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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla vs Mazda3



  • my 2000 Altima has a timing chain. Mazda innovation?
  • when people vote with their wallets, results are stunningly different!
  • Oh yeah! I almost forgot. The SER engines have timing chain. Remeber Nissan Sentra SER of 1995-1999?
  • "Oh yeah! I almost forgot. The SER engines have timing chain. Remeber Nissan Sentra SER of 1995-1999?"

    How can that be? Mazda 'innovated' this in 2004 with the 3!
  • "Mazda comes out with the innovation, its competition plays catchup -- that's what I'm talking about."

    How about the Civic's safety features? All round aribags standard across the trim levels, even the cheapest ones, along with ABS. Isn't that something?
  • Oh well what do yu expect. Go to mazda website and they spent pages describing how mazda3 performs well because of how good the steering feel is because of speed proportional steering and suspension and this and that but guess what? They could have just tell us "speed proportional steering" and independent suspension and be over with it. Does the civic and Corolla have speed proportional steering? Yes.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Didn't the Ford Model A & T both have timing chains?

    They also had the black dash - so Mazda must be stealing from the 1919 ford parts bin!
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    The Visigoth's had large wagon type vehicles with wheels.....they disappear for a few thousand years and next thing you know everyone has wheels on their vehicles.....stealing from the visigoth parts bin is considered to be a high crime.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    Of course, a rubber timing belt (the proper name for this is: Gilmer belt) requires routine replacement. The typical replacement interval is 60,000 miles. A timing chain, either a single or duplex chain, seldom requires replacement under normal use. However, when a timing chain requires replacement due to excessive stretching, etc. - depending on the engine design - it can be much more expensive to replace than a Gilmer belt. A timing chain will stretch over time (that's what the chain tensioner is designed to counteract). Unfortunately, in some OHC engine designs, the engine must be pulled to replace the timing chain. Thus, although I much prefer a timing chain to a Gilmer belt design, one can't generalize about its overall long-term cost savings.
  • "just curious, but does the Corolla compete here on anything but price, MPG and the toyota nameplate?"

    Because the Toyota is automotive novocaine, much like it's bigger sibling Camry. At least the Mazda and Honda appeal to folks who at least enjoy cars (to what degree is up to you). I have no doubt the Corolla would be a trouble free appliance for a few hundred thousand miles, but you might die of boredom long before then. :)
  • Thanks for the info! An improvement of 2 mpg on the highway with the 5AT (versus the 4AT) is pretty good. Now if only Mazda would give the 3 s a 6-speed manual...get the revs at highway speeds and get a few more mpg. I'm sure it would help acceleration times, too (not that they need it).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Driving the Corolla makes you feel like you're driving an economy car. A very nice, smooth, refined economy car, but an economy car. And for those of us that Toyota ignored when it designed the driving ergonomics on the Corolla, driving the Corolla can also be literally a pain in the backside (and back, and arms...).

    Driving the Mazda3 makes you feel like you are driving a sports sedan. A sports sedan that was obviously designed on a tight budget. But at least the money went into all the right places--engine, suspension, steering, shifting, gauges.

    Driving the Civic makes you feel like you are driving an Accord--from the late '80s. But this car is more solid than any Accord of that era. It's peppier. It gets better fuel economy. It has a weird speedo. It's safer and more luxurious. And it costs more. But then, this is 2005, not 1988.
  • At this price range dont you think that people can afford to put the money where their mouth is? Its not not as if where choosing cars between an economy car and a luxury car. Theyre price within 1000-1500 of each other and are classified as ecomy cars. The best car is a compromise between all the qualities of cars in these category/price range.
  • Come to think of it I had an Accord 1989 10 years ago and to say that a Corolla is an economy car compared toa Civic that drives like n an Accord of late 80's is misleading.
    Of course the Corolla right now is outclassed by these newly redesigned cars (2004 and 2006 respectively) but it sure doesnt show on the sales figures. Wherever there is Corolla , whether Asia , Europe or Americas the Corolla outsells its competitor. Its because its the best compromise between economy performance, comfort and reliability.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    My point in saying that driving the Civic is like driving an Accord from the past is that the Civic, to me, doesn't drive like an economy car but one step up from an economy car, and it is about the same size (at least inside) as the Accord from the late '80s. It even has the wedge front end and low profile of the Accord from back then.

