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Honda Civic vs Mazda3



  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    We have to keep the car for awhile longer, our prepaid maintainence policy runs out at 45k miles. The car has numerous rattles & since we replaced the rear alloy, we hear a clicking sound all the time that the dealer can't locate. The wife says the a/c sometimes only does a marginal job of cooling...we're just not happy with it. Luckily, I only drive it on the weekends. Luckily, it's never left us stranded.
    She goes in on Wednesday for an oil change, radiator flush, checking the clicking alloy & checking the back brakes. Since they swapped out the rear rotors and pads about 3 months ago, that old brake dust problem on the rear axle has returned. Just seems like one nitpicky thing after another with this car. It's getting a bit tedious now actually. Thus our desire to cut her loose. Time will tell.

    The Sandman :(
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The wife says the a/c sometimes only does a marginal job of cooling

    Early models have been known for that. I'm sorry to hear that this has happened all of a sudden, considering not too long ago you were very pleased with it. Hopefully the dealer can rectify the problems to make you happy once again.

    It really sounds like you are describing a Toyota Corolla! LOL
  • wow, 27k miles in 2 years just driving on weekends!?! Must be some road trips.

    Every car is different, I'm not sure it's a systemic issue with the maker. My M3s has 18k HARD miles (I drive it into NYC every day, potholes, heavy traffic, salt and sand) and it cleans up easily and feels exactly as it did when I drove it home from the dealership.

    I had a Hyundai Santa Fe lemon and then one that went 70k with just oil changes and 1 tune up and looked and ran like new.

    I respect your opinion that your car is a pain in the butt and you want to cut it loose, but I don't know that it reflects on the whole model line. Maybe the dealer can find the problem. Good luck.

    While I love my Mazda, I really miss my SUV but with gas at $2.75/gal I had to make a change (it was over $3.00 when I did it). Now I pine for the Acura TSX I didn't buy and watch them go by on the road and shed a tear! LOL
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Now I pine for the Acura TSX I didn't buy and watch them go by on the road and shed a tear! LOL

    Whenever you start to cry, just count the thousands of dollars you still have instead of that car!
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    The 3 is the wife's daily driver and I really only drive it weekends. She drives...alot around town. I'm sure the rest of the Mazda line is fine, this was the only car that really wowed us at the time. It came down to this and the Jetta back in '05 and we were a bit scared of VW realiablity and I also had personal reasons why I could never buy a VW.
    I hope the dealer will address the issues tomorrow. Would be nice to just move on. But I do know that we will be keeping it until the youngest gets into his junior year of college. It's just a bad financial move to cut her loose, eventhough my gut tells me to. We're just more fiscally responsible than that.
    I have owned two Corollas in the past, both good cars with great gas mileage but lousy brakes. Same with the wife's two Camrys. The new Corolla looks you never know.

    The Sandman :)
  • In the end, I feel like Edmunds reviewers rarely take the safety of a car as well as its fuel economy very seriously. Even when they mention that it may sway some buyers, they seem to talk down to the types of people who would choose such a thing. I was in a 2006 civic coupe LX (a friend was driving) and it flipped over into a ditch at 85 miles an hour after doing a tailspin. No one in the car was injured except scrapes, including someone in the back seat. If he had owned a comparably priced Mazda3, I don't think I would be alive today. And as for the other, fuel mileage is not something ot scoff at. SOme people simply cant afford to pay extra for the thirstier engine, and its harmful to the environment besides. I just think the Civic doesnt get enough credit for what it does right, its reliability, SAFETY, it has good handling, an engine as smooth as butter, and great fuel economy for the amount of power it delivers. I'm not civic fanboy, but I think that it could be given a bit more credit by the edmunds staff as well as some people on this forum.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    What's the one thing that makes the Civic more dangerous to ride in and have much worse fuel economy? Driving 85 MPH. This is true in ANY car, not just a Civic or a Mazda.

    Glad you are safe, but 85 MPH is "reckless driving" by my state's law (Alabama) for a reason. Also, I can manage 6 MPG above HWY sticker in my Accord when driving the speed limit on the interstate (70 MPH), but go 85 MPH, and I can't even get sticker estimates.

    Stay safe.

