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2017 Mazda3 grand touring or Honda EX-L? Educated opinions please!

Hi, I’m going to be buying my 1st brand new car ever. I have had a 2008 Mazda3 for the past 7 years, its been a great car. I test drove a 2017 Mazda3 grand touring and thought that was what I wanted.
Then I drove the Honda civic EX-L . It was more roomy, the seats were more comfortable to me. I liked it better than I thought I would.
Not to mention its about 3k cheaper! But I’ve checked into maintenence and insurance those would cost a little more.
Whatever car I buy, I want it to last. I plan on keeping it as long as I can. So reliability it most important to me.
I can’t seem to find any informed unbiased opinions or advice!
Help please!

And you won’t. Even vehicle testers have their bias opinions. Just buy what makes you feel good, modern vehicles don’t need much maintenance any way. As for planning for 10 year ownership who knows what can happen in that amount of time.

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Both are great cars. I’d buy the one I liked.


It sounds like you are on top of this OP. Good job. Concur with the above posts, either would be a good choice. One poster here has also commented that they find the M3 a little uncomfortable on their back. Not sure if it was the seats or the suspension. But since you also find the M3 uncomfortable too, I’d suggest you focus on the Honda.

Consumer Reports New Car Guide will provide the expected reliability ratings, and what the actual reliability has been on prior model versions. Suggest you take a stroll to the local bookstore or library one evening take a look at that book. I seem to recall we’ve heard some complaints here about Honda & Acura automatic transmissions, so check to see what Consumer Reports says about the automatics, and you might want to use the forum search feature here to check what others say about that too.

If you want to increase your odds of a reliable car, try buy the most basic version you can, with the fewest electronic gizmos and gadgets. Avoid power door locks, electronic keys, and power windows if you can. It may not be possible, that all may come as standard equipment now. But if you can avoid it, really now, how hard is it to open the door with a key or roll up a window with a hand crank anyway? Of course if you need those features, get them, but be prepared to sacrifice a little reliability. And choose a model with a standard shift (not cvs) manual transmission. I mean as long as you don’t object to driving a manual. Manual transmission problems are seldom reported here, while automatics get quite a few complaints often requiring expensive repairs. Not just Honda automatics, but in general.

AC problems are probably second in line of complaints about expensive to repair problems here, so if you could eliminate that feature ( if you don’t need it), doing that would improve your odds for reliability too. But I doubt you’ll be able to purchase either of those two cars without AC included as standard equipment these days.

hmm … what else? If you can avoid a turbo engine, that’s probably a good thing reliability wise. And some owners here seem to complain about the expense to replace timing belts, and prefer timing chains ( part of the engine design). Me, I wouldn’t care one way or the other on that one. Timing chains indeed require replacement less frequently than belts, but when they do, it is often quite a bit more expensive than replacing a timing belt. So timing belt vs chain, to me its a wash.

Give up George, very few people want a vehicle like that is why there are so few on the market.


You can’t avoid power locks and power windows, but you can avoid turbos, low profile tires, and complicated dash systems.

I’ve never owned one, but I suspect the semi-automatic driving systems are not the most reliable systems. I just read about a system (very high end) that will automatically change lanes for you… wow, what a chance for accidents.

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All of these answers are why I’m thinking the Mazda is the better choice even if the seat feels like I’m sitting in my 2008. Lol
Thank you!

If I read this correctly you don’t care much for the seats. Just think how you will feel a few months from now. These are not the only two brands on the market, I say look at other things until that little voice in the back of your head says this is what we want.

I see lots more Hondas than Mazdas here in Duluth, MN and environs. Seems to me old Mazdas show a lot more rust than old Hondas do.

that is probably true anywhere.

If you yourself were educated you’d realize that “Unbiased opinion” is an oxymoron.

Opinions are far more complicated than imaginable. They take all of an individual’s experience, knowledge, as well as all of his/her parents’ experiences and knowledge, and all his/her friends’ experience and knowledge, mash them all up and filter them through the individual’s DNA-innate propensity to be aggressive, passive, or somewhere in between (we’re ALL somewhere in between!), and out comes an opinion. And then tomorrow something may happen to change it.

