2017 Mazda3 vs 2017 Honda Civic

In a market seemingly contested by CUVs and SUVs, it’s easy to overlook the highly competitive and interesting small car category. Those whose preference is with a traditional car, be it sedan or hatch, have their choice of some compelling vehicles. The small car market was once the realm of vehicles that placed emphasis on economy over attributes such as driving enjoyment. Happily, contemporary vehicles offer a great deal more, no longer being something to endure, but rather enjoyed.

“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line” Archimedes. Mazda3 owners understand this as “The most fun between two points involves lots of twisty bits.” The Mazda3 is a consistent favourite with motoring journalists by virtue of its engaging handling. Mazda G-Vectoring Control adds another dimension to the Mazda3’s dynamics. The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) gave Mazda their 2017 Best Innovation Technology Award for this latest technological development.

The 2017 Honda Civic adds another chapter to the history of this respected and popular car. The Civic remains a strong competitor in the segment for a reason, continuing to meet the expectations of its adherents. While competing in the same market space, the Honda Civic and Mazda3 are intended to appeal to distinct audiences.

Styling

KODO Design (Soul of Motion) is applied to every model in the Mazda range. Whether in Sport (Hatch), or Sedan form, the Mazda3 is arguably the most attractive small car currently offered. Capturing the moment when motion begins, KODO styling provides the Mazda3 with a quiet confidence that hints at its underlying sporting ability.

The 2017 Honda Civic is offered in three body styles: sedan, coupe, and hatchback. Of these, the sedan is the most attractive, offering a pleasing profile. The Civic Si, the enthusiasts’ Civic, has been described as “Great Value. Still Kinda Ugly.” The rear of the car features unusually large, angular tail lights which will open a conversation as to the success of the design, with one reviewer suggesting “Honda kept styling it long after it was done.”

 

Engine Choices

The Mazda3 is offered with a choice of two engines, a SKYACTIV-G 2.0L inline 4-cylinder (155 horsepower and 150 lb. ft. of torque) and a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L inline 4-cylinder (184 horsepower and 185 lb. ft. of torque). Gear changes are accomplished through one of two gearboxes, a SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual transmission, or a SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode, Drive Selection switch and paddle shifters.

Honda also offers two engine choices for the Civic. A 2.0L inline 4-cylinder (158 horsepower and 138 lb. ft. of torque) and a 1.5L Turbo inline 4-cylinder (174 horsepower and 162 lb. ft. of torque). A 6-speed manual transmission, and an automatic Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) are the gearbox options.

Interior

The Mazda3 will prove a pleasant place to spend time. The cabin is trimmed in quality materials that create an up-market feel. Easy to read gauges and thoughtfully placed controls face the driver. The front seats provide comfortable support, and will make a full day of driving a pleasure. The rear seats have been noted as being a bit tight, but may be best determined personally. The interior of the Mazda3 rivals that of cars in the luxury segment, and is considered a benchmark in the class.

Honda has given the new Civic a stylish and comfortable interior. The dash design is legible, but won’t be described as restrained. Overall interior room is generous, and the wide hatch provides up to 46 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded. The front seats are supportive, with all but the tallest drivers being comfortably accommodated. Rear seat passengers will appreciate the improved space provided, but will find the sloping roofline hinders access.

 

Driving

Be it a Mazda MX-5, or the new critically acclaimed CX-9, driving enjoyment is the company’s first consideration. With the introduction of G-Vectoring Control, the Mazda3 becomes the class leader in driving dynamics. By making small adjustments to engine output, which you’ll never notice, it becomes possible to place more weight over the front wheels, which provides sharper handling. A chassis this sophisticated and capable was once the realm of the premium German brands. That this degree of driving enjoyment is available within the small car segment is worth celebrating.

The Civic enjoys a deserved reputation for being a top choice in the category. The 2017 version will impress the faithful, and attract a number of new customers. The Civic is composed, and offers predictable handling. While every Mazda3 enjoys class-leading handling, the enthusiast who desires similar from a Civic will find themselves looking at brochures for the SI edition. This version of the Civic is far more involving, but it comes at a price. Drivers who prefer an automatic box will have to make do with the CVT, which isn’t likely to flood one’s system with endorphins.

 

Conclusion

Your bank manager will respect your decision to visit your local Mazda or Honda dealer. Bank managers prefer it when we spend our money wisely. Having passed over a few brightly coloured bills, you’ll be given the keys to an exceptionally good car in both shops. The decision as to which car you’ll purchase will be determined by expectations and driving style. Capable and pleasant, the Civic will impress those who are seeking the values it’s offered since its inception. While fuel economy, reliability and affordability interest potential Mazda3 owners, the car will appeal to those who place emphasis on their need for a car that offers large measures of driving enjoyment. Zoom Zoom indeed…