  • I have to agree with the last poster. I am happy to hear no one was hurt, but wrecking at 85mph and coming out unscathed is as much a matter of good fortune (luck) than car safety. No car is designed to protect you in that event. That said, I think Mazda's marketing is dumb in the safety department. The Mazda ratings come up weak in side impact reports because they report on the model WITHOUT side airbags. After some research, the side airbags bring it up to 4 or 5 stars (depending on who reports it). I applaud Honda's record of safety features. For my money, I prefer to drive the Mazda. I drove both and absolutely believe that at 85mph my Mazda handles much much better than a Civic. At 85, I could avoid an accident with the 3's 17" tires, stiff suspension and Volvo frame much better than the civic. The Civic feels like a ball of mush at 85mph and a tailspin seems much more likely. Part of safety is how the car handles to avoid an accident, not just the airbags or crumple zones that might help after it's too late.

    Just my 2 cents. Both excellent cars.
  • stallionrestallionre Posts: 205
    Go try the 3 and the Civic. When i was thinking about buying a new car it was down to the 3 which i had liked since they came out... and the new Civics which i also liked.... though not as much as the 3.

    I seriously considered getting the Civic for the gas mileage alone but my heart was with the 3 and i had wanted one for so long that i thought i would regret it if i didn't follow through and finally get one..
    To equip the Civic the way i wanted it [Sun roof , alloy wheels, side sills , stock body kit etc etc basically looking like the SI] it would have cost me quite a bit more than it would've to get the 3 the way i wanted it.

    So anyway.. I went with the 3 and i love it so far. There aren't a ton of 3's where i live and the ones i do see are usually "I" models.... there aren't many S-tourings or Grand Tourings that i see often. There are TONS of Civics everywhere. I can tell you that my car turns a lot more heads than it would had i been driving a new Civic which is nice looking... but common. People around here don't recognize the 3 immediately... but they like it and they always comment or ask about it. The moment where all doubt was erased from my mind about if i chose the right car was the other night when i went to pick up some things from Wal-Mart. I intentionally parked beside a silver Civic so i could look at both cars side by side. The 3 smoked it in my opinion. I took a picture. [Not completely fair because the front of the civic is obscured but here it is Overall , i think the 3 is a better car , especially in the looks dept. The only thing the civic has on the 3 is the awesome gas mileage . I have two extra doors and my car still looks better than the Civic coupe. =)

    Mazda 3 has more low end torque, vs. the civic. The dash on the civic is ugly and it doesn't look good. Mazda, much better. Keep in mind that Mazda is a much better ride than that of the civic.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Keep in mind that Mazda is a much better ride than that of the civic.

    I whole-heartedly disagree. The sportier tuning of the Mazda suspension makes its ride much more crunchy. The Mazda 3s I've driven didn't handle too differently from the 07 Civic EX my dad has. Better, yeah, but not enough to overcome the fact that I feel every tread block in my friend's 3 s.

    dash on the civic is ugly and it doesn't look good. Mazda, much better.

    Once again, subjective opinion (everyone has them, its ok :)). The Mazda's red-in-purplish/blue hurts my eyes. The Civic's speedo falls right where my eyes naturally want it to. Is the Mazda interior bad? Nope. But to me, neither is the Civic's, and the Civic's climate controls feel more upscale as well. Just a difference of opinion.

    The Mazda is torquier. The Civic, more economical (my heavy footed dad averages 31 MPG in mixed driving; he was getting 23 MPG in his 2.4L Accord).
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    The power of the 2.3 engine in the 3s is much better than the Civic, but there is a mileage penalty for all that torque. Both cars seems to ride very similar to me and they both have 205/55/16 sneakers on them.
    Prefer the speedo on the Civic though, a much better design once one gets used to it. As far as fit and finish go, it's Civic all the way. Not that the Mazda is bad in this department, it's just that the Civic just "feels" better if you know what I mean. Very hard to explain this tangible concept, but you know it when you feel it.
    The Civic engine sounds like a sweeter engine and it seems to know the perfect time to shift into the next gear, but for raw power, it's Mazda hands down. The 2.3 engine has a nice rush as the speed increases and it moves the car briskly.
    Both cars are very good, yet I prefer the Civic and the wife prefers the 3s. I always smile when I pull into the garage, no matter what car I'm driving!

    The Sandman :)
  • Sandman, you're post is right on. I guess my tastes (at least when I bought it, cause now I want a cadillac, lol, but I'm trying to stay practical here) run more in line with your wife's. I really disliked the speedo in the civic but I think it has a more "sedan-like" ride for lack of better words.

