2021 Honda Civic vs Mazda3
Looking for a small sedan with unparalleled performance? Then be sure to read our review of the 2021 Honda Civic and Mazda 3. With their impressive fuel economy, both vehicles are worthy contenders - but there can only be one winner in this big race. Keep reading until the end to find out which car we crown as king (or queen!) of its class!
The 2021 Honda Civic sedan and hatchback models remain largely unchanged from their previous iterations; however, the Si Coupe model has been dropped for a one-year period while undergoing an overhaul. The Type R Hatchback now features the Limited Edition trim with exclusive paint, lightened body weight, unique tires/wheels, altered suspension and steering for greater responsiveness as well as reduced sound deadening resulting in better performance thanks to special BBS wheels featuring high-performance tires tuned specifically for an aggressive driving experience.
The entire Civic line-up benefits from a spacious cabin, a versatile cargo area design, and an abundance of standard infotainment and safety features. However, some of the driver aids (predominantly forward collision warning) can be a little too intrusive, issuing warnings when none are needed. Adaptive cruise control has the opposite problem, being somewhat slow to respond. Also, the blind spot camera is trickier to use than the typical blind spot monitors that come on other vehicles.
The 2021 Mazda 3 is driving boldly into the new year with two exciting engine options. The base 2.0-L 4-cylinder presents 155 horsepower, while a dynamic turbocharged 2.5 - L offers an impressive 227 hp (250 on 93 octane) and 310 lb.-ft of torque for thrilling performance sans manual transmission option. Additionally, last year's middle player―a tried but true 2 .5 - L offering 186hp/186lb.-ft of torque ―remains in play to bring power and pizzazz alike to your drive experience.
Let's take a closer look at these vehicles' powertrains, as well as their drivability factors and safety ratings and features. After that, we will let you know whether the 2021 Honda Civic or 2021 Mazda 3 offers the best value and is the right buy for the average customer.
The 2021 Honda Civic offers the perfect balance of style and power. Underneath its sleek exterior, drivers will find two powerful engine options - a 2.0-L 4 cylinder that delivers 158 hp or an upgraded turbocharged 1.5-L variant with 174hp available for those who seek even higher performance levels. Both engines are paired to reliable CVT transmissions which provide smooth and consistent output while keeping fuel economy at optimal efficiency levels
The 2021 Mazda 3 offers drivers the choice of three powerful engine options, all equipped with 6-speed automatic transmissions. The base 2.0L 4-cylinder generates an impressive 155hp and 150 lbft of torque while providing great fuel economy. Moving up to the 2.5 S trim level provides drivers a boost in power from its larger 2.5L 4 cylinder that dishes out 186 hp and 188 lb ft of torque combined with excellent performance capabilities due to front wheel drive as standard or optional All Wheel Drive on select models like the new2 . 5T Turbo which completes this premium lineup by creating exhilarating moments behind the wheel through its turbocharged powerhouse delivering 236 hp along side AWD for an even more dynamic driving experience than ever before!
How do these vehicles feel on the road? As you've seen under the hood, each vehicle boasts impressive performance specs. But what happens behind the wheel is even more remarkable: from acceleration and braking to handling, cornering ability and ride comfort – it all comes together for a truly satisfying driving experience! The intuitive layout of controls further enhances this journey - pushing things beyond just mechanical excellence into an immersive environment that will leave drivers wanting nothing else in their increasingly connected lives.
Starting with the 2021 Honda Civic, you get superb fuel economy and swift acceleration from the optional turbo 1.5-L engine. Upgrading to the EX trim level is not terribly expensive, and the boost in power is sure noticeable. This engine can get the Civic from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds, which is one of the faster times in this segment. The brakes do a stellar job of modulating in everyday scenarios and bringing the vehicle to a panic stop. Precision is the name of the game with the Civic's steering and handling capabilities. With plenty of feedback and firmly planted wheels, rounding the Civic through quick, tight turns is easy and - dare we say it - fun.
If you have ever ridden inside of an Accord, then be prepared for a similar level of comfort in the Civic. The Civic's cabin is essentially a slightly smaller version of the Accord's. The impacts sustained from road imperfections are quickly smoothed out thanks to the well-tuned suspension. The ride remains comfortable and easy-going with well-padded seats up front and in the rear. The dual-zone automatic climate control system is effective at heating or cooling the vehicle and maintaining your set temperature. The cabin is also remarkably quiet until you drive it over really rough road surfaces.
The cabin itself is massive, and even the sloping roofline does not cut off that much head space for rear seat occupants. The rear doors have wide openings, making getting in and out pretty simple. Tall folks just need to duck down a little. All of the controls up front are easy to use and work just about as expected.