    I''ve driven lots of current-gen Corollas and to me they do drive like an economy car, albeit a very nice one. That's not a bad thing, and what the Corolla does it does very well. But it doesn't do it much better than other economy cars that cost thousands less.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "I'm waiting to see how long it takes the other guys to bring out their copies of the Mazda5. They'll come -- just watch."

    He probably means when does the Japanese Big 3 bring a car like the Mazda 5 to American Shores.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "Each car company does it own thing. I believe every car company does takes some things from others - that's normal business. Who do you think Mazda took a lot of their ideas from and got to where they are? Probably Toyota and Honda because they are still the leaders in the industry."

    I think Mazda and Honda are innovators but Toyota I admit they make good vehicles but they have no innovations. Mazda has the rotary and the Miller Cycle engine and making up the class that would later form the Honda S2K, BMW Z3/4. Honda has the VTEC engines and always make their cars as fuel effecient as possible.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "From past experiences with mazdas (my friend's rx-7 and protege and family member's MPV minivan) the engines were a pain to fix, and often showed much more problems on long trips(2 yr old mazda minivan with <50k miles broke down twice while we were passing by tahoe) than Hondas or toyotas, so although qutie reliable, mazda reliability still(as far as self repairs and long term ownership) is still in my opinion, not up to par."

    First off the RX-7 had the rotary engine in it that was a pain but that was a long time ago. Consumer Reports from about 1998-2003 lists the 626, Millenia, Miata, and Protege in their used Car best bets list. CR ranks all those models above average in reliability mostly for that particular time period. As far as engine problems didn;t Toyota have sludge problems with their engine a few years ago with the owners complaining? I;m not saying Toyota is a bad company but even Toyota has problems with their engines.
  • Which one has the highest quality interior (with the fewest sqeaks and rattles)?
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "The Mazda is slightly different but I don't think it's very unique --I think it's take a lot of its look from the Toyotas, especially the Corolla. They both have a lot of soft rounded corners all over it which makes it look very feminine. I prefer classic lines and more definition."

    How does the Mazda 3 take its look from a Corolla. The Corolla the back end looks extemely bland in my opinion where as the the 3 looks "sporty". I see which you are saying that their shape looks alike but the Mazda looks alot better. Your point is well taken thoiugh about the (05)Civic having classic lines though. Honda may not have the sportiest looking cars but their exteriors age well despite me not liking the exteriors of the Accord Sedan and new 06 Civic Sedan. In my opinion the 92-95 and 96-00 Civic's look alot better than the last 2 Civics. The last one was alright however but not as sleek as the 90's model Civic's looked. The new one at least for the Sedan I don't like it.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "Mazda typically redesigns its cars every three to four years. Honda has brought their new Civic closer (but still not quite all the way) to the level of the 3. In two short years it'll be time for a redesigned 3 to trounce the Civic all over again. The game goes on ... "

    I don;t like to tell this but your are wrong. Mazda only had a 4 yeear model cycle of the Protege/3 once from 1990 on and that was the 95-98 Protege which sold badly. The 90-94 and 99-03 Protege were 5 year model cycles. Honda did 4 year model cycles of the Civic 1992-1995 but switched to 5 yr model cyles there after and it goes like this: 96-00, 01-05 and probably 06-10. I think Civics and Accord's had 4 yr model cycles in the 80's. The Accord's model cycle goes like this: 82-85, 86-89, 90-93, 94-97. Then 5 yr model cycles: 98-02 and 03-07. The Mazda 626 went from 88-92, 93-97, and 98-02.

    I am both a Mazda and Honda fan.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I've driven all three cars (the '06 Civic only once though) and none had squeaks or rattles. But overall I'd say the Civic and Mazda3 have a more upscale interior than the Corolla. The Corolla has the faux wood trim, but its HVAC controls feel cheap and the rest of the interior is rather plain, IMO. The Civic is full of interesting shapes and textures, while the Mazda3 has the sportiest interior of the bunch. But the big issue with the Corolla is the inexcusable design flaw on the driving position. The Civic and Mazda3 don't suffer from that, and in fact offer telescopic steering wheels to help give every driver a comfortable seating position.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "Meade, did you compare these real world figures to the 3s real world figures or EPA numbers?"

