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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla vs Mazda3



  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    I've driven both and the driving experience isn't so amazing that it blows the civic out of the water...the civic handles very nicely and offers a better balance between comfort. Factor in mileage and your get 2 for the civic AND sporty handling. Were not comparing an elise to a civic you know...
  • I totally agree... If you can't appreciate how much better the 3 handles compared to the civic, you're probably better off with the civic.

    Personally, I would say the 3 is several substantial notches ahead of the civic when it comes to "sportiness". In fact, in my driving, I would say the 3 is very fun to drive while the civic is pretty bland. The civic isnt a mush-mobile, but it's not very entertaining. I also find the 3 gives up little in terms of comfort compared to the civic (eg. I find the seats to be more supportive in the 3 and ride is not overly harsh).

    But yea, the "sportiness" or w/e you want to call it is really the one area where the 3 really shines over the civic. If it's not noticeable, then the only drawbacks to the civic may be a weaker engine and styling (which is subjective).

    Of course, the 3 gives up little to the civic in every other category including fuel consumption, comfort, build quality, reliability, resale value... etc. The civic wins in those, but not by a substantial amount. That's the why the 3 has been getting so much praise here in the States. It has the "fun factor" without losing too much of everything else.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    We happen to have both cars and I couldn't agree more. The 3 is definitely a "drivers car" while the Civic is the "perfect car". The Civic does so many things right and it's a great car for the majority. But the 3 is like a ride and it's fun to thrash it around. We love them both, but for different reasons.

    The Sandman :)
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    I totally agree... If you can't appreciate how much better the 3 handles compared to the civic, you're probably better off with the civic

    The civic is just as fun to thrash around. I can appreciate a fine handling car trust me. I've driven both vehicles extensively and there was nothing that i could do in the 3 that i couldn't do with the civic. And trust me i thrashed them about quite a bit. Is the 3 marginally better? Yes it is. Marginally. So marginally in fact that after you factor in fuel ecomomy and resale value, getting the 3 (to me) for sporting abilities doesn't make much sense. Get a true enthusiast car. The civic si could eat the 3 for lunch in the handling dept. and thier power and mileage figures are about the same.

    I think the 3 is a very nice car, and i actually considered it very strongly at one point esp. the hatch version. But i personally adore the way the new civic looks, that and its horspower to engine size ratio, silky smooth transmission, outstanding fuel ecomomy and great dash layout made it the winner in my book. Do i bash anyone for having a 3? No but it certainly is not so much sportier that it makes the civic pale. Sandman you should toss your civic me its up to the task. ;)
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Marginally. So marginally in fact that after you factor in fuel economy and resale value, getting the 3 (to me) for sporting abilities doesn't make much sense

    The handling is better then "marginal" much better. Edmunds slalom test showed the Mazda3 went through it at 69mph(quicker then the WRX, I know, hard to believe) and the Civic was 64.6. The Mazda3 is also 1 second quicker 0-60 and .8 in the quarter mile. Also, fuel economy, according to CR, is only 29-30mpg highway in the Civic . Resale value is the same.
  • eldaino, is the civic's emergency brake handle against your right leg a problem for you?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The Mazda3 is also 1 second quicker 0-60

    How so? The most recent comparison places the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic against each other. While I think the 3 is a very nice car, I think you have overexaggerated some test numbers based on the Motor Trend article I read and have sitting in front of me now.

    Honda Civic LX - $17,555:

    33 MPG
    0-60 in 7.7 seconds
    Quarter Mile in 16.1 @ 87 MPH
    Top Speed 125 MPH
    Lane Change 64.6 MPH

    Mazda 3s Touring - $18,885

    27 MPG
    0-60 in 7.3 seconds
    Quarter Mile in 15.8 @ 88 MPH
    Top Speed 118 MPH
    Lane Change 66.3 MPH

    So, for an extra 6 MPG, you give up .4 seconds to 60 MPH, less than that in the quarter mile, and some extra grip.

