The 2022 model Civic marks its all-new 11th generation.
The Mazda3 has fallen out of favour with buyers but it remains shockingly competent.
The Mazda3’s aspirations as a premium product may have inspired Honda to refine the Civic.
Despite being comfortably seated on the throne as the best-selling car in Canada and the second-best in the US, Honda will not sit on its laurels. The fact is that the only direction the Civic can go from where it is now is down. In order to remain at the top, it needs to deliver on expectations and surpass them too. Enter the new 2022 Honda Civic.
A few years ago, Mazda reinvented the Mazda3 with the intention to move it upscale. This approach involved refining everything about the compact car, from its styling both inside and out, adding more technology, and improving on the already impressive driving experience. Now, although Mazda achieved its lofty goals, the excellent small car is losing out to the competition and to its SUV brethren from across the showroom floor.
Although we won’t be able to say, for a little while, if Honda’s improved on the Civic’s refinement levels but, on paper at least, it should be a notch above the 10th generation car. The new Civic gets chassis upgrades, a high-rigidity body for both improved dynamics and NVH.
If we’re to believe Honda, the 2022 Civic will be the best-ever of its type. If you are in the market for a more “cosseting” small car, should you then wait for the Civic or head over to your local Mazda retailer? Let’s compare available specifications and see which, on paper at least, seems the more interesting
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
The 2021 Mazda3 sedan is priced from $20,650 in the US while in Canada, it starts at $20,600. The reversed pricing structure between countries is explained by the fact that a 6-speed manual is standard in Canada and not offered in the US.
Pricing for the all-new 2022 Honda Civic is not yet known. As the car is expected to arrive this summer, we assume the information is only a few weeks away. If we take 2021 model year Civic pricing, we’re guessing that the numbers will increase slightly for 2022. We estimate that the base price will hover between $24,000 and $24,500. In the US, $23,000 should resemble the car’s base price.
Which Has The More Efficient Powertrains?
The current Mazda3 offers the most complete selection of powertrains in the car’s history. Base 3s get the aforementioned 6-speed manual transmission mated to a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine good for 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is available. On average, this powertrain will return about 7.5L/100km in combined driving.
The optional naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine provides 186 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque sent to the front or all four wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. A turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder, with 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, powers all four wheels through the automatic transmission.
The 2022 Honda Civic will get carry-over engines from the previous 10th generation Civic. The base naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, which produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb.-ft. of torque, will power the first three trims in Canada (LX, EX, Sport). The range-topping Touring trim will receive a slightly updated turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine. Its output climbs to 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, from 174 and 162 respectively.
Both engines are fitted to an updated continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels. Fuel economy improves by up to 0.3L/100km or 6.9L/100km in combined driving.
Which is better equipped?
The 2021 Mazda3 GX sedan, in Canada, features a 7-inch IP display, an 8.8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and start, heated front seats, and numerous safety elements. They include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Higher trims gain a heated steering wheel, leather, navigation, premium audio, 18-inch alloy wheels, and much more.
As standard, the 2022 Honda Civic is fitted with heated front seats (Canada only), a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and numerous safety features such as Blind Spot information system, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and more.
Touring trims will get a 10.2-inch digital instrument display, a 9-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, a Bose audio system, and even more safety and driver-assisted technologies.
In this section, the Mazda3 leads the Civic when it comes that standard tech features however trails behind as far as standard safety features go.
What About Styling?
The Mazda3 is arguably the most elegant compact car in the segment. Its body panels are clean, unobstructed but loaded with character. The simplicity of the car’s design belies complex details held within each surface.
This truly premium approach is all the more evident within the Mazda’s cabin. Everything from fit, finish, materials, presentation, and interaction could be lifted from a luxury car.
The 2022 Civic seems to attempt to mimic this. Compared to the previous generation, the new Civic is toned down and far more graceful. The cleaner lines are more premium, with hints stemming from the current Accord and the new Acura TLX.
The Civic’s cabin is also far less adorned and busy than the old car. Functional sections are better integrated and clearly, Honda’s given up trying to stick out with unique touches.
The result of Honda’s efforts will be, we think, that the new 11th gen Civic will please even more potential buyers.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
The Mazda3, the successor to the Protegé and 323, started off as a key player in Mazda’s global lineup. In fact, it could be credited for keeping Mazda on shopping lists back in the mid-2000s. The situation is very different today where the 3 is on the receiving end of friendly fire from the CX-30, which should surpass it soon in sales, and seriously trails behind the CX-5. Even the CX-3 is closing on the compact car.
For the moment, it still represents about 1 in 6 new Mazda sales in Canada, but that rate will trend downward.
The Honda Civic is a brand for the Japanese automaker. Its title as the best-seller is a marketing plan handed to them on a silver platter. The fact that there are countless Civics in nearly all neighborhoods on the Continent certainly helps the car and the company’s image. It too will eventually lose more ground to SUVs but in the meantime, it is a crucial vehicle for Honda.
Our Thoughts On The 2022 Honda Civic And 2021 Mazda3
Obviously, we’ve not driven the new 2022 Civic but we can almost safely assume that it won’t be as refined as the Mazda3. In a strange way, it seems as though the Mazda3 has alienated its usual buyers because it’s no longer familiar to them. Don’t get us wrong: The Mazda3 is an incredible offering in the segment and, in our opinion, one of the most appealing on every level.
But, unlike Mazda3 owners, Honda Civic buyers are loyal so improving on the car’s weak points will only have them coming back for more.