The Honda Civic’s title as the best-selling car in Canada may not be under threat. The all-new Mazda3 may be the Civic’s greatest new enemy, however.
We’ve written quite a bit on the new 2019 Mazda3 and the reason is simple: it has it all. Although many other manufacturers have put their best foot forward in the compact car segment, the 2019 Honda Civic remains on the throne.
For 21 years now Hyundai, Kia, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda have thrown their most valiant efforts at the Civic but this time around, the new Mazda3 may have the Honda cornered. Now, it won’t happen in 2019 and probably not in 2020 but we think the Civic’s massive lead over its competition will shrink is because of the new Toyota Corolla and the Mazda3.
Value is paramount in this segment and the base $17,790 2019 Honda Civic DX and $18,000 2019 Mazda3 GX have loads. The Honda Civic might be the best-seller but is it the more interesting between the two? Let’s take a quick look at how these two stack up against each other.
Honda provides the vast majority of its customers with the 158-horsepower and 138 lb.-ft. of torque 2.0-litre 4-cylinder. We say “majority” as only the Touring (with the exception of the Si) is entitled to the turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard for the DX and LX while a CVT is optional on the LX and standard for all others.
Mazda is slightly more generous powertrain-wise as the basic 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, which delivers 155-horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque is standard on the GX and GS. With the GS, a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission is offered. Driving enthusiasts have an alternative engine in the form of the more powerful 2.5-litre 4-cylinder as an option with the GS trim and as standard kit with the GT. It produces 186-horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque.
The catch at the $22,700 GS trim Mazda3 sedan is that if you prefer the automatic, you get the 2.5-litre by default. The $1,600 price increase however is a steal of a bargain. From here, the Mazda3 offers something that only Subaru and Volkswagen have so far tapped into and that’s making AWD an optional feature. The least expensive AWD Mazda3 is $26,000 and includes the automatic transmission and 2.5-litre engine.
When shopping in this segment, fuel economy is imperative. The Honda Civic, with the CVT, returns slightly lower average numbers. It will consume under just over 7L/100km while the FWD Mazda3, with the 2.5-litre and 6-speed automatic will average just over 7.5L/100km. The penalty for AWD is roughly another half-litre per 100km inching it over 8L/100km.
The 2019 Honda Civic and 2019 Mazda3 turn out to best excellent driving cars. Their platforms enable suspension tuning that leans towards comfort without sacrificing road holding abilities.
As in most segments where mid-range cars are typically volume leaders, we’ll concentrate on the $24,300 FWD 2.5-litre Mazda3 GS and the $24,290 Honda Civic EX. I think we can agree that price-wise, they are evenly matched.
The Mazda3 GX features 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate controls, an 8.8-inch screen, a 7-inch instrument cluster display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry with push-button start, and a heated steering wheel. We’d call this complete.
The Honda Civic EX throws in a moonroof, power driver seat, a remote starter but lacks the heated steering wheel and includes smaller displays. Value-wise, they are about even – it depends on your feature preferences.
Where safety equipment is concerned, both the Mazda and Honda include elements such as intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning assistance, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beam assist and road sign assist.
Our Thoughts On The 2019 Honda Civic And 2019 Mazda3
As we’ve stated, we doubt the Honda Civic will surrender its crown anytime soon. The name “Civic” carries with it an enviable reputation for reliability, low ownership costs, strong resale values and an overall positive experience. While current reliability may not be as bulletproof as it once was, the 2019 Civic remains one of the best overall.
The Mazda3’s reputation revolves more around driving pleasure and, unfortunately, rust. Mazda’s worked hard at making their superb 3 the best it can be, and we believe the all-new 2019 Mazda3 is exactly that.
There is no wrong answer here although based on exterior and interior looks and styling alone, we’d lean towards the Mazda.