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Mazda Protege5 vs. Honda Civic



  • smashersmasher Posts: 31
    I'll take (most) of your points one by one. (I've edited them down for space.)

    > - though I have no doubt re: the [Civic's] durability/reliability...

    If you look at the numbers, Protege/Protege5 reliability should be on par with Honda. Either way you'll be getting a very dependable, reliable car. I wouldn't sweat reliability as an issue with either car.

    > - why do the [Honda] salespeople only want to talk about reliability and resale value ....aren't there any other attributes/selling points of the Honda worth mentioning...

    Um.... I hate to say it, but maybe not. Yes, they're reliable. Yes, they're well engineered. Yes, they have good resale value. But the Civic/Accord don't really have much in the way of excitement, and it seems all the personality has been engineered out of them.

    > - the Civic was definitely quieter than the P5...

    Tire/wheel combination can have a lot to do with it. A lot of things factor into noise: wheel/tire combination, engine/transmission design, sound deadening materials, airflow characteristics.

    The P5 does have a bit of tire noise on some surfaces; can't say whether it's more or less than the Civic. Probably more.

    Engine noise isn't too bad; I kind of like the growl in the exhaust note. Any compact car in this price range is going to have some noise.

    > - thought that the Civic dash was set a little far to the right....I'm not of small stature, but found I really had to stretch to reach the buttons on the right hand side of the radio

    I felt this way when I test drove the Civic Si, and I have gorilla arms.

    > - Can't count the number of Civics on the road...sign of a good quality car maker, or just the shepherd with his/her sheep? Hence, I'm in fear of the "baaaaa factor".....

    I think there's a bit of a baaaa factor. Civics and Corollas have the small car "mind share" that the Protege doesn't. When people think "reliable compact sedan" they think Corolla and Civic.

    I wouldn't have even bothered looking at the P5 unless a friend of mine suggested it. I hadn't even considered Mazda until this guy mentioned them, because it had never occurred to me to try them out. Now I own a P5.

    > - ... does anyone foresee any problems down the road (like in 5-10 years) with a car that was only in production for three years....

    No, because nearly all the internal parts (drivetrain, suspension, brakes, electrical system, etc.) are common to the Protege ES, and many of the components have a pedigree going back years.
    > - ...age factor. I'm a 33 year old single chick, and think that I looked (and felt) pretty good when I test drove the P5...but will I still look good when I'm 43 and still in this car...will child seats look funny in this car...and who is this car aimed to?

    I think the intended demographic is single men in their 20's and 30's, but don't let that stop you. I've read a number of posts from owners (men and women) saying that it makes a great small family car, with plenty of room for kids and their stuff (carriages, safety seats, diaper bags, etc.). Interior space is on par with or better than the Civic/Corolla. Trunk space is very good for a car this size, and of course you have the added bonus of a hatchback configuration for more flexible cargo carrying.

    - so overall, I see it like this:

    responsible decision=Civic
    - proven car, excellent crash test ratings, will likely be okay if I'm ever hauling kids around, would likely get a couple more bucks for it in 2013 when I want to sell, looks okay (though looks like everything else)

    P5 is on par with Civic on reliability. Depreciation is probably better on the Civic, but it evens out the longer you keep the car. A used car's value is heavily dependent on how well it's been maintained.

    > fun decision=P5
    > - definitely had more fun driving it, liked the interior better (maybe just 'cause I'm used to it as I drive a '99 Protege sedan now),

    ...and would you buy another Mazda, based on your experience? Are you happy with that car, or has it given you trouble?

    > not crazy about the exterior yet, but feel it will grow on me, will more than likely be a better price than the Civic...

    I had my doubts about it when I first looked at the P5, but the style has really grown on me. It's of course totally subjective.

    As far as practicality is concerned, the Honda will probably get slightly better gas mileage, but the P5 has the hatchback layout.