    It's not a runaway, aviboy. If fuel economy is at all in consideration, the Civic may just top people's list. If max sport tops your list, then the 3 should be up your alley.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I know the question wasn't directed at me, but at 6'4", the emergency brake in the Civic sedan was no problem.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    not really. I'm only 5'8 and it never 'dug' into my leg like others have said. Your knees usually touch something when you sit a certain way and in the civic, its usually the ebrake handle. It was never ever an issue for me.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    i'm not one to go by numbers and like i said, the civic is just as capable. The 3 is shod with 17's in that test, and you can get them as an option, but the civic they tested has 16's. Its low numbers were also attributed to its tires; bridgestone turanza el 400s. Those are all season touring tires. The mazda has all seasons as well, but they were performance all seasons (usually either goodyear eagle rs-a's or toyo proxes.) Again its not mazdas fault the civic is shod like this, but handling is very dependent on tires as well. Even so, i'll take ACTUALLY driving both cars and putting them to thier limits in the REAL world over what some article has said. They are good places to start, but the civic handles just as competently nonetheless.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    Thanks for the numbers gradutate. I know avi is quoting the edmunds test, and both of those cars were automatics, but even so, i do belive that a second is a bit much, especially when they don't even cite what the ACTUALL 0-60 times were, they just said the 3 was faster.

    I agree with the milage too; something i forgot to include in my post to avi: according to mt they averaged 6 mpg more; edmunds observed around seven. That is a big deal. I think, though, that the numbers you posted grad are for mt cars; my auto ex would never make it to sixty in under eight seconds. Mid nines and high eights at best but never that fast.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yes, I think around 9 sec for the EX Auto sounds about right, when I consider my 166 hp Accord Auto runs it in the mid 8s (Motor Trend, Feb 2003)

    These were MT cars. When we are talking things like tenths of a second in acceleration, nobody is going to be able to notice much of a difference. More noticeable would be throttle response, which is just a matter of how it is programmed. The Corolla I used to drive (my ex-GFs) was plenty quick, but around town it felt like it could be outrun by an iceberg because the throttle tip-in was so soft.

    More impressive on Mazda's behalf is braking, that is the only test where it showed a significant advantage on the Civic, and again, this is likely largely due to its smaller, less-sporty tires. Not an excuse, just the reason.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I think you have overexaggerated some test numbers based on the Motor Trend article I read and have sitting in front of me now.

    I over exaggerated nothing, read my post again, and you will see "according to Edmunds...." In which they did a comparo between the 06 Civic and 06 Mazda3.

    Also, you will see my fuel estimate came directly from CR "real world" results, not Motor Trend. I did not make up anything I posted, I got them directly from editors who assessed these vehicles.

    We can go back and forth all day on who wrote what, how fast each car is and get different numbers every time. I will agree that if you are looking for fuel economy as your #1 requirement, buy the Honda, if it is sportyness you are looking for, buy the Mazda.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I will agree that if you are looking for fuel economy as your #1 requirement, buy the Honda, if it is sportyness you are looking for, buy the Mazda.

    We'll leave it there. :)
  • d_hyperd_hyper Posts: 130
    I will agree if the happiness is your #1 requirement and better handling leads to more satisfaction in your life, you will become more productive and earn better salary to offset any MPG disadvantages. :)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It isn't just the MPG that makes some people like the Civic more, sometimes. If it is, then you may want to reconsider buying a new car period (you should be spending less so you can pay for gas if money is THAT tight).

    My folks just got a 2007 Civic EX (Atomic Blue) sedan. They love it. I personally like it a lot (a friend of mine has an electric blue Mazda 3 2.3 sedan) which I also like, but the tire noise in that car is just unreal! I was really surprised at how loud the tires were. The engine isn't so loud, and is a little quicker than the Civic's, but Mazda needs to take some of the road noise away, because it was quite draining to ride in it when we went to PCB Florida over the summer.

    To me, the Mazda and Civic are both great cars, both of which I'd choose LONG before getting a Corolla (which feels feeble in comparison - my GFs had LOADS of rattles by 27,000 miles too, not something I expected in a Toyota).
  • I just recently bought a 2007 Corolla LE (a week ago). I am having second thoughts and wish I would have found this message board prior to pulling the trigger. I use to drive a ’92 Honda Civic. I loved my car very much, but it was stolen. So I had to buy a new car fast (never thought to rent a car or anything). I live in Chicago and unfortunately cannot take public transportation to work, which I prefer. I’m not much of a car person and didn’t really want to buy one. A few things I look for in a car are reliability and fuel efficiency. All the used cars I looked at felt like a pretty [non-permissible content removed] deal, considering I bought my ’92 Honda Civic with 72K miles for $1900.