    I should have noted in my post that I have the 3s touring which comes with the 17" wheels.

    I just bought a 7ft tree (home depot), six bags of groceries, 2 boxes of solar lights, bags of soil and mulch and managed to fit it in my 3s hatchback! If I was re-thinking my purchase, today brought me back to earth. Awesome car!
  • wam161wam161 Posts: 5
    I've been reading through the past few posts, and I have to say I agree with you guys on a lot of what you are saying. I'm in the market for either a 3 or a Civic. I've test driven both, and it's not an easy decision. It's not an easy decision for most of what everyone has already said. The 3 is sportier, but lacks the fuel economy. The Civic feels like it may be a bit higher in interior quality, but doesn't have as much power.

    Both are very good cars. It comes down to what people's individual tastes are. I might take a Civic out on another test drive, but I'm leaning heavily towards the 3. I think I just flat out like the way it looks better, plus it has a hatch. If Honda did a hatch, I think my decision would be tougher.

    My only question for Mazda3 owners is, how do the back seats work out for you? The Civic felt like it had an inch or two extra space back there. Does the 3 feel too cramped?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    My only question for Mazda3 owners is, how do the back seats work out for you? The Civic felt like it had an inch or two extra space back there. Does the 3 feel too cramped?

    I'm not a Mazda 3 owner, but my father is a Civic owner and I've ridden in a 3 probably 10 times. The 3 felt roomier to me because of the higher seating position. The Civic was a little lacking in back-seat headroom. I'm 6'4" and a Honda owner, so I'm not Mazda-biased. Hope this helps.
  • wam161wam161 Posts: 5
    That does help, thanks. I'm thinking I may just forget the extra Civic test drive and go buy the Mazda. I saw two hatchbacks driving around today while I was at work. They turn my head every time I see 'em. The new Civic is already starting to feel commonplace.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    the reason i fell that the 3 'feels' roomier is like grad said, it has a higher seating position and a higher roofline. The civic actually has a better back seat, its just that the super low roofline makes you feel cramped. (not me, i like the starwars pod feel. ;) )
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    The new Civic is already starting to feel commonplace

    my only gripe with the new civic. :( If i ever were to get one again, it would be a color that you usually don't see and it would have the factory side skirts and some 17's just to differentiate a little.

    I see a few 3 hatches every now and again, they are sharp looking cars, but there are not a ton of them. Its kinda unfair for me to comment on this at all, i drive a rabbit and pretty much never see them. :)
    Its nice getting looks even when you have a car that has been on the market since the middle of 06.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    agreed. The mazda 3 vs civic comparo on edmunds was probably the only review that i think was completely worthless. Compare 2 economy cars and take out the economy. Is it nice that the mazda does what it does? Very. But the differences between the two are not night and day like some would belive. :blush:

    yes have driven both EXTENSIVELY.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    i don't really think the 3's 17's have that much to do with it, i think its more the suspension tuning. (it rides on 205's, those are just as wide as the civics.)

    My civic never felt like it didn't handle well at high speed. I owned it when i was a lot more reckless, and even though its experience that i shouldn't have,...i do and i can attest that it does NOT feel like a ball of mush at 85, while its chassis may not be sport tuned, its extraordinarly ridgid and just as safe (if not safer as its been proven) than the 3.

    as far as analyzing what works better; safety to avoid and prevent, or saftey features to protect when it happens, ill take the ones that protect when it happens (air bags, crumple zones.) again, this is coming from someone who knows that the civic is a fine handler, just not as ULTRA fine as the 3.

    There are many cars with good handling numbers, accel times etc, but that does not make them a 'safe' car.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    its good that you went with your heart stal, both cars are great, each one does several things better than the other and that is true of all cars.


    The 3 smoked it in my opinion

    i think the 3 is a better car , especially in the looks dept.

    I have two extra doors and my car still looks better than the Civic coupe

    The dash on the civic is ugly and it doesn't look good. Mazda, much better.

    Mazda is a much better ride than that of the civic

    These are all totally, completely, and entirely subjective and its is very easy to totally disagree!

    In example: i think very few common sport compacts look sportier than the civic coupe; there is no denying that swoopy windshield. You disagree, because its your opinion.