    >... concerned however about the lack of crash test results (noted as not tested on the NHSTA website, but I would think its performance would be comparable to the sedan which did almost as well as the Civic?),

    Yes. This isn't an afterthought body design; it's been sold in other markets for years. Protege sedan performance should be on par with the P5 for most common crash tests (front, side, front/side). Don't know about the rear, though.

    > will have to launch a major PR campaign to convince friends and family why I chose it over the Civic.

    Cancel out reliability as a deciding factor for both cars; it'll be on par for both.

    Civic advantages:
     - better resale value (?)
     - slightly better gas mileage

    P5 advangates:
     - more sporty (handling, steering, brakes)
     - hatchback body design
  • jadams6jadams6 Posts: 9
    Thanks to all for the comments so far. Dinu, I don't have much history with the Civics, so can't really answer your question, but the reading I've done does support your point that the Civic redesign has resulted in some issues for the car.

    My '99 Protege has never given me one bit of trouble (only getting rid of it 'cause its leased), and love the fact that only one other person I know has one, but I thought I should investigate these Civics before I buy, because one does see a lot of them on the road and I've never heard one bad thing about this fact I'm doing my negotiating through a car broker (can get into that on another board if necessary), and when I mentioned to him that the two cars in contention were the Civic and the Protege, his response was "well that's a no-brainer (his words), get the Civic". When I questioned him on his opinion, he did note that the Protege was "a good little car", but with the Civic, again it was all about reliability and resale value...sigh.

    In anycase, unless new information comes to light this week totally condemning the P5 (or I get a knockout deal on the Civic), I'll likely go with it...but will let you all know the end of the week...

    P.S. I've asked this question on another board, but will repeat quickly here in the hopes of guaranteeing an answer...I've read somewhere that with the keyless entry on the P5, press once and open the driver's door, press twice and open all doors, including the this right?

  • smashersmasher Posts: 31
    > I've read somewhere that with the keyless entry on the P5, press once and open the driver's door, press twice and open all doors, including the this right?

  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    Almost every time I've made a purchase (cars or otherwise) based on practicality alone, I end up regretting the decision later. The car you want to drive, is the car you should buy.

    My P5 is just about out of warranty (just shy of 50K), and as for reliability, I'm not worried at all. ;)
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    I don't think Civic LX-sport is the highest trim in Canada. I believe there is an equivalent of US EX being sold as Si with 127 hp, and US Si is sold under Si-R with 160 hp. Want more luxury you can get a Luxo Civic under Acura EL name, which is not evailable in US.

    Personally, I did not like the LX/EX trims being offered in the US and fell inlove with the Si. Fits me perfectly, and has the fun factor I have been looking for. I just wish Swindon, UK plant had better quality control. Buying a Japanese car I expect Japanese quality and attention to detail, or be at least on par with Liberty, OH/Alliston Ontario plants.

    If you relly like the P5 layout, check out Matrix/Vibe. I cross shopped them, but the Si came at a better price, when I compared Matrix XRS/Vibe GT with the Si. Ocasionally I regret not getting Matrix/Vibe, especially when I have people getting into the back seat. But 95% of the time it is just me driving.


    I assume you live in the south, because this past winter these all season tires did an excellent job of keeping the car on the road in all the snow storms we had. I would have liked to have stickier rubber for the summer, but have no means of having a winter and summer set of tires. I did put Yokohama Avid T4 on the CR-V, it greately improved wet/dry handling, but Yokohama's sucked really bad in the snow.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    I am sorry to hear that your Si has build quality issues. As I have posted on other boards in the past, I found the 2003 EX I drove to be unfortunately full of build quality issues. It was built in OH IIRC. Panel gaps were almost Saturn sized. Paint grain was inconsistent. Some of the rubber molding around the windows was loose. I was truly disappointed by Honda's current offering. I did not look at the Si, but I thought perhaps it would have been better. I guess not. It is a shame that Honda's quality is suffering so after many years of being on top. The Odyssey/Pilot transmission problems alone have given Honda quite a black eye. I actually have a friend who purchased a Dodge Grand Caravan rather than an Odyssey because he was concerned about reliability after reading all of the problems Odyssey owners were having. Then you have Toyota and their engine sludge problem. Times have changed.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    Times have changed but the majority of car buyers are not aware of these issues Honda and Toyota have and will continue to buy their products without investigating. When most people think H/T they think reliability, but they don't research it to know if it's true or not.

