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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla vs Mazda3



  • My sister and I are the only people we know who are both like this. I'm 30 and she's 33, neither of us have ever had an automatic. She and her husband always have a tough time picking a car because she insists on a manual. Luckily lots of mid-sizers still offer them.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    ....older Corollas and Civics (about '95 to '01 models) because I need an economical second car. One major difference I've noticed between these two cars is how their engines produce power. The Honda's 1.7 liter (1.5 liter for earlier models) basically has no bottom end torque and makes the vast majority of it's power at high rpm while the Corolla's 1.8 seems to have a much broader powerband that delivers a decent amount of power throughout it's entire rpm range. To me this makes the Corolla more pleasureable to drive than the Civic. There is also something else that sticks in my head about the Corolla ever since I heard it in this forum; someone once described the Corolla as a "baby Lexus" and I would say that is a very accurate description. Once you are able to look past the bland styling and you start to take notice of this car's qualities, it doesn't take long to find out these are very well built cars. From the smart interior ergos to the technologically advanced yet simple mechanics under the hood to the very solid overall build quality of the entire vehicle, it's no wonder the Corolla has been around for so long and sells so well. I think a Corolla will be my next purchase, now it's just a matter of finding one with a manual tranny at the right price.....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    The only major downside for the '98-'02 Corolla IMO is the cramped back seat. That was enough to eliminate it for me back in '00 as I have 3 kids. The Civic's seat from that era is much more hospitable, especially '01 and later. Toyota fixed that for '03 but ruined the driving position. :(
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    .....won't be an issue for me because 95% of the time I'm alone. Driver's seat comfort will be much more important. Also, does anyone know what kind of highway MPG the pre '01 models with manual tannies get? I've heard of people getting low to mid 40's with the '01 and newer models, I'm just wondering if the older models are comparable.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    The only major downside for the '98-'02 Corolla IMO is the cramped back seat.

    I had an '01 Corolla, and wow was the back seat small. I'm quite tall (about 6'1" and hardly anyone could sit in the back seat.

    The '03 Corolla was a major improvement. But ruined the driving position.
  • Revving the engine in the Civic to get to the power band is part of the fun to drive experience. I agree that it doesn't have much torque, but once you wind it up it'll scoot.

    If this doesn't suit your driving style, the Corolla does easier to access power. It's just boring as heck. The Civic feels much sportier.

    At least either way you're getting something bulletproof.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    To me, having more power throughout the RPM range isn't boring, it makes the car more driveable. I don't like having to rev an engine before it can do what it's supposed to do. My brother-in-law had a '94 or '95 Civic. I think it had a 1.5 liter engine (the same size engine my Tercel has) and it would definitely scoot. At high RPM's it accelerated much harder than my Tercel does, but at lower RPM's my Tercel has more useable power. I think you're right though, I can't go wrong with either of these cars.
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    During the past 6 weeks I test drove all 3 of these cars. The Corolla feels dated and the handling felt a bit sloppy. Also I was buying a car for my teenage son to use and despite a plethora of Corollas at the dealer only a few had ABS and side airbags. However the Corolla would be the lowest priced of these cars as the dealer was quite ready to give major discounts.
    Next was the all new Honda Civic. You'll either love or hate the new "space-age" dashboard with digital speedometer (I didn't care for it). I drove to the dealer in my 1997 Civic. Surprisingly the 2006 did not feel more powerful than the 1997 despite the extra horsepower. LX model has rear drum brakes not disc brakes. Pluses of the new Civic inlude standard ABS and side airbags on all Lx and ex models, standard combo cd/mp3 cd player, and clearly the best gas mileage with an epa rated 40 mpg highway. However the dealer had no LX models with AT on the lot and would order one only at full msrp.
    Finally I test drove a Mazda3i touring. The salesman had me drive it on a winding country road with lots of hills. Smart move. No hesitation of the engine in uphill driving. Curves are taken almost like you were in a BMW. Its not a sports car but close to it. Its fun to drive. Driver's seat has adjustable lumbar support (not present in either of the other cars). Steering column is completely adjustable. 205/55 16 inch tires really grip the road. ABS and SAB or optional but they had a large selection of cars equipped that way on the lot. Gas mileage is clearly the worst of the group. Figure on $800-1000 off msrp.
    I settled on a red Mazda3 because it looked great and did not drive like an economy car.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    This is the same magazine that gave the Renault Alliance car of the year. :P
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Usually the sour grapes comments from owners of other brands mention the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare COTY. :P
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421

    Definition of "trend," from

    1. The general direction in which something tends to move.
    2. A general tendency or inclination.
    3. Current style; vogue: the latest trend in fashion.

