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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla vs Mazda3



  • I realize that a civic doesn't come close to our car... but that is not necessary since we lok for a second car which makes us compromise for the money.
    So, 10000 miles oil changes and a timing chain? If that is so, the civic is back in the equation. Only interested in the LX.
    I'd love to look into the Corolla for money reasons. But our minimum requirement is safety, which requires ABS and 6 airbags. and honestly, the corolla has fewer safety features than a KIA Rio (well, in theory a Corolla can have 6 bags ans AB... but not in reality)
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    The oil change schedule for most cars is really two schedules - one for "Normal" driving and one for "severe" conditions.

    The difference is things like heavy stop and go traffic, very hot or cold - dusty conditions or many short trips.

    Seems to me most drivers should use the shorter period between oil changes - so in the case of the Mazda3 that would be every 4 months or 5K miles

    The schedule if most of your miles are longer trips is 12 months or 7.5K miles -

    Seems a little strange (all cars not just Mazda)

    Because any car that is driven mostly on longer trips (like a 40 mile commute to work) will have way more than 7,500 miles in 12 months (625 miles per month)

    But anyone who is more or a short trip driver will never go 5,000 miles in only 4 months. (1,250 miles per month)

    I know - it is which ever comes FIRST - but seems like the miles and months should balance out - I could come up with a situation - like if you are a cab driver - or if you only take the vehicle on long "vacations" a few times per year - but this is just not how most people use their cars.

    Not being critical - but the decision over which new car I buy would never come down to something like which one can go a few thousand miles more between oil changes - there are just to many other things that would over shadow that - but if it is really that close of a decision then I would just go with the one that felt the best coming out of a sharp corner!
  • the oil change is not the deciding factor... but overall maintenance cost is one of them.
    I absolutely wouldn't call driving in wisconsin severe... Well, Winter and Summer....
    not too much stop and go (unless you are only dowm town).
    sure, dealers call everything severe to make more money. In other countries the oil changes are set to twice or three fold the periods in the US (even with the same engines). And there is no single problem with break downs related to "old" oil. Well, longer intervals mean you reall have to watch the oil level (too little oil definitely is way worse than old oil). Our car now gets to the 3000 miles and the oil becomes visible, not dirty, but visible. Before I had a hard time reading the level because the oil was still so clear.
    Dealers even still recommend the 3000 mile intervals. Well, of course they do :-)
    Old habbits don't die..... but technology just gets better and stuff lives longer. Cars back in Communism had 3000 miles oil changes. Those times are long over....
    The same with the timing belt. I owned a Hyundai Getz (sold in germany) with a 36000 miles timing belt change. 2000 civics had 60000 miles belts. 2005 ones had 110000 timing belt changes. I'm sure none broke before that time. The technology just got better. The same with the oil.
    as long as you don't really drive severely (towingtrailers, San Fran Cisco stop and go, Racing, only 3 miles trips...) the regular manufacturer recommended schedule seems fine. That already has a cussion.
    I once reas that CR tested NY City cabs with 3000 and 6000 miles oil changes.... o measurable difference once they took the engines apart. And I really doubt my car goes through what a NYC cab goes through.
    I suppose, if you follow the MANUFACTURERS maintenance schedule you won't have problems related to lack of maintenance. But if you listen to a dealer who hires salepersons that don't even know if a 2006 Civic has a chain or a belt, you pay too much. Anyway, you'd be on the safe side with making the OEM recommended maintenance or with the more frequent dealer one.
  • For those of you with kids have you considered the Mazda 5. It was recalled but, all 5s will be repaired very soon.
    For us there is no other vehicle out there that fits our needs (2adult +1child) the way the 5 does. It's super versatile with its seating arrangements, and the sliding rear doors are a dream. All this without having to drive around in a non fuel efficient oversized van/suv or a geeky box on wheels. We love the exterior, but the interior is awesome, from the ride height to the 10 drink holders. The console is well designed and all controls are well within reach and the fit and finish is really nice. It all looks like it just a big solid piece with no seems or gaps like our rental cars. Spend a few weeks in a 5 then try and go back to another car, in our case an Equinox and Lancer and you'll truly hate them. I bought my 5spd 5 fully loaded with sunroof and NAV system for $19,200 USD under the s plan and gerber rebate,not to mention the extra $500 cash for the recall will bring the price to $18,700. Sticker was $21,500. We're happy :)

