015 and the Civic EX 4-door automatic stickers for $19,610. Real world pricing, according to CarsDirect and Edmunds, makes the Civic actually higher than the comparable 3.

    The Mazda3 i Touring was mentioned in an earlier post. It would get significantly better mileage than the sportier, faster 3 s at a lower price. The 3 i is also available with sunroof, 6CD changer, alloy wheels that aren't available on lesser Civic models. A 3 i Touring equipped similar to the Civic EX would sticker for $18,735. For the record, the 3 i automatic has a 0-60 time of 9.0 seconds which beats the Civic.

    The new Civic is a great car. Its quality assembly and materials, exceptional fuel economy and legendary reliability are undeniable.

    The Mazda3 appeals to a different type of compact buyer. They are willing to give up some fuel economy and ride comfort for a more agressive appearance, quicker acceleration and sports car handling. To someone with a passion for driving (including car reviewers), it is the obvious choice.
  • I did compared an '04 Civic EX 4-door with an '04 Mazda3 s 4-door and here is what I found using Edmunds TMV-

    Price New Private Party/% Dealer Retail/%

    Mazda3 $16,615 $13,546/82% $15,542/93%

    Civic $17,260 $14,272/83% $16,176/94%

    The verdict- the Mazda3 loses no more than 1% more of its value than the Civic. That translates into less than $200.
    Resale value is NOT a valid argument in the Civic vs. Mazda3 battle!

    You can say this, and quote KBB and all the others. The only thing that matters though is what someone actually GOT for their car, not what they were supposed to be able to get. I equate this to the antiques/fine art business in a sense. Have you ever watched the antiques roadshow? I have, and used to be quite active in art/collectible markets. I personally know some of the experts that have done the appraisals for the roadshow. Some are more realistic than others, but the bottom line is that their appraisals mean nothing. The only number that matters is what someone is willing to pay for a particular item (or vehicle), NOT what the appraisal is. My 2000 Hyundai Elantra wagon had an appraisal of around $7,000 when I sold it in 2004 (to buy my '04 Civic), but the dealer wanted to give me $1,800 in trade in! I finally struggled and sold the darn thing for $3,650 (and I TRIED). So go ahead and quote all the websites that you want to, but I won't be listening until someone shows me what they GOT for their car on the fair market because that's the only thing that matters. On the other hand, my 2004 Civic (according to KBB) was supposed to be worth $9,730 trade in, $11,255 private party but I got $11,900 on the TRADE IN, from a dealer (this was a 5-speed with 41,000 miles on it). I don't see the Mazda living up to that, period.

    There is obviously no point in continuing to debate resale value if you refuse to believe the actual trade publications that quote said values. Edmunds TMV in particular is complied from "real world" pricing.

    It's obvious that you prefer the Civic over the Mazda3 and I have absolutely no problem with that at all. Honda is projecting sales of about 300,000 this year while Mazda only plans to sell about 100,000 3s. There are more Civic buyers than 3 buyers out there. I'm proud to be a member of the minority.
  • Twelve feet can't put you anywhere you weren't already if you're sitting still. If you are approaching an intersection at 60mph and wait until the last possible second to brake, yeah....you lose 12 feet. Is that a realistic real-world scenario? I'll let you decide. As far as visibility issues, I have not noticed any in the Civic. About the only visibility related issue that I can comment on is that the outside mirrors appear to get dirty quicker than I remember on other cars. It could be this crappy weather that we've been getting fairly consistently here in Chicago....not sure. The pillars are never a visibility factor for me, though.

    I agree with you that the likelyhood of 12 ft saving your bacon is remote. By the same token, the odds of you getting into accident where a SAB would make a difference is remote as well. You could get into a fairly minor impact where you escape unhurt in either vehicle or you could be t-boned by an Escalade do 55 mph and end up in a pine box no matter what. Only something in between those 2 scenarios will SAB's be of any value.
    My biggest safety concern is when my kids get to that age when they or their friends get a driver's license. That is something truly to be afraid of.

    That possible. I'm not sure what last year's numbers were. I know that I got a lifetime average (over 41,000 miles) on my 2004 Civic of 35mpg. But we aren't comparing previous models, we're comparing the new models, like the comparison that they did.

    We both drive the predecessor the respective vehicles in this comparo. IMO they did not make any significant improvements to yours, save for the SAB's and possibly handling. I think yours is better looking and it definitely has a nicer interior. Mazda improved greatly on my car in every respect and raised the bar in this segment. Honda used to be the cutting edge in technology now they seem to content to minimally improve on the status-quo.
  • There's not much surprise in this comparison at all. The Mazda trounces the Civic, for all the reasons that could be expected: performance, and subjective biases.

