2022 Honda Civic vs Mazda 3
Trying to decide on which small sedan to buy is not as tough of a task as it used to be. Since the segment has lost a lot of sway with buyers, only a few sedans are left to compete. Two of these sedans are the 2022 Honda Civic and the 2022 Mazda 3. And, let me tell you, these are both excellent choices.
But which one is the best fit for you? Which one holds the most value? The Civic and the Mazda 3 both have a lot going for them, including some agile driving capabilities and a slew of features that buyers will want to tinker around with. And, with the Honda Civic having just been redesigned for the 2022 model year, you can expect these vehicles to come off as being pretty contemporary.
Let's take a look at what each of these vehicles has to offer. That way, when you go to make your purchase, you can be confident in your final decision.
Let's start things off by talking about the powertrains on these two small sedans. You do get some good options here, but perhaps one might be better than the other. The 2022 Honda Civic offers a base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a power output of 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission comes matched up with it, but there is an available six-speed manual transmission for the hatchback Sport model. The EX/EX-L are powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts forth 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The line-topping Si trim level receives its power from an upgraded version of the turbo 1.5-liter engine (which produces 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque); this is matched to a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching downshifts.
The turbo engine is quite capable, accelerating from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.9 seconds. This makes it snappier than the average small sedan, and even though it is a tiny bit sluggish on the acceleration, the power builds up quickly and doesn't gasp for breath like the base 2.0-L engine tends to do. The CVT is well tuned to be responsive to inputs for power and deliver uninterrupted power to the wheels. Handling is sporty, taking turns with ease. Sure, the tires are noisy at higher rates of speed, but the brakes put in a stellar performance, and the tires themselves offer plenty of road grip. All in all, the Civic is fun and easy to drive.
Now, the Civic's fuel economy is decent enough. The EX is EPA rated for 36 miles per gallon combined while the Touring and its turbo engine slide in at 34 mpg combined. Most of the Civic's competitors get about 3-4 mpg less than this, and the Civic's EPA estimates hold up well in everyday, real-world testing.
What about the 2022 Mazda 3? How does it compare in terms of power? The base Mazda 3 2.0 trim level is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a power output of 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is paired to it, and it directs power solely to the front wheels. The 2.5 trim level upgrades you to a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5 Turbo swaps in a more powerful 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which gives the vehicle a power output of 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque on regular fuel or 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane gasoline. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard with this engine.
The Mazda 3's horsepower is above-average on any of its iterations, making the vehicle accelerate quickly. On the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, you can zip from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8.2- seconds. Want to go even faster? Buying the optional turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is even more spry, sprinting to 60 mph in a mere 6.1 seconds. The turbo engine brings a lot of refinement to the driving performance since it exhibits very little lag. There is plenty of thrust right off the line, so you don't need to floor it with all that power kept readily on tap. Steering and handling aren't exactly riveting, but they put in a solid performance for a daily driver.
Now, about that fuel economy. The AWD-equipped turbo engine is EPA-rated for 27 miles per gallon in combined driving. The FWD automatic base engine yields 29 mpg combined while that engine paired with the manual transmission knocks the number down to 27 mpg. These estimates are segment average, but real-world tests have placed the regular 2.5 model at about 32 mpg combined, which is quite good for a hatchback.
We use the term 'drivability' as an umbrella term to talk about how a vehicle rides, how comfortable it feels, how well the interior is designed, how functional its technology and driver aids are, and how versatile it is in terms of storage space. In addition to the powertrain, this helps us determine how much value a vehicle really holds.
That being said, the 2022 Honda Civic is a vehicle that is build around the concept of drivability. Its ride comfort is superb, as the suspension is tuned well for dispatching bumps of any size that it comes across. However, with it being a bit sport-oriented, it isn't quite as cushy as some of the other small sedans and hatchbacks out there. You get some cozy front seats, but they do not offer as many adjustments as some of those found in the Civic's competitors.
Up front, Honda has made some changes from the last generation. The new climate control layout makes much more sense, and the ventilation is powerful, heating or cooling the cabin quite quickly. Unfortunately, you will hear a fair amount of road noise regardless of which speed you are driving, although there is not a lot of other noise that makes its way into the cabin.
The interior itself is a touch more relaxed than it was in the previous generation, but it is still very much adorned with high quality materials. The cabin's design is certainly an attractive one, outshining many of the Civic's direct competitors. This cabin is also quite spacious fore and aft. Taller adults can easily fit up front, and the average adult should not have any real problems with fitting into the back seat. Head-space is generous enough, and leg room in the rear is expansive for this segment.