    We owned a Mazda6 4 door sedan for a couple of years which we quickly outgrew. When we had comfirmation of another kid on the way we wanted something larger but still carlike in nature. The 5 came along as a surprise and even with the recall, don't regret a mile in it. However either of the 3 cars listed in this title are nice. I personally like the looks interior/exterior of the 3s the best. The mazda styling has always caught my eye. Either way have fun and pick the one you like.
  • I drove the Mazda5 for the first time a few weekends ago at a Mazda Zoom Zoom Live event. I got to put it thru the paces on a test track and was AMAZED how much fun it is.

    It retains much of the fun to drive characteristic of the Mazda3. Basically feels like a slightly taller 3 with a lot more room. The automatic 5 I drove felt about as quick as a 3 automatic I test drove.

    I really hope the recall doesn't hurt sales. Right now, the 5 is one of a kind in the U.S. market. If a 3 is too small, definitely deserves a look.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    All this without having to drive around in a non fuel efficient oversized van/suv or a geeky box on wheels.

    ... And what "geeky box on wheels" might you be referring to, SCIONtifically speaking? ;)

    The Mazda5 was very high on my list, being in the same 2 adults + 1 child arrangement you're in. It was Mazda's fault, however, that I wound up not buying one. Mazda didn't come out with the danged thing fast enough, and I fell in love with the 3 hatch!

    My son Sean (4-1/2 years old) just LOVES zoomin' through the twisties with dad in the car "he" picked out -- yessss, he did help Daddy choose the color ... that's why THIS 40-year-old is screamin' around town, grinning ear-to-ear, in a 2005 Velocity Red 5-speed hatch! And we've found it very accommodating, even for all of us plus luggage for a 5-day, 800-mile (round-trip) trip to Pittsburgh!

    BTW, the only way you'll catch us in your 5 is if you double-park at the day care ...


  • Actually, my wife's next vehicle is going to be a Mazda5. It is sitting waiting for the recall parts. Hopefully we will have it by end of November. This is to replace an 02 CRV coming off lease. My wife loves the CRV and is a staunch Honda person, but the 5 was good enough to win her over. Seating for 6 (well, 4 adults and 2 kids max), reasonable mileage, all the safety features, and good dynamics all for $5k CDN less than the CRV. My wife will only drive a manual, so the 2.3l in the 5 is acceptable (it would be too slow for us in the auto). It is the perfect family vehicle for us.

    Therefore, my vehicle is the "second" car and I mainly highway commute with it (although I still shuttle the kids a fair bit). What is interesting is that I got an Accord 4 years ago because a Civic (or similar) was too small when trying to get a 1 year old in and out of her car seat. However, now that they are older (7 and 5) they climb in and do themselves up, so I can actually go to a smaller car. I had figured I would get the Mazda3 2.0l, but the new Civic has sure grabbed my attention with its standard safety features and refined ride.
  • Wow, if that isn't a change. Normally I see people getting an auto because the wife couldn't drive stick. A refreshing change to see someone who had to get a manual because the wife refused to drive auto. :)
  • Yep. She hates autos as she feels she has no control over them. It is actually scary :surprise: to watch her drive an auto in the snow as she was never taught how to drive an auto properly, i.e., shift into neutral when things get crazy, etc.

