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    Thread: 2012 Honda Civic Si vs. 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 [w/video]

    1. Member omoderncultureo's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 01:18 AM #1


      Quote Originally Posted by Auto Guide
      Can Honda reclaim the crown as king of the front-wheel drive sport compact segment?

      Unlike the Honda Civic Si’s dominance of the sport compact scene during the ‘80s and ‘90s, these days the more powerful and aggressively styled MazdaSpeed3 rules the front-drive roost (and the VW Golf GTI isn’t far behind). But with the introduction of the all-new 2012 Civic Si, Honda has a golden opportunity to strike back and reclaim the title as king of the FWD pocket rockets. To find out if Soichiro Honda would be grinning from ear to ear or frowning in disapproval, we brought the 9th generation Civic Si and the MazdaSpeed3 to Toronto Motorsports Park for a knockdown, drag ‘em out, head-to-head shootout where the only things that matter are acceleration, braking, and grip.

      THE COMBATANTS

      With a whopping $5 between the two on price (our Civic Si coupe came equipped with the optional Navigation package and thus lists at $23,705 versus the Mazdaspeed3 at $23,700), your credit limit isn’t going to be the deciding factor here. Where these two front-drive performance cars differ the most is under the hood – the MazdaSpeed3 uses a 2.3-liter direct injection turbocharged engine to produce 263-hp at 5500 rpm and a stump-pulling 280 lb-ft at 3000 rpm, while the Civic Si generates 201-hp at 7000 rpm and 170 lb-ft at 4300 rpm thanks to its naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine.

      Although it may seem like Honda brought a knife to a gunfight given the horsepower and torque gap between it and the Mazda, in a world controlled by the laws of physics mass is also an important variable. With the Civic tipping the scales at a relatively svelte 2,877 lbs and the surprisingly hefty MS3 weighing in at 3,272 lbs, the playing field should be at least somewhat leveled, especially when you consider that weight not only affects acceleration but also braking and handling.

      In terms of slowing all that mass down, getting it around corners, and putting power to the ground, there’s less to differentiate these two machines. Both use 6-speed manual transmissions, gear-type limited slip differentials, and MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension layouts. Both also come equipped with upgraded braking systems and the usual stability and traction control systems (which we turned off during track testing since these always result in slower and less consistent lap times in dry conditions).

      FIRST IMPRESSIONS

      You only get one chance to make a first impression, and as I launch the new Civic Si coupe down the 1,500-ft long front straightaway at Toronto Motorsports Park, the extra torque of the 2.4-liter engine is immediately apparent, as is the 7,200-rpm fuel cutoff. An Si-badged Civic that doesn’t rev to 8000-rpm and scream like a banshee while doing it? Hmm. This will take some getting used to.

      After a 4-3 downshift and a brief but determined stamp on the brake pedal, I pitch the car into the long right-hand Turn 1 at close to 90 mph. The Si’s initial response is a startling amount of body roll followed by a healthy dose of understeer. But hey, just about every production vehicle has some turn-in understeer designed into it as a safety precaution, and once the Si’s stiff chassis takes a set the front tires begin to find some grip. I’m back to full throttle as the inside tire clips the red-and-white curbing and that’s when the superb helical limited slip differential helps pull the Si out of what initially felt like a failed experiment in weight transfer and suspension tuning.

      The MazdaSpeed3, by contrast, feels far more eager to turn into a corner and carve a parabolic arc that simultaneous induces a grin and preserves momentum. Body roll feels absent compared to the Honda, and the MS3 even exhibits a willingness to forego understeer in favor of a touch of trail braking-induced oversteer, especially through the tight and twisty esses of Turns 4 and 5.

