27th Feb 2016, 08:01

We had a 2003 Civic EX. Pretty car, bright red 2 door with the factory red spoiler, driven by our son to high school and college.

Tires were quite expensive on this EX model. They were damaged from potholes more than tread wear.

Went through bulbs and it had starting issues towards the end. Became unreliable.

The worst of all were door lock and hardware issues.

The air conditioning came and went at times.

It had a very nice aftermarket sound system. There is no need to cut wires if you use the correct harness kits.

As far as looks go, it was really sharp. Had the nicer factory wheels and sunroof.

Shifting was nice.

The paint was really good.

It was a pretty uncomfortable ride, especially with its poor seats. OK for around town, but even on a 30 mile drive it was time to get out.

As I recall it cost 9k in 2007 and sold for 5k in 2013 with 120000 miles. It had a timing belt, serpentine belt and water pump replaced. Parts are typically far more for the EX, especially the larger factory tires.

My younger daughter has a 2013 Mazda 3 Touring since new, which we actually took on a trip to Florida. Just her and I. I was really surprised how great this little car is. Far better ride in the 3 touring package and loaded with more amenities. Great mileage and no issues. Out on the open road it easily exceeded the posted speed limits. I personally don't like its styling and it's more a girl car in my opinion. Maybe it's the happy grille. The Mazda 3 Sport had a far poorer ride when we tested it, but given a choice between a Civic and the Mazda, I would take the newer Mazda without hesitation. It's like a larger car and far more quieter. The larger Accords are better, as is the Mazda 6. We have had these as well. But this topic is a comparison on small cars.