    I decided to buy a Corolla and feel I got a very good deal on it. But now I am having regrets. I know there is nothing I can do because I own the car, but I was wondering if anyone out there might ease my mind and tell me I made a good decision or just tell me that I didn’t.

    The other two cars I had thought about were the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3 Hatchback. I scratched the Honda Civic due to cost without anything else that I liked or needed above the Corolla. I don’t really need any of the extra features that the Mazda 3 5-door offers. I just liked the fact that it was a hatchback. I scratched that car too – due to cost, fuel efficiency, and although has gotten great reviews, I wasn’t sure on the long term reliability. The Corolla has an outstanding track record

    However, now I find myself regretting my decision and almost thinking about trading it in for a new Mazda 3 hatchback. First, I have read that the Corolla doesn’t actually get as good of gas mileage as it claims to (EPA rating = 29/38). Anyone else? Second, I concur the steering wheel position to leg position is a bit off, but I have very long legs (now getting use to the steering wheel position – its not too bad). And its not as sporty as the Mazda 3, although I don’t need this and I really like the hatchback…but the cost was almost $5,000 more than the Corolla (not much – but still ¼ of the total cost).

    What I got – a ’07 Corolla LE – loaded, with heated leather seats, and alarm (remember my last car was stolen), remote starter, and extended 7 year warranty for $20,000.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my purchase and either I may walk away feeling as though I made a good investment all things considered or feeling like an idiot and losing a few grand when I trade it in at the Mazda dealer. Any thoughts?

    Thanks -
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I think you may have paid a bit much for the Corolla. My dad just bought his new 07 Civic EX Sedan(has everything but NAV) for in the mid-$17s out the door. He had a trade-in, but got blue-book for it, so that point is relatively moot.

    That being said, you might check out the Corolla Prices Paid & Buying Experience Forum and check out the deals other shoppers are getting.

    The EPA ratings on the car are pretty accurate. My ex-girlfriend drove like a bat-out-of-hell, and still averaged 31 MPG in her commute to school in rush hour. I drive much more calmly, and got 37 MPG on a day trip to Huntsville (110 miles each way from here in Bham - that included lots of driving around town too). That was with A/C, three people in the car, and me driving at 80 MPH, plus the 50 or 60 miles we spent on the side-streets. Many people in the Corolla MPG Forum have gotten well above EPA averages when they drive modestly.

    Her car has been very reliable, just has some rattles coming from the dome light. It rides the best out of the three in this forum. I wouldn't trade it in if the car is comfortable to you. If you like to drive cars into the ground, this one will take awhile, as they have a good reliability reputation, and will probably take you as far as your old Civic did.

    Quick question; is that $20,000 deal including everything (tax, title, license, add-ons, fees...)? If so, the deal doesn't seem as bad. Not sure you couldn't have done somewhat better, but the car shouldn't disappoint you for what it promises, especially if it has all the features you were looking for.
  • I paid $20,075. for everything - walking out the door! the base price i got for the car without taxes/ leather/ alarm/ extended warranty was 14,800...which i believe to be pretty aggressive.

    so you like the Corolla, I was basically just looking for a good car to get me where ever i need to go that i can drive for the next 7 -10 years with minimal and i mean minimal problems..... the problem comes when all of a sudden i say well if I spent X why not spend $5,000 more and get X.

    I think I would buy my old car back from the person that stole my car $2,000.

    I'm not sure where people buy cars.... mid 17,000 for a Civic EX sedna loaded - maybe without all the other fees. what blue book tells you and a delaer i believe to be very different.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    This was at a small suburban dealership, at the end of the month. They will likely be able to sell the car that we traded for $2k-$3k more than they paid for it (we got blue-book TRADE-IN) value, which is a good deal less than it could have been sold for privately. Dad just doesn't want to go through the hassle of selling a car, and to him, it is worth it to trade it in and get less for it.

    An no, $17,280 includes Tax, Title, License, Mudguards, and all dealer fees.

