Can the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Zoom Past a Mazda3 Premium?

With the death of the Mazda6 in the US, Mazda only has one sedan left here: the Mazda3. And it’s up against some stiff competition, especially with the arrival of the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan. But which compact carries the most speed? That’s what YouTube team Throttle House decided to test.

The 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring might be more about fuel economy than speed

The side 3/4 view of a red 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring parked on a tree-lined street by a house
2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring side 3/4 | Honda

For 2022, the Honda Civic Sedan drops one transmission option and brings over some familiar engines. While the upcoming Hatchback, Si, and Type R retain the manual, the Sedan is CVT-only. However, although the 2021 car’s engines carry over, they’ve been tweaked slightly.

Both the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine are slightly more fuel-efficient than before. On the base LX and Sport trim, the former gets 1 more mpg city and 2 more mpg highway according to the EPA. And on the EX and Touring, the EPA estimates that the latter gets 1 more mpg city.

Plus, while the 2.0-liter engine’s output is unchanged, the 1.5-liter engine does have a modest boost. The 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring and EX have 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, 6 more hp and 15 more lb-ft than their 2021 counterparts. And while the 2022 Civic Sedan is slightly heavier, Honda claims its performance is unchanged.

However, that’s not what Car and Driver recently found. Testers recorded a 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds for the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring. That’s 0.7 seconds slower than the equivalent previous-gen car. It’s a similar story with the ¼-mile times: the 2022 Civic ran it in 15.8 seconds, 0.6 seconds slower. Though to be fair, Car and Driver noted that its test car was a low-mileage example, and might not have been fully broken-in.

Even without a turbo, the 2021 Mazda3 Premium isn’t necessarily slow

A red 2021 Mazda3 Premium by a white-and-brown-wood house
2021 Mazda3 Premium | Mazda

As Throttle House films in Canada, the co-hosts tested a 2021 Mazda3 GT, a trim level that isn’t available in the US. However, there is an equivalent US-market trim, the Premium.

In the US, the Mazda3 Premium is one of the sedan’s higher trims, just below the 2.5 Turbo models. Instead of a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Premium has a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. So, compared to the 2.5 Turbo models, the Mazda3 Premium is less powerful.

However, the 2021 Mazda3 Premium has the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring beat in terms of output. Its 2.5-liter engine makes 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Plus, unlike the Civic, the Mazda sedan has a six-speed automatic. Also, while Honda doesn’t offer AWD on the Civic, it is an option on the Mazda3. But in the interest of fairness and parity, Throttle House went with a FWD model.

Even so, on paper, the 2021 Mazda3 Premium out-speeds the Civic. Although it’s about 60 pounds heavier, it went 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds in Car and Driver’s hands. And it ran the ¼-mile in 15.4 seconds, finishing with a 1-mph trap speed. Mazda’s sedan also had faster 5-60 mph, 30-50 mph, and 50-70 mph times.

But these are still theoretical advantages. What happens in the real world?

Which sedan won in Throttle House’s races?

The Throttle House co-hosts ran the sedans through two ¼-mile drag races. The first race was from a standing start and the second from a rolling start. So, which did better, the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring or the Mazda3 Premium/GT?

The answer is both. Despite being slower on paper, the Civic Sedan beat the Mazda3 in the standing-start race. However, in the rolling race, the Mazda sedan’s torque advantage let it take the win.

So, from a stop, the 2022 Honda Civic is the faster sedan. But once you’re up to speed, the Mazda3 beats it out.

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