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Honda Civic, Mazda Protege5, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan
#1 of 130 Hi Everyone - Here is the new place...
Aug 14, 2003 (7:01 am)
to discuss the Mazda Protege5 vs. the Honda Civic! Since this subject has come up a few times in other discussions here, I thought it would be a good topic for a new discussion.
If you're in the market for a Protege5 or Civic, please post your questions here. If you own either one of these vehicles, we'd appreciate your feedback on this subject.
Also, a couple notes about comparing vehicles in cyberspace: Civility and respect underlie the success of an on-line community such as Town Hall. Please respect and interact with fellow members as you would in any public arena. Thanks for your participation.
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#2 of 130 Helpful Links
Aug 14, 2003 (7:50 am)
Be sure to check out direct access to other related discussions, articles, and features on the left side of the page. Happy motoring!
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#3 of 130 Civic Si vs. Protege5
Aug 14, 2003 (8:06 am)
I was looking to replace an '87 Integra (4-door RS). I test drove both (along with the Impreza wagon, Golf 4-door, and Mini Cooper), and seriously considered the Si, mainly because my primary need was for a hatch/wagon, and the Si is the only hatchback Honda sells in the US market. (If they offered a less sporting hatch, say in LX or EX trim, I would've seriously considered it.)
Its good points:
- Great engine/drivetrain
- Pretty good handling
- Civic's reputation
- Good ergonomics (shifter placement was great, and shift action was as good as any Honda/Acura--in other words, among the best)
What turned me off:
- Styling (it looked too much like a boy-racer to me, yet from some angles reminded me of the Ford Festiva)
- Interior didn't feel up to Honda's quality
- No ABS
- Handling didn't wow me
- Interior space/utility wasn't as good as a 4-door
- Concerns about its theft rate, or potential theft rate
That Si engine is a really sweet mill: iVTEC, cam chain, hydraulic valve lifters. (Supposedly the first scheduled tune-up is at 110,000 miles!) It'll run and run and run. It's a little funny in this car, though. I think the Si is a bit over-engined for its handling, at least in its stock form.
The Si's interior kind of suprised me. There were some thoughtful details (like convertable cupholders/bins), but overall I wasn't impressed with the quality or finish of the materials, and there were a couple of ergonomic quirks (HVAC controls too close to the gauge cluster, but not quite in easy reach). It seemed a little rough around the edges--something I thought I'd NEVER say about a Honda.
The P5's good points:
- Styling (interior and exterior)
- Handling (the P5's chassis is beautifully tuned right out of the box)
- Utility (5 doors, and more interior space than you'd think)
- Engine not as powerful as the Honda's, and uses a timing belt instead of a chain
- Shifter action not as good as Honda's (Honda really is the benchmark here)
- Mazda kind of an unknown to me
Styling and design are totally subjective qualities, but I liked the looks of the P5 much better, and I preferred its interior layout and utility. It's a unique car. (It has its own quirks, though, like the dumb location of the lighter socket--if you're charging your phone, you can't use one of the cupholders--and foglight/cluster dimmer switches way out in the middle of nowhere.)
The Protege5 felt most like my Integra: the right combination of utility and sportiness. The Protege's reputation for reliability is as good as the Civic's, too.
Needless to say, I ended up with the P5, and the more I drive it, the more I love it. And configuration of the cargo compartment is great: it's like a big box, with a low liftover and a tall, wide opening in back. The Si seemed a little more cramped back there.
There have been a number of comments made about the Protege's engine, that it doesn't have enough oomph. This isn't a drag-racing car. But the engine has a great, usable powerband nonetheless, with gear ratios well chosen for real-world driving.
The P5 is really fun on back roads: just keep it in third gear and scoot from apex to apex, and listen to its nice, nasally, burbling snarl. Handling and steering are PERFECT: totally composed and unruffled, just eager and fun. It really grows on you.
This may be off-topic a bit, but I don't get why Honda doesn't have more hatches on the market. They built their reputation on small hatches, and yet hatchbacks are virtually absent from their US lineup; the Civic Si is the only one. I would LOVE to see them bring in their 5-door hatch, and in more trim levels. (The 5-door is available in the UK; I think it's built there, too). It's much prettier than the 3-door, and looks much more useful.
And why is "hatchback" such an ugly word? What's wrong with it? Hatchback! Hatchback! Hatchback!
#4 of 130 one small correction, Smasher
Aug 14, 2003 (8:41 am)
ABS is standard on the Si.
#5 of 130 ABS
Aug 14, 2003 (9:47 am)
Like stated above, ABS are standard and the Electronic Brake Force Distribution is standard as well. I don't think any other car in the segment offers EBD.
Since you wanted a 5 door hatch, check out Matrix/Vibe. It was the first one on my list, but the Si pricing woed me in.
#6 of 130 EBD on the Pro as well
Aug 14, 2003 (10:00 am)
#7 of 130 ABS w/EBFD
Aug 14, 2003 (10:39 am)
On all Protege ES and P5 trims. Standard. Also standard, 16" alloys w/low profile tires, good loooks and great handling.
PS: This could very well turn into an Accord-vs-M6 or TSX-vs-M6 forum
Aug 14, 2003 (10:47 am)
Huh. I stand corrected. According to a number of sources (including Honda's own spec sheet) the Si does have ABS.
The P5 has ABS available only as an option, but their ABS has EBD, too.
But anyway I'd be interested to read what others had to say about these two cars--driving impressions, look and feel, etc. Anybody else out there drive both?
#9 of 130 I did drive both...
Aug 14, 2003 (11:09 am)
...before I purchased the Protege5, but I drove the EX, not the Si. I found that the Civic had indeed fallen behind in build quality. The body panels did not match paint grain, and the interior was full of cheap plastic like you would expect to find in a Neon or Cavalier. This is not what I was expecting to find in the latest Civic. Handling also suffered in comparison to the Protege5. I found the Civic to have a smoother highway ride, but I considered that a negative as I like to feel what is happening to the car. The stereo was marginally better in the Honda. All in all, the reasons I can think to recommend the Civic over the Protege5 are fuel economy and resale value. Neither of those ranks in my top 5 priorities, so I went with the Protege5.
#10 of 130 Check out TCO
Aug 14, 2003 (3:38 pm)
I haven't driven the Pro5; not enough bang for the buck on paper when I was buying.
Edmunds says it costs more to own the Pro5, by $450 a year. Given the discounts and slow sales on the Si, I think a good shopper would come out even better.