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Mazda Protege5 vs. Honda Civic



  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    "condition of the car matters more than its brand"
    True, LOL. BUT, equalizing condition, brand matters. A ragged out Civic is gonna bring more than a ragged out Pro.

    "Costs more in repairs?" Yup, according to Edmunds TCO numbers, the Pro5 incurs greater cost for maintenance and repairs.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    River: Strange... I don't see why. Yes it's more expensive to insure, but maintenance is not more expensive at Mazda than at Honda...

    Anyone care to take a stab at this one?

  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    My guess would be tires. Assuming OEM replacement tires, buying a set of 4 Dunlop SP Sport 5000m costs $432 plus shipping from Tire Rack. A set of Michelin MXV4 for the Si cost $524, but you probably only have to replace them once in 5 years as opposed to 2-3 times with the Protege5's Dunlops.

    It is interesting to note that the operating cost scale on the Protege5 is lower than the Civic Si. This is probably because Edmunds considers the Si a coupe and the Protege5 a wagon. Not surprisingly, the Civic scores better on the depreciation cost scale. Insurance is about the same. Fuel costs are very close, and repairs are one dollar different. Based on these numbers, I would expect actual operating costs to be almost identical.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    I was working with TCO's on the Si vs. the Pro5. The difference (not large, ~$200) was in the 'maintenance' catagory (interestingly, Edmunds projected the repair costs to be virtually the same).
    The why of it, I suspect, is in differences in the maintenance schedules. For example, there's no scheduled spark plug or timing belt replacement before 110K miles; and the recommended oil change interval is 10K miles (5K for severe conditions).
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    You stated that Mazda "can't" compete with Honda or Toyota. If your stating that Mazda can't compete because they are less reliable and will always be ("You won't see Mazda compare themselves to Honda or Toyota....ever.") I disagree entirely.

    The Protege line of cars have been exceptionally reliable.

    As far as advertising, I'm not the advertising expert and must not have too much common sense, because I don't understand why Mazda wouldn't advertise that the Protege's are reliable as well as fun to drive.

    And the real reason Mazda doesn't make a big deal about the B-series pickups is because they are rebaged Ford Rangers.
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    Honda recommends changing oil only every 10K miles? Wow. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about going 6K between changes.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928

    I'm still trying to figure out when to consider a timing belt change. LOL, the maintenance sched only goes up to 110K miles.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    VW went to 10k for a few years, and it burned them, and now they have backed off to 7500 (depending on engine). After speaking to my father, who worked in a Honda service department for a while, I would recommend changing the timing belt on the current generation Civic at 110k to 120k miles. Apparently, it isn't even an recommended maintenance item, but, with an interference engine, it would be worth it.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    You stated that Mazda "can't" compete with Honda or Toyota. If your stating that Mazda can't compete because they are less reliable and will always be ("You won't see Mazda compare themselves to Honda or Toyota....ever.") I disagree entirely.

    I never said any of that. I said they can't (as a brand) use reliability as a selling point yet. They don't have long-term facts to back up a run at Honda or Toyota. And I would never and have never said they won't compete in the future. I said they won't tout themselves as being as reliable as a Honda or Toyota cause that's not their niche. Zoom zoom has nothing to do with reliability.

    Mazda has been working very hard on quality control but, they are still under the industry average for dependability. (Per JDP)

    Why would the fact the Ranger and the B Series are related have anything to do with them using the accolade? That's silly. The reason is this and this alone, reliability is not their strategy, zoom zoom is.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Across Mazda's product line, reliability is not up to the same standard as Toyota. They alone have avoided the problems of cross licensing products to fill niches like Mazda did with the Truck and Honda did with the Passport and SLX. Toyota has also avoided using sub-par parts in their vehicles like Mazda did with the Ford transmission in the 626.

    That said, reliability ratings for the Protege are as good as the Civic and Corolla, and have been for years. The Miata is simply the most reliable sports car you can buy, and the MPV generally gets very good reliability scores. Mazda makes reliable vehicles, but you have to look at the individual models to determine which are better or worse than the competition. This holds true for Honda and Toyota as well, just to a lesser extent, or perhaps they get less scrutiny due to their excellent reputations. Some examples:

    2001+ Civics with the 1.7L engine have had numerous emissions problems, but Honda didn't recall them; they just decided to fix things as they broke. They didn't want to tarnish their "green" image, so, in the mean time, their cars are spewing out 3 times the pollutants that they claimed.