    Too many preconceived notions are hurting other manufacturers like Mazda.

  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    So, I read the entire thread. And some people wonder why Honda sales people would stress their reliability and resale. I wonder why they wouldn't. Why in the world would they do anything but tout their strengths? You can point to recent problems Honda has had with the 2001 Civic but, what have they had since? Not much. If you buy a 2003 Civic, you're going to get one of the best built vehicles on the road. Much of the automotive press ripped the 2001 Civic, I remember one headline read, Something new from Honda, a loser. Since then, Honda has really attacked the short comings of the latest generation Civic and it is getting a huge thumbs-up.

    Mazda would give it's left arm to be able to compete head to head with Honda and Toyota. They can't. You won't see Mazda compare themselves to Honda or Toyota....ever. Many people that LOVE Japanese cars love them because of their reliability. They're people that have been burned by the big3 too many times and they want a solid car. Zoom zoom is a really nice idea. However, at the end of the day, I want to know I can get home and how much fun I have doing it means little when I'm stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

    If you can't come out and say you're the most reliable, you're just not going to stand up well to Honda or Toyota.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    The Zoom-Zoom is as reliable as the bore-bore.

  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    It takes more than your saying so and current vehicle offerings to make it true. Long-term dependability studies don't back-up your statement.

    They still have to overcome the 626, early problems with the Tribute/Escape and their affiliation with Ford.
  • All,
    Isn't this board a Protege5 versus Civic board, not a Honda versus Mazda board? It seems to me that, if when the comparison starts moving in favor of the Mazda Protege5 one of the few negatives that people can bring up are the 626 issues of yore, it speaks well for the P5 in particular.

    I have a P5, and love it. I also bought this car as a young family car, and am very happy with the practicality of my decision.

  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I was just commenting on posters being surprised Honda focuses on their strentghs.

    I too am happy with my P5. I test drove the Civic Si and a Civic Ex before my purchase.

    The 626 of yore was just last year. The 626 of bore is more like it.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Actually, the article you are thinking of tested a 2003 Civic LX: _id=2505

    It placed 5th out of 11 which is not bad, but it was unexpected from Honda. I am not disputing that the Civic will last a long time, but I do think quality control has fallen off at Honda when I see the sorts of flaws I am used to seeing on domestic vehicles showing up in Hondas.

    When I walk in my dealer showroom, I see comparisons all over the place between Mazda products and the competition, especially for the Protege and Protege5. That is one of Mazda's biggest selling points:

    Just as good as the competition, but fun to drive.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    Just as good as the competition, but fun to drive;
    and it costs more.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    0% for 4yrs financing.
    Resale is on Honda's side but $XXX.XX is not worth the same in 10yrs as it's worth today (due to inflation and the rising cost of living).

  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I stand corrected. I wonder why Honda hasn't done anything to improve the paint on these vehicles? My mom's 02 suffers from the same problem. I figured it must've been a one time problem.

    The comparisons are done by a third party, never by Mazda directly. They all speak to the fun-to-drive element or vehicle content and never reliability. Which is great, because, Mazda is on top of the fun-to-drive list. CR says good things about the Protege but, you can't use their name in advertising. Unfortunately, fun-to-drive isn't the over riding factor for the majority of buyers in the categories their vehicles are postioned in. (Mainly entry level to mid level vehicles.) Reliability is. Along with safety, another place Honda accels.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    "Just as good as the competition, but fun to drive;
     and it costs more."

    Yes, but only if you sell it before the depreciation evens out (5+ years). While they are owning it, i.e. not selling it, the costs are equivalent.

    Why push reliability and re-sale? If it is reliable, why sell it?
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I didn't sell my Civic hatch because it became unreliable, I sold it because I wanted four doors. Something new comes along and you want it, you can get more for your vehicle.