    I like driving sticks as well so its great for us as it opens up doors to vehicles like the Mazda5 which IMO are too slow with an auto transmission. It also gives us other potential options like the new Sonata GL 5spd which has tremendous value and good performance.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Just don't tell that to Jiffy Lube!
  • My sister and I are the only people we know who are both like this. I'm 30 and she's 33, neither of us have ever had an automatic. She and her husband always have a tough time picking a car because she insists on a manual. Luckily lots of mid-sizers still offer them.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....older Corollas and Civics (about '95 to '01 models) because I need an economical second car. One major difference I've noticed between these two cars is how their engines produce power. The Honda's 1.7 liter (1.5 liter for earlier models) basically has no bottom end torque and makes the vast majority of it's power at high rpm while the Corolla's 1.8 seems to have a much broader powerband that delivers a decent amount of power throughout it's entire rpm range. To me this makes the Corolla more pleasureable to drive than the Civic. There is also something else that sticks in my head about the Corolla ever since I heard it in this forum; someone once described the Corolla as a "baby Lexus" and I would say that is a very accurate description. Once you are able to look past the bland styling and you start to take notice of this car's qualities, it doesn't take long to find out these are very well built cars. From the smart interior ergos to the technologically advanced yet simple mechanics under the hood to the very solid overall build quality of the entire vehicle, it's no wonder the Corolla has been around for so long and sells so well. I think a Corolla will be my next purchase, now it's just a matter of finding one with a manual tranny at the right price.....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    The only major downside for the '98-'02 Corolla IMO is the cramped back seat. That was enough to eliminate it for me back in '00 as I have 3 kids. The Civic's seat from that era is much more hospitable, especially '01 and later. Toyota fixed that for '03 but ruined the driving position. :(
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    .....won't be an issue for me because 95% of the time I'm alone. Driver's seat comfort will be much more important. Also, does anyone know what kind of highway MPG the pre '01 models with manual tannies get? I've heard of people getting low to mid 40's with the '01 and newer models, I'm just wondering if the older models are comparable.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    The only major downside for the '98-'02 Corolla IMO is the cramped back seat.

    I had an '01 Corolla, and wow was the back seat small. I'm quite tall (about 6'1" and hardly anyone could sit in the back seat.

    The '03 Corolla was a major improvement. But ruined the driving position.
  • Revving the engine in the Civic to get to the power band is part of the fun to drive experience. I agree that it doesn't have much torque, but once you wind it up it'll scoot.

    If this doesn't suit your driving style, the Corolla does easier to access power. It's just boring as heck. The Civic feels much sportier.

    At least either way you're getting something bulletproof.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    To me, having more power throughout the RPM range isn't boring, it makes the car more driveable. I don't like having to rev an engine before it can do what it's supposed to do. My brother-in-law had a '94 or '95 Civic. I think it had a 1.5 liter engine (the same size engine my Tercel has) and it would definitely scoot. At high RPM's it accelerated much harder than my Tercel does, but at lower RPM's my Tercel has more useable power. I think you're right though, I can't go wrong with either of these cars.
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    During the past 6 weeks I test drove all 3 of these cars. The Corolla feels dated and the handling felt a bit sloppy. Also I was buying a car for my teenage son to use and despite a plethora of Corollas at the dealer only a few had ABS and side airbags. However the Corolla would be the lowest priced of these cars as the dealer was quite ready to give major discounts.
    Next was the all new Honda Civic. You'll either love or hate the new "space-age" dashboard with digital speedometer (I didn't care for it). I drove to the dealer in my 1997 Civic. Surprisingly the 2006 did not feel more powerful than the 1997 despite the extra horsepower. LX model has rear drum brakes not disc brakes. Pluses of the new Civic inlude standard ABS and side airbags on all Lx and ex models, standard combo cd/mp3 cd player, and clearly the best gas mileage with an epa rated 40 mpg highway. However the dealer had no LX models with AT on the lot and would order one only at full msrp.
    Finally I test drove a Mazda3i touring. The salesman had me drive it on a winding country road with lots of hills. Smart move. No hesitation of the engine in uphill driving. Curves are taken almost like you were in a BMW. Its not a sports car but close to it. Its fun to drive. Driver's seat has adjustable lumbar support (not present in either of the other cars). Steering column is completely adjustable. 205/55 16 inch tires really grip the road. ABS and SAB or optional but they had a large selection of cars equipped that way on the lot. Gas mileage is clearly the worst of the group. Figure on $800-1000 off msrp.
    I settled on a red Mazda3 because it looked great and did not drive like an economy car.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    This is the same magazine that gave the Renault Alliance car of the year. :P
This discussion has been closed.