    I have two good friends; one bought a 3 hatchback a year ago (2005 model, with a four-speed auto), and one just recently bought a Civic Sedan EX with a standard. And in all reality, the differences between the cars are just as obvious and clear as Edmunds made them out to be. Here's a recap:
    - The 3 performs better, in all categories. Important for people who care about performance.
    - The Civic gets better mileage. Important for commuters and the like.
    - Both cars hold resale values fairly well (obviously the Civic slightly more) - the friend who bought a 3 hatchback got an offer of about 20,000 for her car, from a dealer. For a year old car. Supposedly demand for used 3's are fairly high. (She paid 23,000 - these are Canadian figures by the way)

    But here's the silly thing: the downfalls of each can be combatted by simply switching models. If you want a sportier Civic, get the coupe, which weighs less, has a slightly firmer damping, and when paired with a stick, is nearly as fun to drive as any 3. If you want a 3 with better fuel economy, step down to the 3i with the smaller engine, get the standard, and if driven properly, you'll be beating the Civic's fuel economy numbers. However, any such switch obviously changes the fundamentals of the car. The coupe doesn't have nearly as much interior space as the sedan, and is barely tolerable for carpooling. The 3i, even with the standard, can no longer out-accelerate all other economy sedans, especially Cobalts and Ions; whereas the 3s can.

    With these performance and performance-related (Mileage) problems addressed, it simply comes down to the intangibles of styling, feel, and the car's suiting to your needs. If you commute a long distance, you like "futuristic" styling, and a bit of body roll doesn't bother you, the Civic is clearly the winner; if you drive ten minutes to work, prefer more traditional styling, and love the feeling of ringing out your car on an empty stretch of road, then the 3 is the clear winner. It really isn't anything technical or spectacular here.

    In my experiences as both a driver and passenger in both cars, the 3 is my obvious choice, despite the added safety of the Civic, which is the only real place where the Civic has the 3 beat hands-down. The only thing that can make a car truly safe however, is the driver, and all modern cars are at least acceptably decent at protecting safe drivers from the unsafe ones. That's what legislation is for - remember, most car companies complained about having to fit cars with seatbelts.

    In any case, the 3 is simply sportier, the Civic more economical; though when I graduate from University this summer, I'm not entirely sure which one I'll be going for. Most likely a Civic LX coupe, simply because I don't plan on taking many passengers along for my ride, and I also want the exceptional fuel economy of the Civic's engine. Besides, any performance gap between the Civic and the Mazda can be recouperated in aftermarket parts. At least I hope.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Insightful commentary.

    The only thing that can make a car truly safe however, is the driver, and all modern cars are at least acceptably decent at protecting safe drivers from the unsafe ones. That's what legislation is for - remember, most car companies complained about having to fit cars with seatbelts.
    Yes, ultimately, cars are in the hands of drivers but driving is more of a social than an individual activity. Social as in "involving others". So, we buckle up and don't drink, we agonize about the emissions our machines expel into the air, we try sharing our patch of road with others who either plod or boogie, and we say a prayer for those fixing a flat in the dark. Furthermore, your comments about private car companies and government legislation confirm your understanding of the involvement of other players. Happy trails in 06. :)
  • and buy a Scion tC! we test drove the 05? mazda 3 in Sept of 05.... then drove the Scion. base engine for the 3...No Comparison.
    Madza with the Escort engine was nearly 20K loaded for almost same things we got on our tC for 17,199! Same goes for the currently new civic!
    Sunroof,cd player, 6 way seats, (reclining rear seats!), hatchback(new civic got rid of the coupes 3 door versatility... what a waste of good usable space to haul stuff, when you have a coupe/trunk combo, to me, anyways...may as well get the sedan, then, if you are getting a trunk).
    We saved nearly 2,700 on 3 vs tC in 05, not to mention the taxes on that extra 2,700,about another 140 dollars=3,840, plus financing..... around 3,500 more?

    Not bashing the cars, just saying, unless you must have a certain style, or "mpg"(gimme fun... we get 34mpg after 30K miles on tC, automatic) 160HP, and do not have to pay a premium to get "the best engine".
    Civic with sunroof,etc, nearly 20K msrp, and last I checked, same for mazda3....are they good? Yes? Are they 2-4K better? depends on if 3-5 mpg makes the deal or breaks it for you all.
    The 3 looks best , i will admit, but test drive all 3...you'll see(all 3 at the tC's price level, w/o extras. you get more with the Scion , for the price).
    take Care/Not Offense.

