New vs. Old

POSTED BY CBT Team ON 02 July 2014

Oh Toh 29

Dear Oh Toh,

I humbly seek your advice as I have a dilemma regarding these two Japanese brands.

I love the all-new Mazda 3 2.0L design and features. It has sleek lines and great looks. The performance and handling is good as well. I’m not sure about the road noise and maintenance aspect.

On the other hand, the Honda Civic 2.0S is a good buy too and much cheaper. However, the design and handling performance is not as good as the Mazda 3. I’m not too sure about the road noise and maintenance. I do find the Civic a lot more spacious than the Mazda 3.

Hence, I need your advice as I intend to keep/use this car for the next nine years. My average mileage a year is around 15,000-17,000km.

1) What are the maintenance costs like for both models in comparison?

2) Which model would be better value for money?

3) Which has a better resale value? I really hope that Mazda improves its resale value as I believe it will with their newer models in the market.

4) I’m also curious about the sales person telling me that the battery in the Mazda 3 is different from a conventional battery. Is it true? How much would it cost and is it available at most spare part shops?

5) Lastly, any idea what would be the ideal figure for both car models fuel consumption (based on car owners feedback if any)?

Matthew S

Dear Matthew,

Things are extremely competitive in the C-segment right now with about six new models introduced so far this year, including the Mazda 3 2.0L SkyActiv. While the Honda Civic used to be the king of its class, being one of the oldest in its segment will not do it any favours.

Personally, the Mazda 3 is definitely visually appealing and looks lightyears ahead of the Civic but some prefer the milder lines of the Honda. Handling and driving dynamics is certainly a feather in the Mazda 3’s hat but road noise seems to be an Achilles heel for both.

Between the two, maintenance costs should be lower for the Mazda 3 as it comes with three years of free maintenance that includes labour and parts. On the other hand, the Civic only comes with six free services that alternate with a paid service until 100,000km mileage. However, the Civic does come with a longer warranty, five years with unlimited mileage, over the Mazda 3’s three years or 100,000km warranty.

As for value for money, the Mazda 3 is approximately RM10,000 dearer than the Civic 2.0S but taking into account the additional kit such as six airbags, a touch-screen head unit with navigation and auto start-stop as well as the extra grunt from the engine and gear ratio, it is well worth the money.

Resale value has always been a strongpoint for Honda but the popularity and quality of the latest Mazda models are slowly according them the recognition that they deserve and will go a long way in holding their value in the used-car market.

The Mazda 3 comes with the i-ELOOP system. It recovers and stores energy during braking or deceleration to be used to power the vehicle’s accessories, thus taking a huge load off the alternator. The energy recovered however is stored in capacitors and not the battery itself, so the battery in the Mazda 3 should be a conventional one that can be found in almost any auto spare part shop.

During our time with both cars, the fuel consumption figures were quite evenly matched although the Civic did have a slight edge at around 13km/l while the Mazda 3 was a pinch short at about 12km/l. However, fuel economy is highly dependent on driving style and you might find yourself getting better figures if you’re light-footed.