Both of these compacts are available as a sedan or hatchback, but only the Civic is available as a coupe.
The Honda Civic and the Mazda3 often come up as two of the most fun-to-drive cars in affordable compacts. Enthusiasts love these cars, not because of their raw power or straight-line speed, but because of their engaging handling and lively engines that make every drive a pleasure whether it’s a spirited canyon drive or just commuting to work.
The Mazda3 is all-new for 2019 and the Civic gets a slight face-lift this year, so let’s see how these compact cars compare in 2019.
The new Mazda3 adopts the new Mazda design language that’s been spreading through the brand. We already knew this aesthetic looked great on SUVs and now we know it also looks great on a compact sedan and hatchback. It has a bit of a premium look that just might make people think you spent more on your car than you really did. See the 2019 Mazda3 models for sale near you
The exterior of the Civic is slightly refreshed for 2019, but the untrained eye probably won’t even notice. It continues to be a sharp-looking car in all three of its body styles: sedan, hatchback and coupe. We wouldn’t say one of these cars looks worse than the other, but if you’re going for a premium look on a budget, you’ll probably prefer the look of the Mazda over the Honda. See the 2019 Honda Civic models for sale near you
The new Mazda3’s classy look continues on the inside with elegant interior design. The infotainment screen is perched on the dash like a wide tablet and the climate controls are neatly placed in the minimalist center stack. The Mazda uses nice materials, especially in the higher trims.
The interior of the Civic is a little more traditional with the infotainment system integrated into the center stack. Its gauge cluster is more tech-forward and more digital compared to the more analog display in the Mazda. One advantage of the Civic is a roomier interior, particularly in the back seat, which is a little cramped in the Mazda3. This is an important thing to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a family car.
Mazda has announced that there are multiple new engines on the way for its freshly redesigned compact, but as of this writing, there’s only one available. The Civic has two engines available and we’re not counting the ones in the Civic Si or Civic Type R since those are technically different models and don’t really have a Mazda equivalent.
2019 Honda Civic Engines
2.0-liter inline-four; 158 horsepower, 138 lb-ft of torque; 30 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four; 174 hp, 167 lb-ft of torque; 32 mpg city/42 mpg hwy
2019 Mazda3 Engines
2.5-liter inline-four; 186 hp, 186 lb-ft of torque; up to 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy
The sole engine in the Mazda3 beats both engines in the Civic on performance, but also trails both of them in fuel economy. The Mazda is pretty efficient, but the Civic is even more efficient. We especially like the blend of performance and efficiency offered in the available turbocharged engine in the Civic, which is a delight to drive and returns excellent fuel economy.
A new perk of the Mazda3 is available all-wheel drive, which you can’t get in the Civic. This is a big deal if you want the extra traction that AWD offers, which is really nice to have when the roads get nasty, especially if you live in a snowy climate.
What you get with standard tech in the Mazda3 depends on the body style you choose. Safety tech like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and driver attention monitoring all come standard in the hatchback, but are optional in the sedan. However, both styles get a great 8.8-in infotainment system controlled with a rotary knob as standard equipment. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on every model except the base sedan.
The Honda Civic is very generous with standard safety tech. Every 2019 Civic comes standard with Honda Sensing, which gives you automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. The standard infotainment system is a 5-in unit, which is a bit dated, but every Civic except the base model gets a nicer 7-in touchscreen that comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Civic is a little more affordable than the 2019 Mazda3 at the base level, but the pricing is pretty similar when you get into the higher trims of these cars with similar equipment. The Civic has a starting MSRP of $19,450 and the Mazda3 starts at $21,000. Adding AWD to the Mazda is a $1,400 upgrade. The higher trims of both of these compacts can bring them up to around the $30k mark adding luxurious features like premium audio, leather seats, navigation and more.
The Civic and the Mazda3 are both so good that picking which one is right for you really comes down to personal preference. They’re both fun to drive, good on gas, technologically modern, and similarly priced, making them two of the best compact cars available today. There are a few things that distinguish the two cars like available AWD in the Mazda and a coupe option for the Civic, but other than that, they’re very evenly matched. Find a Honda Civic for sale or Find a Mazda3 for sale