    Civics indeed are very general cars, made for the masses who want cookie-cutter transportation. And Motor Trend doesn't want to hurt its advertisers -- they know full well they can't go wrong endorsing the most popular small car in the country! A very safe move from an equally wishy-washy magazine.

    Besides, it's nice to share. The Mazda3 can't have all the awards.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    You haven't looked at or driven the new Civic, especially the Si, have you? I didn't think so.

    As for hurting advertisers, all the auto makers advertise in MT, so that's not a factor. As for popular, two years ago the COTY went to a car that at the time had less than 40,000/year in U.S. sales--might even be less than the U.S. sales of the Mazda3!
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    The Mazda3 can't have all the awards.
    Yeah, car of the year in Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia and Canada! We know how to pick 'em!

    In spite of the fact that the Mazda3 is a great car I don't think it is a revolutionary one; one could argue that the Civic is. Honda's accomplishment with the Civic suite is in its popularization of fuel-efficiency. The Insight was one of the first hybrids on the road but its shortcomings were obvious; the Civic is the one that will be making real the promise for a green car that is not a prototype but the real thing. The Accord Hybrid is another wonderful achievement. Mazda needs to step up to the plate and start showing they can engineer something not only stylish, affordable, powerful but also fuel-efficient. The bar is being set by Toyota and Honda: how does 50 mpg average fuel economy sound to you?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The bar is being set by Toyota and Honda: how does 50 mpg average fuel economy sound to you?

    Here's how it sounds to me!

    You asked!

  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    Here is the complete list....some impressive cars and some really lame ones. If I was working at motor trend I would hang my head in shame over some previous winners.

    Motor Trend Car of the Year Complete Winners List
    The complete list of every car that has ever won the award

    Motor Trend

    2006 Honda Civic
    2005 Chrysler 300
    2004 Toyota Prius
    2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe / Sedan
    2002 Ford Thunderbird
    2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser
    2000 Lincoln LS
    1999 Chrysler 300M
    1998 Chevrolet Corvette
    1997 Chevrolet Malibu
    1996 Dodge Caravan
    1995 Chrysler Cirrus
    1994 Ford Mustang
    1993 Ford Probe GT
    1992 Cadillac Seville Touring Sedan
    1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic LTZ
    1990 Lincoln Town Car
    1989 Ford Thunderbird SC
    1988 Pontiac Grand Prix
    1987 Ford Thunderbird
    1986 Ford Taurus LX
    1985 Volkswagen GTI
    1984 Chevrolet Corvette
    1983 American Motors Renault Alliance
    1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
    1981 Chrysler K-cars, Dodge Aries/Plymouth Reliant
    1980 Chevrolet Citation
    1979 Buick Riviera S
    1978 Chrysler, Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon
    1977 Chevrolet Caprice
    1976 Chrysler, Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare
    1975 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 V-8
    1974 Ford Mustang II
    1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    1972 Citroen SM
    1971 Chevrolet Vega
    1970 Ford Torino
    1969 Plymouth Road Runner
    1968 Pontiac GTO
    1967 Mercury Cougar
    1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
    1965 Pontiac Motor Division
    1964 Ford Motor Company
    1963 American Motors Rambler
    1962 Buick Special
    1961 Pontiac Tempest
    1960 Chevrolet Corvair
    1959 Pontiac Motor Division
    1958 Ford Thunderbird
    1957 Chrysler Corporation
    1956 Ford Motor Company
    1955 No Award
    1954 No Award
    1953 No Award
    1952 Cadillac Motor Car Division
    1951 Chrysler Corporation
    1950 No award
    1949 Cadillac Motor Car Division
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    They've given the award for 54 years, and non-American makes have won it only five times?!

    And three of those import winnings have taken place in the last four years, so prior to 1993, in FIFTY years of this award, it went to non-American cars only TWICE -- and then for a VW and a Citroen???

    I'll let the list speak for itself. Honda's new Civic has a lot of, er, "historic" automobiles it can call company in this award: trend-setting vehicles like the K-Car, the Renault Alliance and the Chevy Vega, to name a few.

    Geesh! No wonder I never subscribed to that waste of a mag.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769

    Hi Meade!
    Actually the story is ... that the EPA is not being realistic in their testing. Consumer Reports, which has been arguing for real world testing, downgrades EPA estimates routinely by 20% for many cars. So, it is no surprise that the EPA got it wrong for the Prius and other hybrids. That does not disprove the fact that hybrids are more fuel-efficient than most dino-mobiles.

    "We explain to everyone when they buy the car that those EPA estimates are theoretical," said David Burrill, hybrid salesman for Toyota of Berkeley in California ... "During the first week or so, they may get 42 or 43 mpg, but after that, customers tell us they're getting 48 or 49."