Get ready to become tech-savvy with the base LX and above trims - they are equipped with all of the features you need. Enjoy integration capabilities via Apple CarPlay™ & Android Auto™, a 7-inch touchscreen display, USB ports for device connectivity and an amazing 10-speaker sound system complete with easy to use Navi technology so that you can get where you're going without any hassle!
Getting up to 36 mpg combined, our 1.5-L turbo engine offers a truly impressive performance when it comes to fuel efficiency. In the city and on the highway you can benefit from 32/42 mpg respectively - those are supreme numbers that cannot be beaten by other non-hybrid small sedans!
Now, on to the 2021 Mazda 3. The Mazda 3's driving performance is all about balance and control. Steering and handling are equally strong on this vehicle, offering swiftness and precision in order to inspire driver confidence. The regular 2.5-L engine delivers a smooth amount of power. Its 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds is about industry-average though and certainly does not beat the Civic's 1.5-L turbo engine. The optional 2.5-L engine does much better, aligning itself with the 1.5-L turbo with a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds. The 2.5-L turbo has a good amount of initial thrust.
The Mazda 3 offers an invigorating ride quality, providing a sport-orientation for drivers seeking something with more pep. Despite the stiffer impact when driving on rougher roads, its suspension has been designed to maintain comfort and stability throughout your journey. Unfortunately, hard front head restraints may inhibit this experience along with an automatic climate control system that can struggle to provide efficient heating or cooling temperatures - becoming unsteady as it attempts to reach desired levels.
The front seats are not designed for taller individuals. Not only is there a shortage on leg room all throughout the cabin, the steering wheel does not telescope that far. Front seats occupants will need to slide their seats back, which cuts off even more leg room for those in the rear.
As far as tech goes, the infotainment system has an intuitively designed physical knob control, but the on-screen menus do not have touchscreen functionality. The learning curve is ultra short for most people, so at least the system is user-friendly. It just is not terribly high-tech. The sound system works well, and the 8.8-inch screen does give off clear graphics. Adding fully-functional touchscreen capabilities would bring the Mazda 3 more up-to-date though.
On the FWD models, the Mazda 3 gets about 30 mpg combined and, on the AWD models, 28 mpg combined. This is certainly nowhere near what Honda achieves on the Civic and falls behind the segment's average.
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As you might reasonably expect, both the Civic and Mazda 3 come with a ton of safety features. On the Honda Civic, you get the Honda Sensing suite of standard driver aids. These include forward collision warning, which warns you of impending frontal crashes and will apply the brakes if it detects you will not be able to do so in time. Lane departure mitigation warns you of when the vehicle starts to stray outside of the lane and will gently correct the vehicle back into the center of the lane. Adaptive cruise control will set a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of the Civic and adjust it accordingly. A blind-spot monitor comes on the EX trim level and above.
The 2021 Honda Civic is a leader in safety, having earned top ratings from both the NHTSA and IIHS. All tests administered by both organizations yielded five-star results or 'Good' marks--leaving drivers with peace of mind as they go about their daily journeys.
The 2021 Mazda 3 offers state-of-the art driver aids and generous upgrades to the already impressive list. Drivers can now benefit from forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a drowsy driver warning system plus Select Package options such as blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert for greater protection on the roads. If that's not enough confidence behind your wheel; Premium Plus allows you even more safety features including Traffic Jam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking so every journey will be safer than ever!
NHTSA has not yet rated the Mazda 3, but the IIHS assigned it numerous 'Good' marks on its tests.
Which Has the Best Value?
The 2021 Honda Civic is a standout choice when it comes to value. Its 1.5-L turbo engine, available on the EX trim level, combines affordability and peak performance in one package. In comparison with the Mazda 3's 2.5-L turbo engine option costing more than its competitor, those looking for better driving dynamics needn't spend additional money--the Civic already delivers there! Not only that but its cabin features both sophistication and versatility as well as an innovative infotainment system featuring full touchscreen functionality; truly giving you what you pay for -and then some!
Which is Better?
The 2021 Honda Civic triumphs over all of the competition, including the 2021 Mazda 3. Nothing else holds up against the Civic's superb fuel economy and range of configuration options. You can keep it casual or go a bit sporty - it is all up to you. But whatever you choose, you will get a vehicle that performs well above expectations. Small sedans and hatchbacks are not exactly thrilling to drive, but the Civic manages to make the experience rather enjoyable. If you can look past the driver aids sometimes being a bit obnoxious, then the Civic might just be the right vehicle for you.