    Toyota products, including the Camry, Corolla, and Avalon have had sludge build-up problems in recent years due to an apparent design flaw. Instead of issuing a recall to replace the flawed components, they just fix the problem for those who complain loud enough. That way, they look like they are consumer friendly and keep a reliability issue out of the public knowledge.

    If anyone asks me for my opinion on what car to buy, I inevitably tell them Mazda, Honda, and Toyota (generally in that order) unless a specific model would be an issue for them, like the 626, Avalon or Passport. All 3 of these companies make good cars overall, but none are perfect, so that is when it comes down to personal choice.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    I agree. I use the 'severe conditions' schedule.

    Timing belt? I could well die before it does.
  • smashersmasher Posts: 31
    The Protege has a long, long pedigree (Familia -> 323 -> GLC -> 323 -> Protege) and has had a great reputation throughout its history. The FWD version goes back about as far as the Civic and Corolla.

    Part of the problem may be that they keep changing its name. The Civic has been the Civic for 25 years. The Corolla has been the Corolla for 25 years. They have great brand recognition and great mindshare, even if the actual cars have slipped and recovered over the years. But Mazda keeps changing the name of its small car (in the US, from GLC to 323 to Protege to Mazda3). Not a good way to build the brand, and leads to the erroneous belief that the "Protege has no track record."

    Bunk! Not only has the Protege (or whatever it's called) been around for years and years (the Familia line goes back farther than the Civic), the P5 has been around as long as the current generation of the sedan, and is as proven. It just wasn't sold here in the US until the '02 model year.

    Mazda suffers more from long-term marketing problems than anything else. If they'd picked a name and stuck with it for 25 years, the car would enjoy a better reputation now, and buyers would think of it as a common evolution of the same car, instead of one which hasn't been around for very long. Instead, they confuse potential customers by periodically changing the name of their cars.

    As I've said before, I didn't even consider the P5 until somebody told me to "check out Mazdas." I came to them from word of mouth, not because of mindshare.

    (Of course, I benefit from not really watching any TV, so I somehow missed all the P5 hype the first time 'round.)
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    It ONLY matters if the cars you compare cost the same initially.

    The Civic LX -vs- Protege LX would be a great comparison if they cost the same to begin with. THEY DONT. They may at MSRP but they dont on the street. The Protege LX cost $1000 less (or even more) than the Civic LX to begin with.

    Factor in low Mazda finance rates. Investing the difference for 7-10 years. Using the difference to pay off higher interest debt and so on. The Honda may have better resale but since you pay more at the start it MAY have cost you $1000 or more over the 7-10 years too.

    The same would apply to the Si -vs- P5 debate. The resale difference is a wash within 5 years. Basically the difference in resale is reflected at the time of sale.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    Thank you for injecting some common-sense into this resale debate.

  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    I can sum up my personal impression of Civic SI in one sentence
    "A 2-door minivan with a sweet shifter and nice resale value."
    In fact Honda should rename it as Odyssey coupe.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    Comparable trim lines, the Civics cost more than the Pros and return a lot more than the difference on resale, even taking into account rebates and promo apr's.

    You'd need to invest the difference in purchase price at some ungodly return to make up the difference.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    "Comparable trim lines, the Civics cost more than the Pros and return a lot more than the difference on resale, even taking into account rebates and promo apr's."

    Return a lot more? Thats just not possible (see below). If you like the Civic get the Civic. Dont every buy a car that cost more just because of resale.

    The Civic LX, Protege LX, and Cavalier LS are all comparable. They are pretty similar. The Civic cost $2k more than the Cav and $1k more than the Prot (

    "You'd need to invest the difference in purchase price at some ungodly return to make up the difference."

    I'll be conservative:
    $1000 at 3% for 10 years is about $1350.
    $1000 at 5% for 10 years is about $1600.
    $1000 at 7% (average market return) for 10 years is about $2000.
    Above average market returns result in HUGE differences. BUT this is really not where it makes a difference. Where it really matters is when you pay down higher interest debt. I'm only keeping my car 7-10 years but if you were to keep in longer then the difference could be even more dramatic.

    Lets move on and say you have some higher interest debt like $5000 on a credit card(s) at 15%.
    $5000 at 15% payed off over 5 years (assume you do not add more) will cost you about $7100 paying about $120/month. You paid $2100 in interest.
    $4000 at the same rate over 5 years will cost you about $5700 at $95/month. You paid $1700 in interest. You monthly payment is lower. But keep reading the difference is even more dramatic than the $400 difference if you play you cards correctly. Raising the rate to 18% (average) make the difference greater. Now if you pay the $120 payment toward the $4000 you pay far less interest and can save $1800!!! Its because you will be debt free in about 45 months instead of 60 months. $120 saved for 15 months is $1800.

