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RobbJK

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Really good review, as someone that cross-shopped both of these cars I think they hit the nail on the head for both. I've long said these cars should be compared more than they are, and I think anyone that knows anything about either car would agree with their thoughts on both cars' strengths and weaknesses.

The Mazda, despite it's horsepower and their previous sporty lineage is a comfortable GT type of car. Stylistically it feels special and unique but with a few sacrifices in space/usability. It's got the AWD and the horsepower, but is let down by its slow old 6-speed transmission and rear suspension setup. I think if they decide to do a next generation, fixing the suspension and transmission would go a long way in improving the car, even if nothing else changed.

The Integra is a copy/paste job from the civic in a lot of ways (it more or less always has been historically) but I think Acura's omission of adding a bit more power and AWD as an option, along with saddling it with a CVT (rather than adapt the ILX DCT for use again) lets the car down in this segment, but the handling, suspension, and fun to drive nature and supreme versatility of the car helps make up for a lot of it's shortcomings. A bit more power (easy to do with minor mods as they noted) and something other than a CVT auto option would make the Integra a more perfect car.

Both cars live in that "affordable" premium small car segment, but both have a list of compromises almost as long as their pros. It really comes down to what someone really wants out of their vehicle. But it really calls into question if the cars are worth their premium pricing, especially when the Si or ST Civic Hatchback (dealer markups not withstanding) exist at much lower price points, as well as the lower trim Mazda3 versions.

Overall my pick of the two would probably still be the Integra... I'm a long time Honda/Acura fan and the Integra feels familiar. And I definitely lean more towards having superior handling over outright power. My personal decision to hold onto my Civic Coupe Turbo for the time being came down mostly to preference of body style over a 4 door anything, and comparing features/performance versus what I'd be spending on each. And neither the mazda or integra quite hit enough of those points to justify higher car payments when relatively affordable mods to my civic coupe would elevate it to being 99% as good as my DD as either the 3 or Integra would be.
 

BKK Jack

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The Mazda fails completely for me, because it lacks the option for a manual transmission. Also, I parked next to one in the grocery store lot before I got my Integra and the owner was just coming out. He was gracious enough to let me check his hatch with my driver. No way in hell I could even come close to fitting it in, let alone a full golf bag. Double fail.

I had a 2007 Mazda 3 2.5 and it was a fantastic car. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way ZOOM-ZOOM died.
 

submitaweasel

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The Mazda fails completely for me, because it lacks the option for a manual transmission.
Couldn't agree more. I didn't even consider the turbo mazda for that reason alone. I did want to try a manual hatch but couldn't find one in a 100 mile radius.
 

bullitt

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If Mazda had given the 3 a Manual it wouldn't even be a competition to me, but since they didn't the Integra will by default be the more engaging drive which is what I heavily weigh my purchases on.
 

RUNN1N

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I always find it interesting when reviewers (these guys especially) say they prefer a car as long as the buyer has another car, aka a fun sits-in-the-garage-all-week car on the side. That's essentially what they said with the Mazda here--they loved the AWD and special feel of the cabin/exterior, but highlighted that it was pretty compact and difficult to see out of, not very engaging to drive and got surprisingly bad gas mileage, then recommended it for folks with that special second car they could use for fun.
 

RB2490

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My wife was considering a Mazda hatch 2 years ago. We checked it out and there's literally no space in there. You can't see anything out the back, and while the power is nice the car just isn't that engaging. I feel like Mazda is over hyped in my opinion. We had a Mazda cx5 and it got so much praise and I was really disappointed
 

TheRas900

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My wife was considering a Mazda hatch 2 years ago. We checked it out and there's literally no space in there. You can't see anything out the back, and while the power is nice the car just isn't that engaging. I feel like Mazda is over hyped in my opinion. We had a Mazda cx5 and it got so much praise and I was really disappointed
My experience was with a highly rated Mazda 3GT and I felt the same disappointment. Last year I had a CX5 rental on vacation and again couldn't figure out why it's so loved. I almost feel like Mazda has a bunch of bots spamming forums. The cars never live up to the hype for me.
 

pomegranate

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I joined this forums before the Integra was revealed, but I ended up going with the N/A Mazda 3 FWD and the review mimics a lot of what I was thinking.