My suggestion? Get a Consumer Reports New Car Preview, identify those makes & models with the better reliability records (I believe CR to be, while not perfect, the best aggregate of data available), and test drive the ones that look good to you.

Although I may ne be a good source. I’m steeped in engineering and physics, and that has made me highly biased. Or perhaps it’s been my parents, my military experience, or my big brother that has made me extremely biased. Perhaps my opinion on why I’m biased is biased.

In summary, if you’re looking for an unbiased opinion, you’re looking on the wrong planet. Possibly in the wrong universe.


The seat in the Mazda 3 GT is highly adjustable, including a lumbar support. Properly adjusted, I find the Mazda seats to be extremely comfortable on very long rides. Plus the sporty Mazdas have better seat bolsters for keeping you in place during Zoom-Zoom driving. The Mazda3 has a normally aspirated engine that does not need premium fuel, and a transmission that is NOT a CVT. Both of those are big positives in my book. My experience with the new SkyActiv Mazdas are that they are very reliable. But the Civic is a great car too so buy what you like and you won’t go wrong.

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Not the choice I expected or would have made but it is your money and your back. For me a great drivers seat and ergonomics trump everything else, thet is why I bought Chrysler products for 50 years. That, and they stopped making Studebakers, Hudsons and Packards :slight_smile:


I don’t know about either one. I think it would be hard to beat Honda for reliability but not if it has the CVT transmission. So I agree buy what you like but I’d think about that seat comfort, twice. I don’t think you need to keep the car forever. Why? You can trade again in four years or so, so buy what feels best to your or has the better dealer and don’t look back.

Years ago our new fleet manager started buying cars with air conditioning, white walls, power windows, etc. People were aghast at the waste of money. When I asked him why, he said resale. No one wants cars without these features and they bring much higher prices when sold again after 4 years or 70,000 miles. He was right. Forget a stripped down car.

Well I’m partial to Mazda uncomfortable seats and all because in my BIASED opinion they are the better car. Honda used to be. I believe that’s changed in the last couple years. I guess only time will tell.
As far as rust goes… My 10 year old Mazda has one pencil eraser sized rust spot on the back fender… Not bad for living on the beach of Washington state. I’ve taken excellent care of my car though.
But I’m just a girl that’s on top of her maintenence and have never bought a brand new car at 42!
I like the Honda and was hoping for an informed opinion that made sense to me that would change my mind. Hah
So far engineers and all, no one has done that. :wink:

See if you can rent a Mazda3 grand touring and a Honda civic EX-L the next couple of times you’ll be doing some extended driving. (from a rental agency or car dealer)The money spent will be worth it if it helps with your decision.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to explain your situation to a couple of salespeople at Mazda and Honda dealers and see if they have, and would be willing to, let you try the vehicles out in an “extended test-drive.”

Tell them If they accept the challenge it could lead to a sale for them and a new customer :wink: This could also be a chance to test out dealers for “user-friendliness.”

Where I live, I’ve been able to test vehicles and take them home over-night. Then I have time to use the Owner’s Manual and leisurely explore features of the vehicle.


Is this basic enough?


Both cars are reliable, in my opinion. What makes a car reliable is YOU. Do the maintenance and fluid changes as per the manual and either car will last a long time.


According to Edmunds, the first 5 years of maintenance will cost $3715 for the Civic vs $4187 for the Mazda3. That is almost a 10% difference.

Seats are important. You will spend all of your driving time in that seat. I think it’s interesting you mentioned the seats were uncomfortable. When my SO was car shopping a few years back, she almost bought a Mazda 3, but rejected it because of the seats.

Mazda is not a better carmaker than Honda. I’d put them as roughly in the same boat as far as overall quality goes. You won’t go wrong getting either car. If you find the Honda to be more comfortable, more roomy, and cheaper to boot, then that would seem the obvious choice to me, but only you can make the call.

You might also consider test driving more than just two cars. This is a big purchase - why eliminate everything but 2 of them?

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