    Now add on the lower interest rates that Mazda usually offers, rebates, etc., and the difference is staggering.

    Its amazing what you can do with $1000 in the lifetime of a car.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    My point was not to bash the Civic which the previous post may have sounded like. Its not like I ran out and got the cheapest car I could. I bought what I like withing the budget I set. The point was that you should buy what you like too because resale (demand -vs- quantity demanded in the long term) is usually reflected in the initial price.

    If its not, say the Hyundai Elantra costs the same as the Civic EX, and all other things are equal then resale would matter. BUT the Elantra with all the same options is $2-3k less and resale at 10 years is not $3k different or $6k invested wisely.

    I liked the Civic but I got the Protege because I liked its driving dynamics better AND it did not hurt that my ES auto was more than $2k less than the Civic EX auto AND Mazda was offering really low finance rates too.
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    "I never said any of that."

    You are too funny.

    Were supposed to be discussing the P5 verses the Civic by the way. But for the record, it seems obvious to me (although I am lacking those two advertising/marketing classes) that Mazda might have a problem with touting the reliability of the B-series pickups since THEY ARE 90% (I'll admit I'm guessing here) A FORD DESIGN! That's like saying GM should have taken credit for the reliability of the Geo Prism. (hehehe)

    But hey, we're all entitled to our opinions (are we not?).

    And to stay on topic, (and unrelated to the above rant) keep in mind that the Civics would need an additional $1000 worth of suspension upgrades to match the out of box performance of the P5. The Si might hold it's own though. Anyone got slalom numbers?
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Slalom related (**based on 2000 numbers**): - - html

    I believe that its all relative to whats out there so I picked a test that did a whole bunch of related cars. Without knowing the variance between tests, number of times they were done, and so on, its hard to separate them based on simple performance numbers.

    The Protege is faster through the slalom and stops more quickly but I still like the Civic engine for its refinement. Anyway there are some interesting things there:
    1) 0-60 times: The average is 9.3sec. One deviation is 0.88sec. BOTH are slower than average, the Civic more than one deviation slower.
    2) Slalom average was 60.1mph with a deviation of +/-1.97mph. The Protege was one deviation faster at 62.5mph. The Civic was slower by one deviation at 57.5mph.
    3) Stopping 60-0: Average is 140.1ft +/- 8.3ft. The Protege is just about 1 deviation better than average. The Civic is 2 full deviations worse than average.

    This was based on 2000 numbers. Please check my math because I did it quickly.

    I just got the 03 numbers to download. The numbers for the Civic and Protege are nearly identical.
    2003 Honda Civic 0-60: 10.5, 60-0: 129.3, slalom: 62.7.
    2003 Mazda Protege 0-60: 10.4, 60-0: 121.8, slalom: 62.1. - .html#performance
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    That seems awfully high for either of these cars. Sounds like they were running automatics uphill. C&D clocked the 2003 Protege LX at 9.4 and the 2003 Civic LX at 9.3 0-60. C&D does adjust their numbers for atmospheric conditions while Edmunds may not.

    C&D list the Civic Si at 8.0 seconds 0-60, but those were definitely different testing conditions than the Civic LX and the Protege LX, so YMMV.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    Your numbers are rediculous. They apply to one situation only, if they actually apply to that one. You're talking about taking the $1K you don't spend on the Civic and investing it on day 1 to return an additional $1K after 10 years. That just might work if the car isn't totalled; and, even if it does work out that way, you've put an extra $1K into the Pro on the front end and committed to 10 years's ownership just to equalize the costs.

    I agree with the 'buy what you like' point. Just on the 'like' factor alone, I chose the Si. That it costs $2K+ less than the Pro5 to own for 5 years is just gravy.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    I have notice on the P5 boards and the M6 boards that practically no one who owns one of these Mazdas is complaining! P5 & M6 owners seem to have more positive raves than Civic owners owners (based on board posts not a review of Edmunds owner's reviews). Mazda is getting a lot right with the P5.

    I looked very closely at both these cars as I was deciding on my next hatch. The P5 was very appealing, but style a bit too stiff & too bold for me. I have had great experience with Hondas (92 Civic Si & a 97 Del Sol Si)and I really liked driving the 03 Si.

    In the end I bought a worthy, but under appreciated Elantra GT because it had all the right stuff, was more comfortable than P5 or Si (quieter and smoother), has better mileage & warranty and was significantly less expensive with significantly more goodies. With a Tiburon rear sway bar the decent cornering became outstanding! I plan to keep for at least 5 yrs so resale not a big concern. I also think that the Elantras quality is approaching the Japanese cars. You will note that Elantra owners are also very satisfied & I am one of them.