    "I like the 3, my only concern is the gas mileage, which, even on the i, is no better than my 4 cyl Accord. For some reason, Mazda of late has been lagging on gas mileage, I wonder why. Earlier they used to be righ up there with Honda/Toyota."

    thats true even though I do like Mazda their gas mileadge does lag behind Honda and Toyota currently. When I had a 1998 626 it was rated EPA 22/29 city/highway with the 2.0 Liter 4cyl 125 horsepower engine. The Accord for 1998 made 23/30 city/highway and had a 2.3 4 cyl liter engine that made 150 horsepower. Mazda had the same gas mileadge as the Honda at the time but also gave up 25 horsepower. The 98 Nissan Altima had a 2.4 Liter Engine rated at 150 horsepower that made 24/31 city/highway. Even though Mazda's gas miledage on their cars lags behind the competition its still not bad.
  • I test drove all the newest models - 06 corolla, 06 civic, and 06 3 and I came to the conclusion that the 3 is the best of the three. I find that I decide whether I like a car or not within the first 10 seconds of sitting in the interior.

    The 06 corolla for some reason offered a very awkward seating position. I think it had to do with the dashboard being too vertical. I agree with backy that the hvac controls felt cheap and faux wood trim was a big no no for a young student like me. overall, the car was simply forgettable and i don't have much to write about it.

    The 06 civic was much better - i felt that the interior overall felt very upscale but i just couldn't get over the dashboard. the dashboard was expansive - almost like the 04 RX i drive occasionally. but although the expansive dashboard is welcome in a large SUV, i felt that in a civic, it was plain weird. plus.. i could simply not see the hood! although this probably won't be much of a problem, it just felt awkward. sitting in the back was very comfortable in the civic, and the seats are very comfy and soft. when i sat down, the digital odo didn't bother me, but the way it was setup bothered me. i felt that the bottom console was too low, or something. i'd much prefer a regular dashboard. i really wanted to like the civic and planned to purchase one for msrp as soon as it came out but after i drove the 3 i don't think so.

    The 06 3 felt immediately comfortable. unlike the corolla and civic, the seats felt firm and reminded me of the jetta. although i liked the civic's seats, i simply think that firmer seats are better. one thing i found unsettling was that the front left side console below the airbags (i forgot what this was called). although it was very large, the console opener felt very flimsy to me. since the opener is on the left side, i pushed the console and it moved up and down. i'm worried about this because it would be pretty annoying to have it rattle in the years ahead. however, i would say that the 3 i seems to use less satisfactory materials in comparison to the civic. the i seats fabric, especially, felt subpar in comparison to the civic's fabric. But those are small details which i am willing to overlook.

    I am getting a 3!
  • You mention driving the 3 i, is that the model you're getting? Are you getting an automatic or manual transmission?

    I've come to the same conclusion, the Mazda3 is the car that suits my tastes and driving style the best. I'm getting the 3 s with manual transmission.

    I liked the Civic and actually found the interior to be slightly more spacious. The dash was interesting and the materials used were high quality, but I expect a nice set of big dials in front of me in a Honda. The digital speedo just didn't cut it with me. Especially the mix of digital speedo and analog tach. It's just odd to me. But I have simple tastes.

    The Toyota doesn't interest me in the least. It's just too numb and isolating (Lexus-like may be a good description, but not a compliment in my book). The interior is just plain boring and compared to the Civic and 3, it feels unresponsive and handles like a Buick.

    My vote (and my check) goes to the Zoom Zoom of the Mazda3! If Honda comes up with a Civic Si Sedan in the next year or two, I'd have to think very seriously about a trade-in, though.
  • hey allfiredup, yes; i am getting an 3 i Touring w/ auto. i drove the 3 s also, but felt that the black seats with red trim wouldn't age so gracefully (i'm planning on keeping this car for 5 years). even with the s, i thought the plastics used in the 3 were not as great as those in the civic. but it's nothing i can't deal with!

