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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I am new to this forum and would appreciate some help! I am going to be purchasing a car in the next little while. It is replacing a Mazda protege, which in all honesty was an unsafe car. It had no control in the winter, and wasn't very good even in the summer. There is snow where I'm from (CAN) and so this would be an issue. I also need this car to drive long distances on the highway (50 mile/80km) drives fairly regularly. So while I would like an SUV, they are too expensive for me as well as bad for the environment, and uses too much gas. Would someone please like to review the car or compare to the civic for me in terms of safety, reliability, and space in the car?

Thanks so much!
 

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Edmunds.com said:
Despite being a rivalry which will be fought at dealerships, this test climaxed first at the track where the Mazda 3 simply stomped the Civic in any test that involved moving. All the instrumented tests fell heavily in favor of the sharper, stiffer, more powerful Mazda. Article

The Mazda 3 also has DSC/EBD in the higher models that should help in the snow, the Civic does not. If you would like AWD in a smaller vehicle, the Suzuki SX4 should be a strong contender, cheaper than the Civic and 3 with standard AWD, though with only a 2.0l and quite a heavy vehicle will make it slower than the 3 and Civic. The CR-V is also not too far away from the pricing of the better equipped Civics and 3's.

If you really want an SUV or AWD, Look into them. If you want a safe, sporty, fun to drive vehicle, you can't go wrong with the 3.
 

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I like the Mazda 3 over the Civic (even the Si) and I originally was a devout Honda follower. But I would recommend, because of those Canada winters, why not try a 2.5 Subaru Impreza. I admit that when I test drove one of these I was less than impressed but that was basically due to styling of the exterior and interior but it comes with AWD which is nice in the snow.
 

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ford 500.
 

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I really don't understand why peaople think that SUV's and cars with AWD are safer in winter. They help in going thru the snow or accelerating, but when it comes to stopping AWD systems are useless. Also the heavier the car, the harder it is to stop because it has more inertia.
If you really want a safe car for winter get one with ABS and traction control, and don't forget to put winter tires on, they make a huge difference.
 

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True about the AWD and braking. However braking in snow is a problem for any vehicle with poorly equipped tires or drivers who just can't drive in the snow. I doubt that the OP has that problem.
 

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I've driven most and the 3 is a more driver-oriented vehicle than the Civic. Plus it looks so much better both inside and out. Space and quality is probably the same, maybe edging toward the Civic on both accounts.

It depends on what you think when you drive each. The 3 has a stiffer suspension, more accurate steering and feels more powerful, all which make it more fun to drive. In that case, it has a slightly stiffer ride and will be noiser with the engine revving higher than the Civic on the highway. But these are insignificant since the drivability of the car overcomes the negatives.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the replies!

The subaru looks nice, but is out of my price range for the options. Yes, AWD is not for stopping but it does help moving around on the streets here with a few inches of snow and slush. From what I'm hearing the mazda is more powerful, but the civic is better on fuel? How many km/miles is an average tank for you? or L/100km or mpg?

Thanks
 

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As far as the Civic quality it sucked on my 06 coupe 5MT. I had problems with paint chips like every other day. I is a pain in the ass getting the right look to metallic silver so it matches in the chips. The interior there was a lot to be desired when it came to quality. The plastic on my doors was so soft you could leave marks with you fingernails. I used the car to move a box in the back seat and the box corner caught the plastic headline and left a permanent scuff in it. The standard floor mats were foamed backed which was wearing out after 6 months from my foot resting on it while not on the clutch. The passenger seat also had a creaking sound while going over bumps. I did love the styling of the car and how it drove. Another thing is it held it resale value really well even after I got into a small accident and had scratches on the bumper and the hood needed to be replaced and painted the Mazda dealer gave me 16 for it that I got the car for 19 after tax and title. That was after almost a year of driving and 8000 miles on the car I couldn’t ask for more.

With the Civic I was getting 34mpg mixed driving on regular. Which would get me near 400 a tank. I have a MS3 now I get about 25mpg driving to the same place.
 

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Just test drive both. Once you do you'll see why we all got the Mazda3 instead.
 

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If you are after good gas mileage, the Civic is the best, but a Mazda 3i in 5MT should be pretty close to what you would get in a Civic but more HP / torque.
 

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Like others said: Drive them both and that will help you decide. If fuel economy is a concern test drive a 3i, which in conterary with 2.3 owners is not "cheap version", I'd say its not as flashy but not cheaply made, the interion is almost exactly the same except guages and painted trim. the quality is in par with Civic.

Bottom line is test drive all the cars that you consider to buy, this is a mazda forum, so obviously peaople will recommend Mazda (and not without a reason).
 

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another note, if your car sucks in the winter with no control.. no offense but you probably should look into new, better tires.

the new tires that come on your mazda wont be good in the winter as some of us have found out the hard way.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I will be test driving probably this weekend or next, but I hoped to get real world opinions on the quality of the car and the drive rather than dealer 'its perfect' bs.

How about maintenance/repairs? Is the car falling apart or holding together well?
 

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I've got almost 55,000 miles on my 3, and it's holding together quite nicely! Maintenance is not unusual - oil changes every 5,000 miles, and I'm averaging about 30mpg with "spirited" mixed city/highway driving. Some of our members with Mazda3 i's have hit 40mpg... so the potential is certainly there.

To the original poster (OP), I had a 2000 Protege for 5 years (132,000 miles) before my 3. Never once did I get the impression that it was unsafe. That car handled better than anything else on the road for the price point.
 
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