Honda Civic vs. Mazda Mazda3

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - August 23, 2021

While some automakers are ditching the compact segment for SUVs, others are doubling down and making their vehicles better. For the 2022 model year, Honda has come out with an all-new Civic. The 11th-gen Civic arrives with an updated design, new tech features, and improved performance. The Civic has always been one of the more popular choices in the compact segment and the full redesign should make the nameplate even more popular.

Compact vehicles have always been known for their affordability and value, but the Mazda3 brings luxury to the segment. Featuring a high-end design, impressive tech features, and dazzling performance, the Mazda3 feels like a luxury vehicle. It’s also available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, which isn’t as common as it once was.

If you’re shopping for a compact car, which vehicle is the better option? That’s what we’ll answer in this comparison.

What the Honda Civic Gets Right

The all-new Civic is larger than before. On the inside, the sedan has up to 99 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than the Mazda3 sedan’s interior passenger space of up to 92.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The extra space results in more front headroom, front shoulder room, rear legroom, and rear shoulder room. In the back, the Civic offers 2.3 more inches of rear legroom than the Mazda3. Additionally, the Civic sedan has more trunk space than the Mazda3 sedan with 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space compared to 13.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

On the performance front, the Civic comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower. The engine is slightly more powerful than the Mazda3’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 155 hp. Additionally, the Civic gets better fuel economy figures than the Mazda3 with a combined rating of 36 mpg combined compared to 31 mpg combined.

Honda offers some impressive optional tech features on the Civic. The sedan is available with a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, a 9-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone compatibility, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. These are impressive tech features for a compact vehicle.

Read Our Overview of the Honda Civic

What the Mazda Mazda3 Gets Right

Honda hasn’t released any information on the new Civic Type R yet. If we ignore that high-performance vehicle, since that’s in a different league and price bracket than anything that Mazda offers, the Mazda3 is the winner when it comes to performance. The available turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces up to 250 hp on premium fuel. The available turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder in the Civic generates up to 180 hp.

Unlike the Mazda3, the Civic is only available with front-wheel drive. Mazda offers an all-wheel-drive system on both the sedan and hatchback body styles. For consumers that live in climates that get inclement weather, the Mazda3 is the better choice, offering better all-weather capability.

Since Honda hasn’t updated the Civic Hatchback for the new model year yet, the Mazda3 Hatchback is a much better choice. The Mazda3 hatchback comes with an 8.8-inch display, which is much larger than the Civic Hatchback’s 5-inch unit. Mazda’s standard unit also comes with an HD Radio, two USB ports, and voice command, which aren’t standard with Honda’s infotainment system.

Read Our Overview of the Mazda Mazda3

Sedan or Hatchback?

While Honda came out with an all-new Civic sedan for 2022, we’re still waiting for the hatchback. If you’re looking to get a hatchback, the Mazda3 is the better choice. It’s more luxurious, more high-tech, and more powerful than the Civic Hatchback. If Honda came out with an updated hatchback at the same time as the sedan, this would be a straightforward win, but since it didn’t, it left the door open for Mazda to have a better product.

Our Verdict

As long as you stick with the all-new sedan, the Honda Civic is the better option. It has more space than the Mazda3, more high-tech features, and better fuel economy figures. While the Mazda3 is more powerful, more upscale, and more enjoyable to drive than the Civic, it continues to appeal to consumers seeking a luxurious experience.

Compare Side-By-Side: Honda Civic vs. Mazda Mazda3 »

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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