    PS: Civic 140HP, and 40 mpg. Mazda 3 has what now, 150 and 160 hp engines to choose from? Both over 19K loaded like a tC at 17,499(now)?

    All 3 are good. we just thought the tC was less NVH than the (old?) base mazda 3, and the new civic was not out yet(and even if it were, we would not pay nearly 20K for one, just to get cruise and sunroof).
  • is true, on 05 tC, if you mainly drive hwy(ours is 70% hwy, 30% city mix).
    Just to clarify.
    worst we got was 29MPG first 5000 miles.... after that, it improved over the miles.

    Again, not bashing Mazda 3 or Civic: Just saying, for the amount of cash, buying a car "as is"(without modifying it with aftermarket parts, either through th dealerships, or on your own), the tC is the price champ, and a good vehicle.
    TC/NO
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    There is obviously no point in continuing to debate resale value if you refuse to believe the actual trade publications that quote said values. Edmunds TMV in particular is complied from "real world" pricing.

    Agreed. I do not believe in "book" pricing. It doesn't hold water in any type of medium that I've ever dealt in, and I've seen it not hold water in particular with cars. I've seen it firsthand with my Hyundai and my Honda, working in opposite directions. If you trust the books, I've got some Hummels to sell you......book prices on them are easily 4 times what you could expect to get for them if you tried to sell them. Show me some auction prices from actual auto auctions....THOSE numbers actually mean something. In fact, eBay is not a bad place to get an idea of what market value is for any given item. How do the eBay numbers stack up when you compare the two vehicles? (I haven't checked, so maybe the 3's are bringing MORE than the Civics...and if this is the case, I WILL believe those numbers, because they actually mean something.).

    Warner
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    I agree with you that the likelyhood of 12 ft saving your bacon is remote. By the same token, the odds of you getting into accident where a SAB would make a difference is remote as well. You could get into a fairly minor impact where you escape unhurt in either vehicle or you could be t-boned by an Escalade do 55 mph and end up in a pine box no matter what. Only something in between those 2 scenarios will SAB's be of any value.
    My biggest safety concern is when my kids get to that age when they or their friends get a driver's license. That is something truly to be afraid of.


    I'll respond by asking two questions.

    1 - If you found yourself in a situation where you HAD to be in one of the cars while an Escalade hit you at 55mph, which one would you pick?

    2 - Which one would you want your kids or your wife to be driving?

    We both drive the predecessor the respective vehicles in this comparo. IMO they did not make any significant improvements to yours, save for the SAB's and possibly handling. I think yours is better looking and it definitely has a nicer interior. Mazda improved greatly on my car in every respect and raised the bar in this segment. Honda used to be the cutting edge in technology now they seem to content to minimally improve on the status-quo.

    Actually, I'm driving a 2006 Civic EX so either you misunderstood what I'm driving or I did a poor job of explaining it. That aside, I beg to differ that the new Civic does not have any significant improvements. It's probably the MOST improved vehicle for 2006. I'm rather surprised that you feel it hasn't had any significant improvements. Comparing it to the 2004 that I traded in on it, it's a different (read BETTER) car completely. It's quieter, nicer inside and out, wider, longer (read Rides much nicer, like a larger car because it IS a larger car), and has several added safety features. I opted for the EX model, but all the way down to the lowest optioned model, they ALL have anti-lock brakes, passive head restraint, and more airbags than you can shake a stick at. How are these "not significant"?

    Warner
  • xquxqu Posts: 55
    As much as I respect edmunds' test results, I just can't say it's fair. Appearantly, the performance weights much more than economy in this ECONOMY SEDAN comparison. They should really use the Mazda 3i with the 2.0L engine to compare with the Civic, they are closer match in price and performance.

    Or better yet, wait for the Civic Si sedan comes out next year then compare it with the Mazda 3S.
  • The Scion is an undeniably good value, but your figures don't represent the actual pricing differences compared to the Mazda3.

    Scion prices are NOT negotiable, much like Saturn. You have to pay sticker price. Currently, most Mazda3's can be had for $1000-1500 off sticker. Also, the number you're using to compare prices is the fully loaded GT model tested which includes many features not available on the Scion.

    Here's a more realistic view-

    Scion tC- MSRP-$17,390, TMV-$17,390
    Mazda3 i Touring- MSRP-$17,835, TMV-$17,121
    Mazda3 s- MSRP-$18,575, TMV-$17,617
    *added moonroof/6CD and ABS/side airbags to Mazdas

    The Edmunds TMV values are often very conservative, as evidenced in the Mazda3: Prices Paid forum. I bought a 3 s 5-door two weeks ago for almost $1500 under sticker. It is reasonable to expect that the 3 s could be had for under $17,000.