You get quite a lot of outward visibility with the slender roof pillars and door-mounted side mirrors not taking away from your view behind the steering wheel. While the rear window is kind of small, although the standard multi-angle rear-view camera helps a lot with visibility.
Technology is a highlight on the Honda Civic as it is considerably more user-friendly than some other in-vehicle tech. The infotainment touchscreen display has some intuitive controls and is able to rapidly respond to the inputs you give it. The optional integrated navigation system has somewhat outdated graphics, but the optional 9-inch touchscreen display has clear graphics. Upgrading to the Touring trim level will get you wireless smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but you are still able to use the USB cord if you'd like.
Storage is generous in the cargo area with 14.8 cubic feet available. The trunk's hinges and the wheel wells are noninvasive, which lends to the vastness of usable space. Bulky items can fit into this trunk without much issue. Unfortunately, the pass-through isn't all that big. Also, the former Civic generation had a ton of clever small item storage areas inside of the cabin, but the new Civic reverts back to the more traditional set-up. It feels like Honda took a step in the wrong direction here, although the center bin at least offers enough space.
The 2022 Mazda 3 doesn't skimp on comfort. The cabin is mostly tranquil save for some engine noise while moderately or heavily accelerating. It isn't anything annoying, and the transmission's gentle thrum sounds pleasing. Road and wind noise are kept to a bare minimum. There are bumps that do make their way into the cabin, but the suspension will smooth things out after the initial shock and keep passengers comfortable enough. And, quite frankly, using the climate control system is so easy that you just turn it on and go.
The Mazda 3's cabin might seem simplistic, but it is also quite practical and user-oriented. You should not have any trouble locating and learning all of the controls along the dash, and you get a clear view in the front the vehicle from your position in the driver's seat. What you might not like, though, is that rear visibility is hindered by a small window and thick roof pillars. Backing up is tough because of the massive blind spots that are created. Also, the rear seat is a tighter fit than what you get in the Civic.
The tech interface is controlled via a rotary dial as opposed to a touchscreen. With a little practice, you get used to it. It just makes the interface feel a little outdated. You get standard remote vehicle monitoring and control through a smartphone app, an 8.8-inch infotainment display, and an eight-speaker audio system. You will have to upgrade to the Mazda 3 2.5 S in order to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Opting for the Premium package on the 2.5 S might be desirable to you since it includes the onboard navigation system and a superb 12-speaker Bose audio system (which you can also get on the Carbon Edition package).
In terms of safety, both Honda and Mazda are pretty well equipped with features to help keep you and your occupants secure. Each of the 2022 Honda Civic trim levels comes equipped with a bundle of driver aids. These driver aids are forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, a traffic sign reader, automatic high beams, and a driver attention monitor. Upgrading to the EX/EX-L will get you a blind spot monitor, and the Touring/Sport Touring give you parking sensors for the front and rear of the vehicle, a rear cross-traffic alert, and low-speed automatic braking. The line-topping Si trim level tops it all off with a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
The 2022 Mazda 3 has its own bundle of standard driver aids. This suite includes a drowsy driver monitor, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlights, and lane keep assist. The Premium Package includes adaptive headlights and a head-up display while the Premium Plus - which only exists as an option for the 2.5 Turbo - outfits the vehicle with front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming driver's side mirror, integrated navigation, a surround-view camera system, and Traffic Jam Assist.
Which Has the Best Value?
Value is something you will want to consider when choosing which vehicle to buy. The 2022 Honda Civic is priced above a few of its competitors, but its fuel efficiency ratings, interior design, better driving performance, and added features make this vehicle an attractive deal. Going up to the mid-tier EX trim level gives you a lot of nice upgrades and keeps the vehicle to a reasonable price point.
The 2022 Mazda 3 isn't exactly lacking value though. This stylish little number has a lot of premium features and a design that oozes quality materials. Warranties are industry standard, and the cost of ownership and fuel economy are all fairly average. However, if you get the line-topping 2.5 S Turbo with AWD and equip the Premium Plus package, you are getting into luxury price tag territory - and that might not be justifiable for the average buyer.
Which is Better?
Both the 2022 Honda Civic and 2022 Mazda 3 are excellent vehicles. They pack in a lot of power, comfort, and creature comforts. Driver aids and technology abound on both, but the Honda Civic makes more things - such as smartphone app integration - standard across the board. For that reason, we think that the Civic is the better option of the two, especially if your focus is on value.