My issue with the Integra is pretty much exactly what SavageGeese said. The car doesn't feel like its own at all. It feels like it rides way too much on the success of the civic and while there's nothing with that because of how great the civic is, you're paying 40k for it. While AWD or more power would've been great for the Integra, it was understandable while they couldn't/didn't go for it, but what I did wish they did was actually try to differentiate the Integra's interior/dash area. Others have complained about it already, but the Civic's economy-ness really bleed through when you see the retrofitted ELS speakers, Civic dash/steering wheel with Acura logos, and a lack of features like rear vents, heated steering wheel (US) version as well as the embarrassing small 7" infotainment being standard and the 9" locked behind the tech-package. It really feels like things were thrown together last minute than a vehicle they're been planning for years and years now. These aren't dealbreakers or anything, but on top of that I'm not a manual die hard and their choice of an automatic was the CVT which I just wasn't a fan of since I was expecting the 10-speed or DCT.

Then we have the Civic Si. Yes, the Si is largely marked up while the Integra isn't which "makes" the Integra a better deal. Imo, I think Honda knows this and intentionally shifted production to Integras over Si's for largely the same parts so I honestly don't feel all that great about the "deal" now. And then if you actually look at the 10th gen Si you can see how many features (dual climate control, adaptive dampers) they removed from the 11th gen while increasing the price so while they deny that they intentionally handicapped the Si for the Integra, features were definitely removed.

The Mazda 3 definitely has a lot of issues on its own here. Firstly, the interior in my opinion does look nicer than the Integra's, but it feels like its premium wrapped only an inch deep if that makes sense. The Mazda 3 is still an economy car in the way it feels even if it looks pretty good which is fine for its price point. Unfortunately there are some pretty prevalent issues like interior rattling for a car that's in its fourth to fifth production year which is unacceptable. Secondly, even on the FWD 2.5 N/A model, the fuel economy isn't that great thanks to the dated 6-speed. At that point, I'm not even sure if its better than the CVT. You'll get even worse fuel economy on the 2.5T. Personally, I'm a fan of the infotainment (at one point I said no touchscreen was a dealbreaker) and you really get used to the nob and the display is placed well too. My biggest issue with the car though has to be the interior space and is where I disagree with other comments here talking about the suspension. The average driver including myself can't really tell the difference with the torsion beam granted I have pretty good roads where I am. The #1 improvement they should make in the next generation has to be interior space/cargo. I personally don't carry around too many people ever, but on grocery hauls, the space is just so practical and useful. Just the idea of having enough space is somewhat peace of mind which I'm a huge fan of in the Teggy. Cramped backseat, lacking cargo space, and on top of the poor visability (that you eventually get used to) probably puts off a lot more people than the suspension.

Nevertheless, they're all great cars in their own way. Looking forward though I really hope they make a hybrid version of both vehicles, although I know Acura said they're going straight to EV.
 

Leehro

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I watched this last weekend and enjoyed it. When I was shopping last year I considered a Mazda 3, but I decided to go MT and since it's unavailable in this Turbo AWD trim, I ruled it out. So I was glad to hear their opinion on how it compares to the Integra. Based on what they said, I'm glad I went with the Integra.

But can we just make a 20-second video explaining the Civic Si exists and put that at the start of every video? That way your review can focus on the two cars in the title.
 

BKK Jack

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Mine's B/W, too. Maybe that was an early release, or maybe what the Canadians get?

Could it be something in the settings? Sorry. I'm no help at all...
 

Integra23

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I thought that was odd.. mine is also bw
 

submitaweasel

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That's the civic infotainment UI (at least in the US). They changed the colors to B/W for the integra to feel more "upscale."
 

Leehro

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Yeah it’s definitely from a Honda. And I googled Cabin Talk and apparently it’s a feature on the Odyssey. So it looks like they just used footage of a Honda infotainment here.
 
 


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