    The beauty of Honda is resale the advantage doesn't end after 5 years.

    1993 Cavalier 2 Dr Z24 Coupe
    Trade-In - $890
    Private Party - $1,329
    Dealer Retail - $2,062

    1993 Honda Civic 2 Dr EX Coupe
    Trade-In - $2,326
    Private Party - $2,940
    Dealer Retail - $3,965
    1993 Mazda Protege 4 Dr LX Sedan
    Trade-In - $1,147
    Private Party - $1,632
    Dealer Retail - $2,441

    That's almost $1000 trade-in more. ($1,300 more private party!) And when it comes time for me to make a down payment, that $1000-$1300 extra comes in handy. It's especially appealing in this class (entry level). Where people buy with the knowledge that this won't be their last car.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    This re-sale business is so irrational it kills me. I got more for my 18 month old piece-of-crap Jetta than the Protege cost new, but anyway...

    So essentially, what we have established is this: all things being equal, if you keep your Protege5 10 years, it will probably cost about $9.83 more per month in depreciation over the Civic. I think that is a fair price for "fun-to-drive." Then again, my daily driver is a Miata, so I may be a little biased as to what "fun-to-drive" is worth these days.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    These are entry level vehicles. To most people $1000 is a significant amount of money.

    2000 Honda Civic 2 Dr DX Hatchback
    Trade-In - $6,836
    Private Party - $7,886
    Dealer Retail - $8,916

    2000 Mazda Protege 4 Dr DX Sedan
    Trade-In - $4,963
    Private Party - $5,888
    Dealer Retail - $6,794
    Above is how my hatch fared against the Protege. I paid $13,400 out the door in October 1999. I don't know how that compares to the Pro. I was happy to get $7600 for my Civic, $4400 more than I owed.

    Or more on topic see the comparison below.

    2002 Mazda Protege5 4 Dr STD Wagon
    Trade-In - $9,313
    Private Party - $10,298
    Dealer Retail - $11,940
    2002 Honda Civic 2 Dr Si Hatchback
    Trade-In - $13,471
    Private Party - $14,542
    Dealer Retail - $16,328
    If you had to unload your P5, you'd be pretty unhappy. $4000 less!

    Resale is only part of the picture. Safety, reliability, fuel economy and quality factor in as well. It seems alot of people that buy a Honda view it as a practical purchase. To those buying a practical vehicle, there isn't much that tops the Honda. Believe it or not, there is a huge portion of the car buying public that doesn't give a rats behind about fun-to-drive.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    in depreciation
    in maintenance and repairs
    in insurance

    Plus, the Si IS fun to drive!
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    ... and the 1000 in additional rebates, incentives and finance savings will make that up anyway.

    So you get free driving joy with all that :)

    And you don't have to "live with" a boring CiBiC for 10 whole years!
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    ... and the 1000 in additional rebates, incentives and finance savings will make that up anyway.

    That wasn't available in 2001. Those who bought in 2001 are getting hit harder than those of us that got the incentives. They got $1000 off the value without getting $1000 off at the dealer. Something Honda tries not to do with it's cars, de-value them.

    Many people don't consider living with a Civic much work at all. That's the point.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586

    Have you read CR lately?

  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    "Mazda would give it's left arm to be able to compete head to head with Honda and Toyota. They can't. You won't see Mazda compare themselves to Honda or Toyota....ever."

    You should become a full-time stock broker/trader with your amazing psychic ability to predict the future(or does it only work with car manufacturers?).
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    You know differently?

    I guess I should have said in the near future they won't be doing any comparisons in regards to reliability and durability with themselves to Honda or Toyota.

    Funny, the B-Series pick-up was listed on JD Powers Vehicle Dependability Study as one of the top three small pick-ups. I wonder why Mazda hasn't gone with it. Why doesn't any of their advertising reflect this accomplishment? Actually, I know why. They are positioned as the company with zoom zoom, not the company with reliability. Reliability is cornered by Toyota and Honda.