    The P5 and Si all are excellent cars, but give the EGT a try before you buy.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Really? OK then explain how I did it. AND it applies in ALL cases not just here. It never pays in the long run to by the more expensive car. Never. What you are really paying for is the brand, quality, reliability, performance and so on.

    I looked at the Civic EX and the Protege ES (both auto without the ABS option). Once again they are comparable. Most savy shoppers will cross shop those to see which they like better. My plan was to put $5000 and finance the remainder over 24 months (about $10k). Some facts: When I bought my car the Civic EX auto was selling for $1500 more than the Protege ES auto in the St. Louis area (Lou Fusz was the lowest on the Protege and Leta Honda on the Civic).

    Thats $1500 difference. So what that means is that I could put $3500 down on the Protege instead of $5000 and invest the remainder from day 1 AND make the same payments. I did exactly that. Anyone could. How is this ridiculous? The same would apply if you were going to put $2000 down or $10000 down.

    In case you care I invested it in 2 bond funds. TIAA-CREF High Yeild Bond and Bond Plus. You can go check the returns if you want but the High Yeild fund is up over 15% year to date and the Bond Plus about 10%. These are not best funds either....I just like the low fees associated with TIAA-CREF. If that keeps up (which I doubt) I will double my money every 5 years. So the investment I made instead of the higher money down on the Civic will have grown to $3000 or more easily by the time I get my new car. Oh but wait I only paid 0.9% for 24 months on my Mazda loan which Honda would not match AND I paid off the car in 12 months so I did not pay much interest either. I could do that partially because of the investments I made 3 years ago when we got my wifes Subaru Outback Ltd. instead of the $6000 more expensive VW Passat.

    So in summary:
    $1500 difference in down payment + 0.9% interest rate. The $1500 invested at (5-15%) until I get my new car.

    If I had taken home the Elantra and invested the $3000 difference......whhoooo, thats a lot of money. But I like my car so its fine.

    So where exactly was my math wrong?
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    I don't think the new Si has a timing belt, I remember seeing somewhere in the manual that it had a timing chain.

    As far as the price difference, I got the Si for $14,500 for the left over 2002 in January 2003. Similarly loaded Protege5 with the sunroof, and ABS was more like $17,000. I also looked at Matix XRS/Vibe GT, but when similarly packaged it was more like $19,000.

    According to Edmunds, if I were to trade-in the Si right now, I can get $14,600 for it. Not bad!!!! It is given that real world trade in may be in the high $13K's, still not bad. And I got it all financed at 1.9%
    From edmunds:
    2002 Honda Civic 2 Dr Si Hatchback
                Trade-In Private Party Dealer Retail
    National Base Price $13,471 $14,542 $16,328
    Optional Equipment $0 $0 $0
    Color Adjustment
    Black $18 $19 $22
    Regional Adjustment
    for Zip Code 07470 $58 $62 $70
    Mileage Adjustment
    7,000 miles $665 $665 $665
    Condition Adjustment
    Outstanding $394 $405 $466
    Total $14,606 $15,693 $17,551
    Certified Used Vehicle $18,101

    Mazda Protege5

    2002 Mazda Protege5 4 Dr STD Wagon
    Trade-In Private Party Dealer Retail
    National Base Price $9,313 $10,298 $11,940
    Optional Equipment $523 $568 $716
    Antilock Brakes $218 $237 $298
    Power Moonroof $305 $331 $418
    Color Adjustment
    Black $-30 $-33 $-38
    Regional Adjustment
    for Zip Code 07470 $-21 $-24 $-27
    Mileage Adjustment
    7,000 miles $636 $636 $636
    Condition Adjustment
    Outstanding $0 $0 $0
    Total $10,421 $11,445 $13,227
    Certified Used Vehicle $13,777

    I entered same mileage and vehicle condition.
    Even if the Si was bought at the same price as the P5 was selling at the time ($17K), Si would have only lost $3000 (from $17K to $14K) Protege5 on the other hand would have lost $7000 on the trade-in. Pretty sad. I understand that current resale of P5 is hindered by the $2250 rebate from Mazda. But even if you factor in the $2250, Mazda still lost $5000. In reality, I may even make money if i trade in now

    I hope I have made my point.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Who sells their car after 8 months? Personally, I wait at least 18. That gives me just enough time to get the car how I like it, and I have just spent money for new tires, aluminum pedals, speaker upgrades, etc., so I will never get any of that back. ;-)

    I suppose the moral is, if you routinely make bad purchase decisions, then the Honda is the way to go, so you don't loose too much money when you have to get rid of it.

