Paul Maric from CarAdvice.com compares boot space, cabin design, drivability and safety between the Honda Civic VTi-LX & Mazda 3 Astina.
If you're thinking of buying a hatchback, the amount of boot space is really important, and Maric says there's "no compromising on space" when it comes to the Civic. It gets 410L of capacity where the Mazda gets 308L. So while both can carry full size luggage, you lose 100L in the Mazda. And you'll notice something else that's different about the Civic's boot. Some hatchbacks have a huge parcel shelf- Maric notes that Mazda's shelf is "ungainly"- that has to be removed when not in use. However, the Civic gets a "nifty feature" in that its parcel shelf simply slides out of the way for added convenience.
While you want all the best that your new hatchback has to offer, you should also be conscious of the experience your rear passengers will receive. While the Mazda allows more head room in the rear seats, Maric says the Civic wins in terms of rear leg space. Both offerings also provide rear beverage holders.
Maric praises the Civic on its tech-packed cabin. “When I say luxury I mean tech and gadgets to keep you nice and comfy during that traffic jam and this has them all. We're talking 7 inch infortainment, and this is a good unit- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, built in satellite navigation so you can basically mirror your smart phone onto the screen." The Civic VTi-LX also has heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, "stacks and stacks of storage" including a giant centre console, two USB ports, and "plenty of connectivty as well for that 12 speaker stereo with subwoofer."
On the Mazda, Maric thinks it's well equipped and luxurious. Like the Civic, it also gets heated front seats and dual zone climate control, but misses out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and thinks the infotainment "is a little confusing to use at times as well".
On fuel, both hatches consume 6.1L per 100km.
The Mazda gets a 2.5L naturally aspirated engine, which emits 138kW of power and 250Nm of torque. However "where the Mazda 3 is really is let down is by tire noise... it's still quite noisy here, even travelling at 70kms an hour it can be quite loud, then head out onto the highway on 100kms an hour and it's even louder still." But Maric says one of the great things about the Mazda 3 is the steering feel, saying "it's nice and gentle around the city." So how does the Civic compare?
There's no secret Honda uses a smaller engine- a 1.5L, that gives 127Kw and 220Nm but "it's got a turbocharger" and uses a continuously variable transmission which Maric thinks "really suits this engine. You can get right up it, and it delivers a really fun feel behind the wheel." While he also notes that steering "is a bit heavier in the Civic" he says "it's offset by an excellent ride" and that visibility out of the Civic is "fantastic".
If you have a hatchback on your shopping list, safety is really important because you'll spend a bit of time on busy streets, and Maric thinks the Mazda has great safety features such as autonomous emergency braking and also a rear cross traffic alert, added safety for when you're reversing.
Maric's favourite safety feature in the Civic is LaneWatch, which is Honda technology that uses a small camera in the passenger side mirror that streams blind spot traffic onto the infotainment screen, "incredibly handy in and around the city when you're going to be near cyclists and people that sneak up on the inside." The VTi-LX also get's Honda Sensing, an intelligent suite of driver assist technologies that includes AEB, LDA, LDW, RDM and ACC. You can read more about these features here.