2019 Honda Civic vs. 2018 Mazda 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Mazda 3’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic and the Mazda 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Civic is safer than the Mazda 3:

 

Civic

Mazda 3

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

20%

20%

Neck Stress

176 lbs.

232 lbs.

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

70 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

34%

48%

Neck Stress

131 lbs.

213 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

78 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Civic is safer than the Mazda 3:

 

Civic

Mazda 3

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

204

245

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

252 G’s

276 G’s

Hip Force

306 lbs.

465 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

68 G’s

72 G’s

Hip Force

356 lbs.

575 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

HIC

260

269

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are over 79 percent more Honda dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 3 places higher in reliability than Mazda.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Civic Hatchback Sport is faster than the Mazda 3 Touring/Grand Touring (manual transmissions tested):

 

Civic

3

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17 sec

19.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

92 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Civic 1.5T is faster than the Mazda 3 Touring/Grand Touring (automatics tested):

 

Civic

3

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3 4-Door:

 

 

Civic

Mazda 3

 

 

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/38 hwy

28 city/38 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

 

1.5 Turbo/Auto

31 city/40 hwy

27 city/36 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

 

Touring 1.5 Turbo/Auto

30 city/38 hwy

n/a

 

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Hatchback gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 3 5-Door:

 

 

Civic

Mazda 3

 

 

 

n/a

27 city/37 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Manual

 

Sport 1.5 Turbo/Manual

29 city/38 hwy

25 city/33 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Manual

 

1.5 Turbo/Auto

31 city/40 hwy

28 city/37 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

 

Sport 1.5 Turbo/Auto

30 city/36 hwy

26 city/35 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

The Civic has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Civic offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic stops much shorter than the Mazda 3:

 

Civic

Mazda 3

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Civic has larger standard tires than the Mazda 3 (215/55R16 vs. 205/60R16). The Civic Sport/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 3 (235/40R18 vs. 215/45R18).

The Civic LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 3 Sport’s standard 60 series tires. The Civic Sport/Touring’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Mazda 3 Touring/Grand Touring’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Civic Sport Hatchback handles at .93 G’s, while the Mazda 3 Touring 4-Door pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Civic Touring Sedan is quieter than the Mazda 3 4-Door (38 vs. 39 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Sedan a Mid-size car, while the Mazda 3 4-Door is rated a Compact.

The Civic Sedan has .7 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mazda 3 4-Door.

Cargo Capacity

The Civic Sedan has a much larger trunk than the Mazda 3 4-Door (15.1 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

The Civic Hatchback has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Mazda 3 5-Door with its rear seat up (25.7 vs. 20.2 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Civic has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Mazda 3 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Civic’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Mazda 3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Civic the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Mazda 3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Civic has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mazda 3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

Both the Civic and the Mazda 3 offer available heated front seats. The Civic Touring Sedan/Sport Touring also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Mazda 3.

The Civic Touring’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Mazda 3’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Model Availability

The Honda Civic comes in coupe, sedan and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Mazda 3 isn’t available as a coupe or four door hatchback.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Civic is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 3 because it costs $369 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Civic than the Mazda 3, including $109 less for a muffler, $26 less for front brake pads, $90 less for fuel injection, $53 less for a fuel pump, $8 less for front struts and $30 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its April 2017 issue and they ranked the Honda Civic Sport Hatchback first. They ranked the Mazda 3 5-Door third.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Civic second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Mazda 3 isn’t in the top three.

The Civic Sport was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Mazda 3 hasn’t been picked since 2017.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The Mazda 3 hasn’t been picked since 2014.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The Mazda 3 has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Mazda 3 by over five to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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