2018 Mazda3 vs 2018 Honda Civic

You’d be hard-pressed to find two other compact cars that combine sporty driving dynamics, flashy good looks, and plenty of versatility. It’s no surprise the Mazda3 and Honda Civic are among the critics’ favorites.

The Mazda3 and Civic both feature an upscale interior, offer ample passenger space, and come in hatchback configurations with extra room for cargo. They also boast impressive safety scores and return exceptional fuel economy.

Styling

The Civic’s exterior design is a mix of eye-pleasing details and eyebrow-raising exuberance. You may or may not love the appearance of the Civic, but it’s hard to find anything offensive about its styling.

Honda Civics slip easily into similar-size (and tight) parking spots, yet they also manage to provide enough room inside for four adults. Despite its smaller exterior dimensions, the Civic’s rear legroom is among the most generous in the class.

The styling of the 2018 Mazda3 mirrors that of the 2017. Mazda’s entire lineup is handsome, and the revisions made to the Mazda3 for 2017 brought additional crispness to its taut, athletic lines, which look particularly fetching on the profile of the hatchback. With many of its competitors either overstyled or downright boring to behold, the Mazda3 strikes a beautiful balance of aesthetics that lend it greater street presence than most small cars.

Driving

A true jack-of-all-trades, the Civic strikes a near perfect balance between comfort and driver engagement. Its smooth ride, responsive steering, and athletic chassis dynamics make it a joy to pilot in any driving situation. The Civic’s four-cylinder engines are peppy, with the pricier—but more powerful—turbocharged unit earning our preference.

Honda has provided all the Civic models with well-balanced chassis and potent powertrains that perfectly fit their purposes. Those components carry over unchanged on the everyman’s Civic for 2018.

The Mazda3’s chassis tuning provides an unexpected and enjoyable driving experience in this market segment. Automotive journalists describe the car’s road manners as “Playful,” “responsive,” “sporty,” and “enthusiast friendly.” Mazda doesn’t just win awards for their vehicles. Mazda received AJAC’s 2017 Best New Innovation Technology award for the introduction of G-Vectoring Control (GVC). This ingenious system electronically reduces engine output when turning. So subtle as to be unnoticeable, it improves tire loading to enhance the car’s ability to turn.

Engaging performance, entertaining handling, and a cabin that has been noted as being “near luxury” in its refinement, all combine to create an experience that will please the enthusiastic driver. Spending time with a Mazda3 quickly proves driving enjoyment isn’t limited to those who are willing to pay a higher admission price.

Interior

Practical and modern in appearance, the Civic’s interior is roomy and offers sufficient storage space. Even the base Civic LX is far from a penalty box. Upper-dashboard plastics are of the soft-touch variety, and convenience items such as automatic climate control and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls are all standard.

The 2018 Mazda3 might have the nicest cabin of any compact car. It looks stylish without feeling busy. The materials quality is excellent, and that extends to the user-friendly infotainment system. The seats are comfortable and the hatchback offers plenty of trunk space.

Engine Choice

The Civic has plenty of get-up-and-go. Even if you stick with the base naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, you will not be disappointed. Still, the turbocharged four-cylinder is worth a look. It provides even better acceleration for a more enjoyable drive. If that isn’t enough for you, each body style has a performance-oriented model. For those looking for a sporty ride, there’s the 205-horsepower Si sedan and Si coupe, and the Type R Civic hatchback ups the ante with 306 horsepower.

The Mazda3 is offered with the choice between two engines. A SKYACTIV-G 2.0 L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine (155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 150 lb. ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm,) or alternatively a SKYACTIV-G 2.5 L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder (184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm 185 lb. ft. of torque @ 3,250 rpm). A 6-speed SKYACTIV-manual gearbox or a 6-speed SKYACTIV -automatic transmission is available with each engine. These engines provide smooth and effortless performance while returning surprising fuel economy.

Conclusion

As a perennial winner of industry awards, and enjoying long-standing as a “Best Buy” in consumer guide magazines, the Mazda3 is a car that needs to be on the short list of anyone thinking of purchasing a new car. Why not find out for yourself at Pacific Mazda? Test drive one today to feel the exhilaration of driving a Mazda.