Mazda 3 Review

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when it comes to small cars whoever said itwas hatches that had to offer all of the sizzle? these two sedans from hyundai and honda havegot just as much zip as their big-booted counterparts – but which one of these four-doors willwin us over? we’re pitting the hyundai elantra sr turboagainst the honda civic rs both are powered by four-cylinder turbochargedpetrol engines – a 1.6-litre in the elantra and a slight smaller 1.5-litre in the civictransmissions are quite different however, it’s a cvt for the civic and a seven-speeddual clutch transmission in the elantra. size wise, the two cars share pretty similardimensions, but it’s the elantra that wins the numbers game when it comes to performanceeven in normal drive mode, the elantra has

got some extra pep to it – it’s just gotmore go. flick the car to sport mode and it’s instantlymore responsive. steering feel is nice and direct and the chassisis spot on – the local suspension tune definitely serves to iron out some of the lumps and bumpsin australian roads. as a result the elantra flows nicely throughcorners while the civic rs does have a pretty edgyexterior design, it doesn’t really deliver the same sporty, modern edge on the interiorbut it is comfortable – and offers preferable accommodation for rear seat passengers – theseats are pretty plush and the leather’s softer.

there’s also more headroom and a light headlinerserves to make the rear feel more spacious. behind the wheel and the civic does lose outto the elantra – you can tell its down on power and torque and while it is lighter andhas got plenty of get up and go, it’s just not as sprightly. given this is a cvt, its not as objectionableas some we have driven recently, it’s actually quite inobtrusive. balance-wise, the civic is nice and composedand around town it offers a smooth ride but we’d like to the see its chassis pushedharder on open roads by what it is a very capable drivetrain.

on price there’s nothing to pick betweenthe two sedans, in fact they are almost line ball on initial cost but it’s hyundai thatoffers the better manufacturer’s warranty – 5 years unlimited kilometres versus 3years and 100,000kms for the honda. there’s a bit of variation in specificationand technology too. while both cars feature front and rear parkingsensors and reverse cameras, it’s the elantra that also adds rear cross traffic alert. and the elantra is equipped with blind spotmonitoring – the civic with honda’s lanewatch technology. it’s a shame neither is equipped with autonomousemergency braking but it is at least available

on the civic range, even if only on the mostexpensive vti-lx model. while they may not be hot hatches, neitherare these sedans, sedate. if it’s roominess and comfort that you’reafter, then the civic rs is your choice but for driveability and value for money, it’sthe hyundai elantra sr turbo that takes the win for us

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