    I luckily made this same mistake with a VW Jetta which, at the time (2001), still had a pretty good resale value like Hondas and Toyotas. I see that is has slipped some in the last 2 years. I can only assume this is due to the horribly unreliable products they have been selling in the interim.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    I couldn't find any information one way or the other about a timing chain. If it does have one, then you should get it checked for adjustment every 60k or so. That should be a $10 service charge unless it needs adjustment.
  • jimsxnjimsxn Posts: 108
    ...and these two (Pro5, Civic) are the options that I am considering. I have a Civic (98 LX) already which has given flawless service so far - not even a down battery (touch wood).

    Took a test drive of Pro5 the other day - engine makes more noise than speed, ride is downright punishing and one definitely needs an extra set of tires for (Canadian) winters. On the plus side, maneuverability is better than Civic (not Miata like though), body roll is minimized and the shifter is fun. Also, the interior space appears to be more than that in Civic.

    On the whole, Pro5 is the best return on the money in that class, with incentives and all. I am actually pondering whether to go whole hog and buy a Mazda6 or stick with Pro5.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    You compared a brand new model current year P5 to a left over Civic Si? Do you really think thats fair? You also get side-airbags and a nice 6CD changer with a P5 equipment package thats not on your list.

    How about right now?
    Right now you can get a 2003 P5 for $15k even here in St. Louis. I bet the best deal you could get on a 2003 Civic Si is $17-17.5 range. Thats at least $2000 difference. If you add ABS, side airbags, moonroof, and 6CD changer to the P5 the difference is STILL at least $1000. Once again long term resale is reflected in the intial price.

    Now if you are worried about resale in 8 months then you should get a Honda for sure. In fact it would be better to get a 1 year lease on a Honda. On the other hand if you are going to keep it 5-10 year range resale really does not matter very much. In 10 years, 15k miles a year, the Honda will be worth about $3000. The P5 will probably be worth about $1500 on the low end. BUT since you borrowed less initially, paid less interest, paid off higher interest loans, and/or invested the difference, the real difference is not significant.

    Both the Si and P5 are nice cars. The Si costs more now and is worth more later. The P5 costs less now and worth less later. Take your pick because after 5 years or so it really does not matter.

    All my information is from carsdirect or msn.
  • smashersmasher Posts: 31
    > ...and these two (Pro5, Civic) are the options that I am considering.

    Are you considering a regular Civic (coupe or sedan) or the Si?

    > Took a test drive of Pro5 the other day - engine makes more noise than speed, ride is downright punishing and one definitely needs an extra set of tires for (Canadian) winters. On the plus side, maneuverability is better than Civic (not Miata like though), body roll is minimized and the shifter is fun. Also, the interior space appears to be more than that in Civic.

    The only Civic I test drove was the Si. It is a sweet drivetrain, but a little peaky. I've got about 1800 miles on my P5 now, and it's breaking in nicely. It seems to rev more smoothly and develop more power than it did when it was brand new.

    I find I'm driving the P5 differently than my old Integra (an '87 1.6L). (Most Honda engines I've driven felt peaky to me; you need to keep rowing the gears.) The Integra had a very fun, windy engine, with a flat torque curve; all the power was in the top end. The P5 has a lot more torque and better mid-range power, so I find I'm not revving it as high, and not shifting as much. Keeping it in the midrange seems to do the trick.

    The P5 makes engine noise, but it's nice engine noise, especially once it loosens up after initial break-in.

    I can't really compare the P5 with the Civic EX (or any other coupe/sedan model) because I didn't drive any other Civics. My primary need was for a hatch and the Si was the only Honda to fit the bill. So I don't know how the other Civics drive.

    I've blathered on about the P5's handling in other posts, so I won't waste everybody's time again with that. It's Good. If you're looking for a cushy ride, the P5 may be the wrong car. If you're looking for great handling, though....

    Interior is all a matter of taste. I'm not totally geeked on the P5's interior (VW still has the design edge, IMO), but I like it better than the Si's. With the exception of a few minor ergonomic quirks it's an easy car to live with. The seats are great, the driving position is great (for me), and the boot space is great.

    > On the whole, Pro5 is the best return on the money in that class, with incentives and all. I am actually pondering whether to go whole hog and buy a Mazda6 or stick with Pro5.

    Can't answer that one, but the Mazda6 hatch looks very enticing. The upcoming Mazda6 wagon looks really nice, but only if they offer it in a stick.
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