      And the power, oh the glorious turbocharged power! Although it runs out of steam rather suddenly around 6000 rpm, the 3000 rpm leading up to it deliver an “in your face, VTEC!” kick in the pants. The Torsen limited slip differential does a surprisingly good job of directing the gobs of torque to the wheel with the best chance of not converting all that energy into tire smoke, and although torque steer is an annoyance when punching the gas at cruising speeds, out on the racetrack it’s virtually undetectable.
      Quote Originally Posted by THE VERDICT
      So the MazdaSpeed3 wins around the racetrack and in the fun-to-drive category too. I’ll take mine in the same pearl white color as the test mule, at least until Honda reconnects with it’s go-fast heritage and turns their last remaining performance model into the 100-hp/L screamer it should be.
      2012 Mazda Speed 3


      Positives:
      • Gobs of torque and oodles of horsepower


      • Sporty feeling suspension tuning and steering


      • 5-door hatchback practicality


      Negatives:
      • Lack of pedal feel when threshold braking


      • Runs out of steam over 6000 rpm


      • Front grille styling will scare away some buyers




      Positives:
      • Super slick transmission and magical limited slip differential


      • Stiff and responsive chassis


      • Great mid-range torque from its 2.4L engine


      Negatives:
      • Softly sprung and too much body roll


      • 7200 rpm redline means that boy-racer feeling is missing


      • Not enough horsepower to compete for the FWD sport compact crown


      Video Review:


      Full Review

      Related Post: MT: Compact Sedans Comparo' - 8 Vehicles
      Last edited by omoderncultureo; 09-24-2011 at 02:01 PM.

    2. Banned Tiny4cyl's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 01:27 AM #2
      Civic Si is just too boring and it's missing true DOHC VTEC (that is to say, two profiles per camshaft)

      This is essentially the same car that was on sale 10 years ago ('02 RSX-S)

      02 RSX-S ---- 12 Civic Si
      200hp 2.0L ---- 201hp 2.4L
      141tq ---- 170tq
      Open ---- LSD
      26xx lbs ---- 28xx lbs
      Last edited by Tiny4cyl; 09-24-2011 at 01:40 AM.

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      09-24-2011 02:15 AM #3
      ms3 really looks weird to me. at least civic isn't offensive.

    4. 09-24-2011 03:01 AM #4
      Damn the new Si kinda sucks, I thought it was going to be better than the last gen.

      Gimme a last gen si 4 door in red, f*** the new one

    5. Member techmonkey's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 09:57 AM #5
      Sounds like an EP3 redux.
      Quote Originally Posted by B3passatBMX View Post
      I would have grabbed a brick and thrown it directly at him. Immediately diffusing the situation.

    6. 09-24-2011 10:18 AM #6
      Um is it me or is that civic shaped like a tent?

    7. Member Brimjolt's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 10:19 AM #7
      MS3, duh
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      09-24-2011 10:47 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Bones_Jones View Post
      ms3 really looks weird to me. at least civic isn't offensive.
      I find it offensively boring. and if the MS3 has a negative for styling, the Civic should as well.

    9. 09-24-2011 10:47 AM #9
      Seriously, what the hell happened to Honda in the last 15 years?

    10. Banned AutoUnion32's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 10:50 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Corbic View Post
      Seriously, what the hell happened to Honda in the last 15 years?
      Pfft, they're just holding back all these years to release the vaporware NSX




      MS3

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      09-24-2011 11:00 AM #11
      Maybe Im just too young to remember the Civic SI's dominance of th compact car scene in the 80s-90s?
      King of the FWD pocket rockets? When did that happen and where was I?

    12. Member a2a4raddo's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 11:13 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by PiSSAT4motion View Post
      Maybe Im just too young to remember the Civic SI's dominance of th compact car scene in the 80s-90s?
      King of the FWD pocket rockets? When did that happen and where was I?
      I never considered the SI king of pocket rockets. Especially when Honda's own camp was putting out cars like the Integra Type-R/GS-R, Prelude Type-SH. There was also Toyota's Celica GT-S, VW's Corrado SLC, and a number of other awesome pocket rockets.