    $14,800 is aggressive, but it becomes less-so with all the add-ons. I wonder for how long/many miles is the warranty, and what was its price? The remote start/alarm price?
  • alarm + remote start = $650
    7 year 75,000 miles - Full coverage warranty ~ 1,300 - best part if you don't use it they give you your $$$ back!!!!

    heated leather seats = $1800 (My folks are a little on the goofy side - so they paid for the leather seats and alarm - you know i live in the big bad city!)taxes are...well taxed in Chi-town

    when it comes to buying a car - i wish i was a guy..

    so what's you opinion on the Mazda 3- hatchback (reliability?)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    so what's you opinion on the Mazda 3- hatchback (reliability?)

    I'm going to say that I don't have enough info to really comment, although they seem to be decent little cars. I have a friend with one and it is still solid after 48,000 miles (its a 2004). A recent long term test I read (either in Motor Trend or in Car and Driver, I subscribe to both and can't find the issue at the moment) really loved the car, but again, it cost $19,xxx before they added fees, tax, title, etc... Probably a few thousand more than your Corolla if you equipped them both with leather and heated seats.
  • gib11gib11 Posts: 47
    I own a first production 2004 MZ3hatch with 50k miles on it. No problem except TSB (CEL, glove box, front brake pad). No problem since. Its a 5 manual. I average 7liter/100km in summer (80% highway) and 8liter/100km in winter. For a 2,3liter with 160hp and 150pft, that is very good IMO.
  • I bought a 2007 Corolla LE two months ago and have been very pleased with it. I've done mostly city driving and have averaged 29.7 MPG. It rides nice, looks good and best of all cost less than the Civic and Mazda.

    It isn't the newest model or the sportiest looking but it serves it purpose. I long ago got over the phase in life when you feel that you have to have that just released model or the ultra sporty looking vehicle. You bought a quality vehicle that should give you many years of trouble free driving.
  • vincepvincep Posts: 12
    There's a reason the Corolla is the #1 selling car in the WORLD.

    It's simply the most reliable, inexpensive to own & operate, car out there.

    My mom has an '05. I drove a '91 in college until 150k miles, then my sister drove it in college to 200k miles. Got rid of it because it had no airbags, but otherwise there was nothing wrong with it.

    The current model could use a telescoping steering wheel. But as you mentioned, people get used to the driving position.

    My current car is a 2002 Camry w/ 110k miles, 0 problems. There's a reason why Toyota has the highest perceived quality in the business... because they DO.
  • d_hyperd_hyper Posts: 130
    As you probably know, best-selling doesn't necessary mean the best. McDonalds serves more people than any other restaraunt, but could you say they are the best? Is Windows a better OS? Is Dial a best soap? All depends on purchaser priorities. Any professional reviewer, including Edmunds, would put Corolla right at the bottom of the economy-class. But if you prefer bland, overpriced appliance with a good reputation, why bother researching others, right?!
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    There's a reason why Toyota has the highest perceived quality in the business... because they DO.

    I might agree with you about reliability, however, Toyota is now the recall king in the industry. Also, with the recent Avalon/Camry transmission issues I have to say they may have taken a step back. Also, you mentioned "quality". The Corolla/Matrix are the noisiest/rattiest vehicles in their segment. That is not quality. They have a feel that lacks refinement.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    with the recent Avalon/Camry transmission issues I have to say they may have taken a step back.

    I disagree. I believe the "transmission issues" are overstated and the Camry along with the Honda Accord are still on top of the heap. The Mazda6 has had its fair share of problems as noted in Consumer Reports; only the 4 cylinder is recommended. In my opinion, the Mazda6 used to be the style king of the bunch, but Toyota has delivered on that front also. Kudos to Toyota for addressing the bland criticism and delivering a handsome design.

    I predict that in spite of the "issues", the Camry will still share the throne with the Accord. As good as the Mazda6 is, it is definitely not in the same ballpark as these major leaguers.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I disagree. I believe the "transmission issues" are overstated and the Camry along with the Honda Accord are still on top of the heap.

    You can disagree, but, there are thousands of posts here at Edmunds that say other wise.....

    The Mazda6 has had its fair share of problems as noted in Consumer Reports; only the 4 cylinder is recommended

    Never said it did not. However, the Mazda6 is not part of this discussion. I brought only made reference the Avalon/Camry part in rebuttal to the previous posters remark of Toyota being near perfect.
  • i thought the Chevy Colbalt was every body favorite car? i want to (way in the future) buy an Chevy Colbalt SS but i am worried about the turbo part. how often do you have to get that system service? please help me with this info.
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