    The funny thing is - people keep saying how much 'sportier' the 3 is. Personally, i am not a very sporty driver myself.. i drive pretty casually and i'm not the type to be speeding or having extreme fun driving. i just want to get from point a to point b. i was telling myself that i needed a simple car like the civic (was thinking of the last gen civic). but no, the 3 simply won me over with it's attractive interior/exterior design. the car seems much more expensive than it's price, and it doesn't hurt that you don't see gazillion of them everywhere.

    did you get your 3 yet, or are you still shopping? if you're still shopping, make sure to post something about it in the buy&sell forum if you haven't done so already, i'd love to see what deals others are getting. i'm hoping to get a 3 within 1-2 weeks.
  • I haven't gotten mine yet, but the plan is within two weeks. I was waiting for a dealer near me to finally get a Civic Sedan with manual transmission for me to test drive and they finally did- I drove it on Friday.

    I decided that the 3's edge in handling and acceleration were more important than the Civic's comfier interior and better fuel economy.

    The 3 i is a great car, I drove one of those also. The 2.0L is plenty quick enough, but I really want the 17" wheels that only come on the s model. I do wish the s was available with a solid black cloth instead of red or blue checks, but I can live with it. I'm planning on getting the Winning Blue, so it will be the blue and black interior.

    The best I've been quoted on price is about $800 off MSRP. I'm attending a Mazda Zoom Zoom event on 10/22 and they give out $500 coupons there. So, I should be able to get around $1300 off sticker price.

    Be sure you look at several car pricing sites before you buy. Edmunds is obviously a great source, but also check out Kelly Blue Book and CarsDirect. They all give you their own version of current market value.
  • "I think Mazda and Honda are innovators but Toyota I admit they make good vehicles but they have no innovations. Mazda has the rotary and the Miller Cycle engine and making up the class that would later form the Honda S2K, BMW Z3/4. Honda has the VTEC engines and always make their cars as fuel effecient as possible. "
    You call yourself "CarGuy"? I think you need to educate yourself on cars a lot more. Rotary engine for your information was patented by Felix Wankel in 1936 but research was made on the engine as early as 19th century.While Honda has VTEC, Toyoa has VVTL-i and dual VVT-i.
    There are reason why Toyota is pose to become not only number 1 in Japan but in the world, and there are reason why Nissan is once again number 2 in Japan overtaking Honda and there are reason why Mazda is still under Ford. You cant sell a lot of cars in a technology crazy country like Japan without offering innovation. Educate yourself.
  • ezpilzeezpilze Posts: 29
    Although carguy58 had some factual misunderstandings, I believe you are stepping out of lines with your comments giantkiller. It&#146;s true that mazda's rotary engine was developed in Russia I believe and the design was eventually bought, fun historical information that I'm sure maybe some/many people know, but this forum IS about how the mazda 3 compares with the other 2 cars mentioned .

    Furthermore, to carguy58, you seem to concentrate your argument over consumer reports. First off, &#147;CR ranks all those models above average in reliability mostly for that particular time period&#148; I believe I had mentioned that I was ranking long term reliability, not those measly 40-50k miles, but LONG term ownership(please read more carefully) before replying. My friends 626 ranks at 180k miles, and it suffers more common problems than my dads old Toyota T100 at apprx 276k miles, both cars were about within a 2 yr time period. Next, it seems to me that you support most of your argument about mazdas based on consumer reports, I&#146;m guessing it is because you don&#146;t do maintenance on your own cars because you never mention anything about fixing the cars yourself. Please keep this in mind, CRs DO NOT take any/ take little account as to the level of difficultly it is to fix each type of engine. Rotarys for me sucked, alot, while other mazdas were annoying to fix. I did mention earlier that mazdas in general(for me at least) tended to require more maintenance over toyotas and Hondas, so I won&#146;t even bother going in depth with your remark about the Toyota sludge thing(again, please read posts a little more carefully).
  • The thing about CR is that at least they have statistics to support their case. Anecdotes like, "But my second cousin once removed has a worse experience with Mazda than Toyota" are highly folly and wouldn't even be acknowledged during a real debate.

    But I agree that CR's statistics does have it's limitations - there are many more variables in measuring reliability than 'problems' per 'vehicle'.
This discussion has been closed.