Throughout the history of the automobile, we have always seen models dominate their category. However, this usually lasts for a few years and we often see a rotation. The Honda Civic is an exception, as it has dominated its class for a quarter century in terms of sales.
That doesn't bode well for the competition. And that includes a very interesting car like the Mazda3. In fact, no matter how good the Mazda3 is, it's getting the short end of the stick with the Civic.
Let's see what makes it so dominant.
Superiority of all versions
For both the Civic and the Mazda3, there are several variants in the lineup. Sometimes, one model will offer a more attractive base version while the other will be superior with its performance variant.
Here, no matter how hard you look across the lineup, the Civic's superiority is striking. The base model, for example, offers a more lively powertrain. Then, at the top of the lineup, even though Mazda added a 250-horsepower turbo engine to its model, the Type R version of the 2023 Civic will offer 315.
And that's not to mention that driving pleasure is no longer the Mazda3's business. In every respect, the Civic stands up to it, and the higher up the family ladder you go, the more dominant the Civic versions become.
When Mazda introduced its Skyactiv technology, it started offering engines that are fairly economical at the pump. However, progress has been slow in this area, so the Civic's powertrains are now more frugal. Simply with the base version, it's not uncommon to see a difference of 0.5 liters per 100 kilometers in combined fuel consumption. For city driving, it's closer to one liter per 100 kilometers. Do the math, this represents significant savings in the long run.
Speaking of long-term savings, consider the resale value as part of what makes the Civic a more attractive car. Over a 36 or 48 month period, Honda's compact car will retain about 10% more of its value than a Mazda3. At resale or when exchanging the model for another one, we are once again winners.