In today’s edition of Face Off Friday we’re putting two sedans that compete in their segment head to head to see how the underdog of the compact sedans, the Mazda3, stacks up to the forever popular Honda Civic.

To start, let’s take a look at the available variants and what each brings to the table. While Honda offers three versions of its Civic sedan, Mazda provides buyers with five. Here are the highlights from each:

Civic LX (Starting at $18,390) :

  • Powered by a 143hp 1.8-liter 16-Valve SOHC i-VTECH 4-Cylinder Engine.
  • Manual Transmission is standard, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) available
  • MGP 30/39 City/Hwy (CVT Transmission)
  • 15-inch wheels with full covers
  • i-MID with 5-inch LCD screen with customizable feature settings
  • Rearview camera with guidelines
  • Bluetooth/SMS/Pandora Compatibility/Bluetooth streaming audio/USB
  • Illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio, cruise, phone and i-MID controls
  • Security System, remote entry and trunk release

Search local Honda Civic listings

Mazda3 iSV (Starting at $18,445):

  • Powered by a 155hp Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
  • Manual or Automatic transmission (neither is considered standard)
  • MPG 30/41 City/Hwy (Skyactiv Automatic Transmission)
  • 16-inch steel wheels with full covers
  • AM/FM/CD/MP3/Aux/USB
  • Manual transmission comes standard with steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • Remote keyless entry
  • MPG 30/41 City/HWY
  • Hallogen Headlights

Search local Mazda3 listings

The base models seem to stack up fairly well, and really seem to come down to what your priority is. Each will give you the bang for your buck your looking for, but if technology is your focus then the Civic would certainly be your pick, but if you prefer power, and a few aesthetic upgrades you’re going to get that from the Mazda. Now we’ll compare the mid-level variant. For Mazda, we skipped straight to the iGrand Touring. While the iSport and iTouring do add in some upgraded features, the iGrand Touring sees the most change and offers the most comparable price point.

Civic EX (Starting at $21,090) Adds:

  • Continuously Variable Transmission as standard
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic Climate Control
  • 7-inch high resolution touch-screen audio display with guidelines added to the rear view camera and customizable feature settings
  • Honda LaneWatch
  • Push Button Start
  • 6-speaker system (over 4-speaker in the LX)
  • HondaLink Next Generation
  • Display Audio Interface/USB Interface
  • One-Touch power moonroof with tilt
  • Hallogen Headlights (automatic on/off)

Mazda3 iGrandTouring (Starting at $22,745):

  • Power sliding-glass moonroof with one-touch open feature and interior sunshade
  • Heated side mirrors
  • 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Mazda Connect Infotainment system with 7-inch full color touch screen
  • Rearview Camera
  • Mazda navigation
  • Bose 9 speaker surround sound/Pandora/Stitcher/Aha/SiriusXM/SMS
  • Blind Spot Monitoring

In this section, Mazda’s price tag is slightly higher, but brings in all the technology it was lacking in the first match-up and then some over the Civic, with the standard navigation. More visual upgrades and a better sound system round out the edge-up Mazda has over the Civic at this point. Next up is what the top of the line variants bring to the table.

Civic EX-L (with navigation $24,240):

  •  17-inch alloy wheels
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-trimmed seats
  • Fog lights/heated power side mirrors/expand view driver’s mirror
  • Illuminated steering wheel mounted controls, including navigation
  • Honda Satellite linked navigation system with high resolution display and Honda HD digital traffic
  • HD and XM radio

Mazda sGrand Touring (starting at $25,995):

  • 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G DOHC 4-cylinder making 184hp
  • 6 speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with sport function
  • Bi-Xenon high intensity discharge headlights
  • Hallogen fog lights
  • 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
  • Dual-Zone automatic climate control

Even after just listing the highlights you can see that both these cars are an awesome value, and up through the last price point each offers more of something different. In the end, the Mazda3 still appears to offer up the most, with navigation standard on the mid-level model, a very quick engine on the top end, and it pays greater attention to aesthetics. However, Honda packs in the most technology into the base model. Overall, the Mazda just seems like a better option but, oddly enough, it doesn’t sell nearly as much as the Civic. If you’re in the market for a compact sedan, I’d strongly suggest taking a look at the often overlooked Mazda3.

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