    Everything you just said is all an opinion, which you have every right to have, but that does not make them a certain truth or fact. They don't automatically make the 3 better, just better for you. far as the si goes, even with the honda body kit (which would have put you at about 23k as oppossed to what the m3 gt goes for which is about 20-22 depending on options), the increase on price would be TOTALLY justified, since the si handles, accelerates much better than the 3.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    If he had owned a comparably priced Mazda3, I don't think I would be alive today.

    You could not possibly know that! The safety rating on the Mazda3 is WITHOUT side airbags/ air curtains!! There is NO DATA showing the Mazda3 is more or less safe then the Civic when equipped with the aforementioned side airbags and curtains.

    By the way, going 85 was not so smart on the highway. All are lucky to be alive, regardless what you are driving. If you were in a Volvo, and died in that accident, would you say the Volvo is unsafe??

    If we were to asses safety in this class, I would say that the VW Jetta or Rabbit would be a better buy then either the Civic or Mazda3.

    By the way, I rolled my 1991 Toyota Celica on the highway, after spinning out from hitting a deer at 65 mph. No scratches, bruises or broken bones. There were no safety features in the car, except a driver air bag. I believe my existence today was a gift from God, not how safe my Celica was, or I should say, was not (did not rate well in safety).
  • rwhrwh Posts: 29
    My wife and I test drove the Civic EX a week ago and the Mazda 3i sedan this past weekend. We also test drove a Toyota Matrix a few weeks ago. I would prefer a wagon/hatchback; my wife doesn't care that much.

    My wife is really turned off by the styling of the Honda, calling it "designless, as completely generic as a car can get". I can't say I disagree, although I'm not as polarized as she is. We both love the styling of the Mazda. Full disclosure (we've driven an MPV for several trouble free years so we're familiar with Mazda). We originally were not going to try the Honda, even though it was on my short list, because my wife took one look at it in the lot (we were also considering a Honda Fit) and said it was too ugly.

    But of course, we ended up driving the Civic and were greatly impressed by the feel of the car, the obvious (to us) quality of the materials and workmanship, the great way it drove, the seamless transmission etc. and the Honda jumped ahead of the Matrix. We rationalized that in most cases the fold down rear seats would give us most of the utility of a hatchback.

    Then we drove the Mazda. The Mazda is a fine car, and maybe in a few years when the MPV dies we'll replace it with a Mazda 3 wagon if they're still making them and they're still as nice to look at. But what we didn't like about the Mazda was we had to step up to the 2.3L engine to get things like the 5 speed auto trans, and the hatchback. And to us, the build quality just didn't seem as good as the Civic, although in no way am I saying it's a poorly built car. It's actually a very nice car and a good value.

    But the big drawback is the gas mileage ratings, particularly if we were to go with the bigger engine. The salesman actually told me to look at the small print on the sticker where it says 28-40. He said to ignore the big numbers because we'll get the same mileage with the Mazda as the Civic.

    We'll probably buy the Civic EX even though we'll probably pay about $2000 more than a Mazda 3i.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    But the big drawback is the gas mileage ratings, particularly if we were to go with the bigger engine

    With the new EPA mpg ratings due out next year, the Honda Civic takes a big hit. I think it drops to 33mpg highway. The Mazda3 s goes down to 29mpg highway. The Mazda3 i drops to 31 mpg highway.

    You ultimately have to decide whats best for you. The mpg's are not too far off. My advise would be go with the car you like, and fits your needs the best.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    With the new EPA mpg ratings due out next year, the Honda Civic takes a big hit. I think it drops to 33mpg highway.

    Close, but no cigar.

    The Civic drops to 36 hwy. The 3s to 29 hwy; 3i, 31 hwy.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Our Civic gets close to 9 mpg's better than our 3s, but it's engine has less power. The 3s accelerates much faster and is a real rush to drive. But compared to the Civic, the 3s mileage kinda sucks. But we knew that going in. We swapped our '01 Altima with it's 2.4 engine for the Mazdas 2.3 engine, as the wife wanted a smaller car with similar power. Reliability issues drove us away from the Jetta and also it's a German car, eventhough some are made in Mexico. Prefer Japanese cars over German, so the Jetta was nixed.