    Also, the Scion is only available as a two door, which significantly reduces its potential audience. I remember reading that under 1/3 of '06 Civics sold will be Coupes.
  • "Or better yet, wait for the Civic Si sedan comes out next year then compare it with the Mazda 3S."

    Actually Edmunds tested it over a month ago, so it's been available for testing. If this comparo was primarily about which car has better performance, which it seemed to be, testing the Si would have been a much better comparison. If you skip the NAV option, it would be very comparably priced to the Mazda, and would have handily won the acceleration tests, and braking and handling would have been close.
  • And it lost its first major American comparo.

    My wife and I recently test drove an 06 Civic EX coupe with 5MT, and an 06 Mazda 3s with 5MT and Moonroof package. We also took a new Jetta and a Scion tC out for a spin last week, although with tC we had to settle with an automatic tranny.

    Let me just say that I am biased towards Mazda, as today we just got a delivery of the 3s that we test drove. We got it down to $40 over the Edmunds invoice, and we used the Mazda Zoom Zoom live coupon which made it about $500 below invoice. But even without the coupon, you can definetely have a comparably equipped 3 for the same or less money than the new Civic. (which means worse resale, I know)

    For those of you that seemed rather disturbed by the result of the comparo, I don't think you need to. You guys are right in that what MOST people look for in an economy car are not performance numbers, but things like standard safety features, fuel economy, and resale values. In fact, you can be rest assured that the Civic will sell as well as it always has, easily outselling the 3.

    But I don't think that car magazines need to abandon the perspective of car enthusiasts and cater to the taste of general public. If you want to know what "everyone" thinks is good, you don't have to read a car mag or log onto a car website. Just ask your friends and neighbors. Or better yet, read CR.

    I think it's important to note that the new Civic is not only a new design, but a new design focused specifically on the people that look for something fun in an economy car. I can't remember how many times Honda USA talked about getting back the young/tuner crowd with the new Civic before they released the new gen.

    And I think they did a great job. We were quite impressed with the 5MT EX coupe that we drove. Quick, feelsome steering, revvy engine, (although not THAT revvy in Honda standard) floor hinged gas pedal, and nice body control. (I'm guessing the sedan may not be as good) I think its hip design in and out will play a big roll in getting back its tuner appeal.

    But in the end, the Civic still felt to us like an economy car, albeit a very good one at that. It was very fun and lively, and I really enjoyed driving it. But to me, it was fun in the typical small, light car way. It just didn't feel like a car that's asking to be driven hard, and it wasn't particularly confidence-inspiring.

    On the other hand, after taking a few corners in the 3, I felt that it had the chassis not of an economy car, but of a genuinely well tuned sports sedan. Now I'm not claiming to be a performance guru, but the car definitely wowed me with the body control that I was NOT expecting in this segment. And frankly, pulling 0.87G repeatedly on those mediocre Goodyear (edit: not Toyo) all seasons is very difficult for ANY car. It's important not because of the number itself, but because it tells me about the supreme suspension tuning.

    But it wasn't only that. The whole package just felt above the class. In fact, after testdriving the nice but un-memorable new Jetta a week after, I couldn't agree more with the Edmunds' comment on 3. "it's the new Jetta VW should've built"

    All this made me feel quite threatened, since that meant my wife may get a car that's not only nicer, but in fact handles better than my WRX wagon. (Time for some REAL good summer tires!) But sometimes a man needs to except his fate, given that he will have ample opportunities to steal his wife's car for late night drives. :P

    So, yes, I don't think my wife and I represent the most typical demographics of economy car buyers, even though we ARE in our late 20-s with no kids and stable but not spectacular income. We are willing to sacrifice some fuel economy for fun, and we own our cars for over 6~7 years so resale is not that big of a factor. And apparently there are still enough of people like us, judging by how well the 3 has been selling. And I'm glad that Edmunds decided to represent the point of view that many young enthusiasts like me have.

    P.S. besides, all you honda fans have nothing to complain about, the Civic got the M/T car of the year. You greedy Honda fanboys! :)
  • Actually Si is a very different story. I get a feeling that Honda is losing money on the Si, just to get back the tuner crowd. Look at the price difference between EX and Si. It's less than $2K I think, and that gets you what, 60 more HP, world class 6-spd tranny, much better tuned suspension, LSD, thousand times sexier seats, and many more. I don't know what kind of sweat shop Honda runs to make that happen, but that's certainly not normal. It's either one of these cars is overpriced, or the other one's a bleeder.
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