    13. Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 11:16 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by PiSSAT4motion View Post
      Maybe Im just too young to remember the Civic SI's dominance of th compact car scene in the 80s-90s?
      King of the FWD pocket rockets? When did that happen and where was I?
      Busy with coil packs and window regulators?

    14. Member bmann's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 11:23 AM #14
      To be fair, the MS3 stomps everything in it's class as far as power and handling. But there's just something else that keeps people from actually buying it.
      Do not be persecuted by the pompous fedora, balanced by the equilibrium, fortified by the
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      09-24-2011 11:35 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by bmann View Post
      But there's just something else that keeps people from actually buying it.
      Thin sheetmetal, cheap quality, bad paint, rust issues. But I'd still rock a MS3

    16. 09-24-2011 11:41 AM #16
      So the MS3 comes in white now? Hmmmm, it may sound silly to some but color options was a major turn off in the past for me when it came to this car, not anymore

    17. Geriatric Member SSLByron's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 11:45 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Vash350z View Post
      So the MS3 comes in white now? Hmmmm, it may sound silly to some but color options was a major turn off in the past for me when it came to this car, not anymore
      The gen1 was available in white from mid-2008 on. With the Gen2, they brought Blue back again for the first two years, and dropped it for white again for 2012+.
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      4+ pages and at least 1 death threat in a compact-car comparison test thread - oh wait, this is TCL.

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      09-24-2011 01:24 PM #18
      I didn't even need to read and I knew the MS3 would win. Honda has really lost it.

      I would have gladly taken 250hp and 150tq out of the 2.4L if it had that 8k+ redline. You don't need a lot of torque when the car is relatively light.

      Torque sells cars, horsepower wins roadraces

    19. Member bmann's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 01:31 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by AutoUnion32 View Post
      Thin sheetmetal, cheap quality, bad paint, rust issues. But I'd still rock a MS3
      To add to that:
      • Horrible gas mileage (18 city/25 hwy)
      • High Perf Summer Tires standard (can't drive on safely on snow)
      • Must purchase $2,600 tech package to get Navigation
      • Goofy looks
      Do not be persecuted by the pompous fedora, balanced by the equilibrium, fortified by the
      government's inability to eradicate, or foreshadow—taken from the Hebrew word: foreskin

    20. Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 01:39 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by bmann View Post
      To add to that:
      • Horrible gas mileage (18 city/25 hwy)
      • High Perf Summer Tires standard (can't drive on safely on snow)
      • Must purchase $2,600 tech package to get Navigation
      These were the three I thought of first.

      The as tested price includes the navigation on the Honda but not Mazda. Take away navigation and the Civic drops in price.

      In fact the as tested price shows the Civic didn't have the optional summer tires which might have made a difference.

    21. 09-24-2011 01:43 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by C4 A6 View Post
      ...
      I would have gladly taken 250hp and 150tq out of the 2.4L if it had that 8k+ redline.
      ...
      I agree with you about everything except this. 250 HP? 150 TQ? 2.4? 8k redline?

      These numbers don't add up. It would need to be a 2.0 with ~10k redline for those kinda numbers.

      Not that I'd complain

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      09-24-2011 01:46 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by InfraRedline View Post
      I agree with you about everything except this. 250 HP? 150 TQ? 2.4? 8k redline?

      These numbers don't add up. It would need to be a 2.0 with ~10k redline for those kinda numbers.

      Not that I'd complain
      Well I'm not too keen on the engineering behind high output per liter

      But K20C with 10k redline would just be a win for Honda.

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      09-24-2011 01:49 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by InfraRedline View Post
      I agree with you about everything except this. 250 HP? 150 TQ? 2.4? 8k redline?

      These numbers don't add up. It would need to be a 2.0 with ~10k redline for those kinda numbers.