    The Sandman :)
  • After observing this discussion for some time, I feel the need to add in my 2 cents. I used to owned a 01 protege and traded for a 03 Camry V6. I was disappointed with the Protege's built quality after over a year of ownership. Traded the Camry for a Highlander in 04 and still in my possession. Bought another 03 Corolla and traded for a 06 Mazda 3 GT last November because of the extreme beauty and top rating from car journalists. Sold my 3GT last week and bought a 07 Civic Ex sedan. Here's my take: Try a second chance at Mazda and found no improvement. Nice to drive during test drive, but poor built quality show after a short ownership. Bad road noise like there is no insulation at all. Every bump kind of radiates to the driver. Steering has no bite(feel) of the road at hgher speed. Squelling brakes and ultra thin carpet. The chassis do not have tightness feel of a new car. My Corolla still feel like new after 3.5 years of driving. Had good experience with a couple of Hondas before so I hope I'll be happy with my Civic. The only advantage of the 3 is the smooth power. The Corolla has a little better off the line power than the Civic. Hope the Civic will improve after the break-in. Anyway, the Civic has the same quality feel and tight handling like the Corolla. I think the next remodelled Corolla is the one to beat. My take is anyone thinking of a 3 to take an extensive test drive.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I find it interesting that your opinion seems to be the dissenting one here. Nothing wrong with that, it is just that a lot of people (including myself) are likely to disagree with you. The Corolla has to have about the numbest steering and the worst low-end torque off the line of any compact. It rides better than many midsize sedans, but it is no fun at all to drive by many's people's opinion. The Mazda has the absolute best handling/steering feel on the other hand, although you pay for it in having a firmer ride.

    My ex-girlfriend's Corolla rattled more than any car I've ever driven (it is a 2004 and had 25,000 miles or so at the time I was driving it regularly); more than my 1996 Accord with 172,000 miles. It felt anything but solid.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    This according to

    Honda Civic 5-speed manual 1.8L 26mpg-34mpg
    Mazda3 5-speed manual 2.0L 24mpg-32mpg
    Mazda3 5-speed manual 2.3L 22mpg-30mpg

    Honda Civic automatic 1.8L 26mpg-36mpg
    Mazda3 automatic 2.0L 23mpg-31mpg
    Mazda3 automatic 2.3L 22mpg-29mpg
  • Holy cow, I have never disagreed more with a posting in my life. To each his own, but I find absolutely nothing appealing about the Corolla at all. Like many, I started with the Civic, Mazda3 and Corolla as research points. The Corolla had no real personality at all, styling, driving, standard features, price points, interior. The Civic and M3 were both excellent. I went for the sportier ride and interior of the M3. After one year and 20k miles of hard Long Island/NYC driving, the Mazda looks, feels and drives like new. Just had an oil change and a wash and looked at the car and said "damn, this is a pretty cool little car." I say that about a Civic I see from time to time. I've NEVER said that about a Corolla. I do not see your points about carpet (my carpet is fine and the mats quite cushy compared to my previous SUV), no road noise, WAY better high speed steering (bite, feel as you say) than either the Civic or Corolla (I tested both). As for the driver feeling the bumps, that is a clear personal choice. It is a much stiffer Volvo frame and suspension. It took some getting used to the stiffness but I get repayed whenever the car smoothly hugs the road on turns and easily merges into highway traffic without topping 4 on the tach. The Corolla and Civic definitely feel more sedan-like with a softer ride and more sway. However, that is by design and not a flaw in the M3. It's a sports compact, not a mini-sedan. Oh well, to each his own.
  • rwhrwh Posts: 29
    Thanks for the fuel estimates.

    I keep my cars a long time. According to the estimates, taking the mid point numbers I calculate the following in 100,000 miles:

    Honda Civic automatic: 3225.8 gallons (ave. 31 mpg)
    Mazda3 2.0L automatic: 3703.7 gallons (ave. 27 mpg)
    Difference: 477.9 gal.

    These are objective numbers based on the available data, but your mileage may vary.

    Disregarding the cost of additional fuel of $1443.71 over that period at $3/gallon (the Mazda is still about $2k cheaper) all other things being equal my motivation is to simply use less fuel. I feel better using 50 gallons less fuel per year. Others may not care that much. I'm not interested in starting an environmental debate. And I can't afford the hybrids.

    It gets worse if I choose the Mazda wagon, which is what I would really prefer because of the utility. For me 24.5 mpg average mileage kind of defeats the purpose of buying a small car.
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