    I'm a big fan of Mazda and applaud their long-term hydrogen experiments. What's missing is the short to mid-term proof. Now, if you hear something on the wires about a Mazda3 generating 200 hp and averaging 50 mpg, tune me in. Ford is actually further along the road than Mazda. It may be heresy to some, but maybe Ford has to step in and lay down the law for all their brands. Maybe Mazda needs to learn a thing or two from big brother.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Further to the previous post, here is news from the recent Tokyo Motor Show about Mazda's hybrid and hydrogen plans, including an upcoming Mazda Tribute Hybrid that is based on the Ford Escape. It's happening!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yes, such cars as Nissan 300ZX won the title of "Import Car of the Year" before the magazine dropped the award and decided to have just one. This is why no imports are really found in the pre-1990s awards. The import car-of-the-year s are not mentioned here. There used to be two awards, one for foreign, one fore domestic. Don't count your chickens, Meade.
  • My 18 y/o nephew has the new Mazda 3. I drove it and it was ok - nothing stellar. You can really tell Ford owns this company - cheap plastics, tinny sounding doors and hood, and already a few buzzes and rattles.

    I have also noticed the J.D. Power quality scores based on actual consumer feedback for Mazda are always below Honda and Toyota.

    After driving one, I see why.
  • backy - just saw today that Honda will produce a sedan version of the Si alongside the coupe for the '07 model year - with the same 197hp K20Z3 engine and 6 speed MT in the coupe that is getting rave reviews. Way cool.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Where did you see that? I saw something on that too, but it was a discussion forum like this one with a photoshopped picture of a "2007 Civic Si sedan"--in other words, it was someone's fantasy. Is there a press release from Honda or something else official?
  • eric29eric29 Posts: 49
    According to this report, all the economy claims are overstated, not just the ones for the hybrid:
  • gib11gib11 Posts: 47
    Gearjammer62, when you say that the MZ3 felt "cheap plastics, tinny sounding doors and hood", You say that according to what? A BMW standard? Then I agree with You. Otherwise, I really dont. I own the 5 doors, and its a blast to ride even today. By the way i have the 5man. and bought the car in octobre 2003. It has 30000miles. I didn't have much problem (cel). And it doesn't rattle, and the doors close very eurepean like. The inside different plastics and textures don't look cheap at all. The limonescent lighting (you don't get that in the i) with blue and red is very cool and calming for the eyes. The seat, firm but confortable. Good for sport driving. Then theres the look. Everything well put together inside/out. Not even considering the riding quality, the exterior looking, and a strong motor (2,3l, 160hp), I thing the mazda3 is a darn remarquable car for its price. Not cheap at all! :D
  • gib11gib11 Posts: 47
    Has for reilability issue, watch the new civic gen problems
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  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Well, I was interested enough to hunt down that non-working link. Here's the working version: html

  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I have seen it posted many times - all new cars have some problems - or maybe - all first model year cars have some problems - take your pick - or accept both.

    The issue is what will Honda do about the issues? My guess is they will FIX THEM - because the want to KEEP the customers that take a chance and buy a new model HAPPY.

    Anyone think that 22 months from now people will still be posting about the same problems with their 2006 Civic?

    Anyone think that people who buy the 2007 Civic will have the same problems?

    For some reason I think Honda will jump on these issues and get them solved QUICKLY - not like "some" car company I know - who takes almost 2 years to finally get a fix out for something as simple as a poor shifting tranny - or grinding brakes - or worse - has no fix on something as important as the HVAC system.

    Time will tell - I could be wrong -
  • gib11gib11 Posts: 47
    Well Honda had issues with their 7th gen civic suspension since the beginning and never could really fix it. I dont want to ditch Honda, but they do have issues to (civic bad supension conception 2001-2004, only a little better in 2005). And I'm asking myself how many recalls and TSB for the 7th gen civic or even accord? They are not perfect. Now it starts pretty strong for the 8th gen civic (oil leak, Airbag sensor, pedals loose!, cruise control) and some insatisfaction to (fuel consumption, driving position, confort). Hey, theres also some very good stuff about the new civic (motor technology (1,8l single overhead cam producing 140hp is something else), design, fuel economy (I bet though that it will consume more than the 7th gen civic, because its more heavy, and I read the same in forum reviews) and the Si :)
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    They are not perfect.
    I think one could say that about any carmaker. If you believe the reliability ratings provided by Consumer Reports the Honda Civic and Honda Accord are among the most reliable vehicles on the road. :)

    As Aristotle said "the perfect is the enemy of the good"; in other words, aiming for perfection is a recipe for dissatisfaction.
This discussion has been closed.