      Not that I'd complain
      Even though I prefer the torque curve of a turbo motor, there is no doubt a 10k redline would be an awesome drive

    24. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 02:03 PM #24
      I'm surprised by the Civic's body lean.


      And it's an interesting comparison.
      The Civic is not that much slower around the track, but the MS3 feels much faster/sportier.
      It kind of goes back to the basic question- do you want speed or the feeling of speed? Hmm.
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      09-24-2011 05:15 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I'm surprised by the Civic's body lean.


      And it's an interesting comparison.
      The Civic is not that much slower around the track, but the MS3 feels much faster/sportier.
      It kind of goes back to the basic question- do you want speed or the feeling of speed? Hmm.
      Just like the fartcan thing: do you want to go fast or just sound like you're going fast?

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      09-24-2011 05:46 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by AutoUnion32 View Post
      Thin sheetmetal, cheap quality, bad paint, rust issues. But I'd still rock a MS3
      What rust issues
      I can understand the old regular 3's but the new ones are fine.

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      09-24-2011 06:16 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I'm surprised by the Civic's body lean.


      And it's an interesting comparison.
      The Civic is not that much slower around the track, but the MS3 feels much faster/sportier.
      It kind of goes back to the basic question- do you want speed or the feeling of speed? Hmm.
      Not that much slower? At this particular smallish track, the civic lost by 2 seconds, that isn't close.

      This is silly comparison, the MS3 competes with the WRX not the Si. It's just a much faster car all around.

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      09-24-2011 06:19 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by AutoUnion32 View Post
      Thin sheetmetal, cheap quality, bad paint, rust issues. But I'd still rock a MS3


      Typical car lounge mis-information.

      The MS3's biggest problem is it's looks.

      Second biggest problem is it's drivetrain and AWD hype so people gravitate to the WRX.

    29. Banned AutoUnion32's Avatar
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      09-24-2011 06:49 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by unintended acceleration View Post
      Typical car lounge mis-information.

      The MS3's biggest problem is it's looks.

      Second biggest problem is it's drivetrain and AWD hype so people gravitate to the WRX.
      And we're going to gloss over its cheap build quality and bargain basement interior?

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      09-24-2011 06:57 PM #30
      I'll stick with my torqueless 2011 SI with the k20. Which is reportedly way better.

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      09-24-2011 06:58 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by Vash350z View Post
      So the MS3 comes in white now? Hmmmm, it may sound silly to some but color options was a major turn off in the past for me when it came to this car, not anymore
      White is available in Canada.

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      09-24-2011 06:59 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by AutoUnion32 View Post
      And we're going to gloss over its cheap build quality and bargain basement interior?
      Mazda3 has one of the nicer interiors in the class. Looks good without being over the top like Ford.

    33. 09-24-2011 07:10 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by unintended acceleration View Post

      Second biggest problem is it's drivetrain and AWD hype so people gravitate to the WRX.
      No real hype there, it just makes a better performance car.

      Better in the snow, off road, drag strip, street. Why pay roughly the same to get a car that is handicapped and has a smaller aftermarket following.

    34. Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      09-24-2011 07:37 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by Corbic View Post
      No real hype there, it just makes a better performance car.

      Better in the snow, off road, drag strip, street. Why pay roughly the same to get a car that is handicapped and has a smaller aftermarket following.
      There's intangible aspects that make a car fun to drive. Quick steering, driving feel. Etc. Not that AWD precludes these things, but in the specific case of the MS3 vs WRX, there are reasons to buy an MS3 just as there are reasons to buy a WRX.

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      09-24-2011 07:46 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by AutoUnion32 View Post
      And we're going to gloss over its cheap build quality and bargain basement interior?
      Compared to what? Don't you ****ing say the GTI either
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      Now b/c of this im fkn paranoid about mines. For for theifs out there u better watch out... cuz im nockturnal....i dont go to sleep till 4am either.... and i bought a machette a ago... if i see u near my car im running out there and ima chop ur ass up.... real shiitt
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