    Nothing psychic there. Just a couple of college advertising courses and some not-too-common sense.
  • smashersmasher Posts: 31
    Regarding trade-in values: for older cars, model-to-model values are kind of irrelevent; condition of the car matters more than its brand. Even then, it's more of a bargaining chip than anything else.

    My '87 Integra was pretty much worthless by the time I needed a new car. I was going to donate it, but I was dubious that anybody would want it. It had about 170,000 miles on it, but the body was rotted out (my shop said they could see the carpet through the floorpan), the muffler was shot, the interior was faded and trashed, the stereo didn't work. Still, I got ~$1500 for it on trade-in, at least on paper. Haggling over the trade-in was kind of a joke:

    Dealer: "Does it have a CD player?"
    Me: "Yes, but it doesn't wo--"
    Dealer: "Never mind that; does it have a CD player?"
    Me: "Er, yes."

    It was the dealer's way of selling me a new P5 for the negotiated price. (MSRP - trade-in = negotiated price.) For those of us who drive cars into the ground, trade-in value isn't as relevant as longterm reliability and owner satisfaction while we own the car.

    So many more things factor into TCO, and owner satisfaction, than simply trade-in value: gas mileage, reliability, cost/availability of parts, lost productivity due to time spent at the dealership or service facility, insurance, travel time to dealer/service station, cost of mods if you want/need them, purchase price, finance rate, etc.

    Good luck juggling all that.

    In the end, you need to figure out what is important to you and what isn't. VWs may have a better resale value than Mazdas, and I really like VWs a lot, but I decided I didn't want to drive a car wondering when the windows would break or when the engine would start leaking oil or when the trim would start falling off. No thanks.

    I have a good friend in his early 30s who drives a Mercury Sable. Nothing against the Sable, but it's essentially an old-man car. I don't think he enjoys owning or driving the thing; his wife hates it. When I ask him why the heck he bought a Sable, he says, "Well, it got good ratings."

    Me, I don't just look at the ratings or the TCO or the resale value when I buy a car. I consider that stuff, but it's not the only consideration. To me, fun-to-drive is a big thing, as is utility. If it's going to be my only car, it'd better do everything I want a car to do.

    Anyway. We were talking about the P5 and the Si. I test drove the Si, but it just wasn't me. It shifted great and had a great engine, but I wasn't thrilled with the handling. Regardless of its merits (and it's a fine car), I couldn't see myself driving the thing day after day. It just left me cold. And I've been a Honda/Acura guy for years.

    The P5 was another story. It felt right, it had the right combination of sportiness and utility and personality, it was fun to drive, it was a little different from the other stuff I'd driven. It felt like it had more personality than the Si. Out of all the cars I test drove, the two I really liked were the Mini and the P5. The Mini was really, really (REALLY) fun, maybe a little sluggish, but it was too expensive (with no room to haggle with dealerships), too small, with slightly odd ergonomics (e.g., no dead pedal, window switches in center console), had a three-month waiting list, and a limited service network. In addition, it was a complete unknown as far as reliability/servicability was concerned. The P5 was as much fun to drive (brilliant chassis dynamics), not as cute, but far more practical and easier to live with than the Mini. And about $4500 cheaper. Sold.

    But anyway, we were talking about the P5 and the Si. ;-].
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I agree with you 100%.

    I looked at the Golf.

    I looked at the Civic Si and EX.

    I looked at the Vibe/Matrix.

    I bought the P5 and I haven't regretted it at all. Every time I see its reflection in the plate glass windows of business as I drive to work I smile.
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927
    Great post.

    I did try to make a post along the line of your post, but after seeing yours I delete mine. No need to add one more word.
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927
    For most of us, it's true that depreciation comes only after finding the right (read fun, reliable and practical) car, because we tend then to keep the car longer.

    However, this argument risk to collapse if the car get stolen, or total because of the reason X shortly after the purchase. In this case depreciation can play a great role. This has happened to me, my civic get the water inside during Allison storm in summer 2001, and I'm glad that the value of this car hold so well.
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