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New Car: 2003 Honda Accord or 2003 Mazda 6 (or any other 4 door Sedan?)

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#1 of 51 OFFLINE   Michael D. Bunting

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Posted August 18 2003 - 03:55 PM

My wife prefers the Mazda 6 and I'm taking a liking to the Honda Accord. We've never owned a Mazda or Honda vehicle before (previously/currently own: Ford & Nissan), and we will be trading in a Ford Mustang.

The wife test drove the Mazda 6 today and loved it. I have yet to test drive either....because I'm working overseas right now, but I will when I return next month.

The Nissan Altima is also a possibility, but once we put in the options we want - it's a little more than what we want to spend...we are trying to stay around $25k or less.

Or, should I wait for the 2004 models to show? I can't seem to find any changes for 2004 for either of this vehicles(6 or Accord)...does anyone happen to have any info on the 2004's?

Thanks for your feedback/suggestions!

#2 of 51 OFFLINE   Alex Prosak

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Posted August 18 2003 - 04:20 PM

Changes are likely to be few. Don't even consider a 2004, you'll be able to get a much better price on a 2003 as dealers try to clear them off the lots to make space for the new models.

#3 of 51 OFFLINE   David Preston

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Posted August 18 2003 - 08:52 PM

They are both very nice looking cars. I think the Mazda 6 looks nice. I think they have one in the monochromatic look. I prefer black. If you get a Accord they look good anyway you get them. If I had to pick it would be the Honda.

#4 of 51 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted August 18 2003 - 10:17 PM

For these 2 cars, I'd go with what the wifey likes more. This way she'll be easier to presuade when you upgrade yout HT. Posted Image

I think either way you can't lose. I prefer the styling on the 6 but the Honda has a slightly better engine. When you get back and see the fleet of Accords on the road that 6 will look better & better. Have you guys thought about a used ~2002 Maxima? More luxurious throughout and will outperform both.

#5 of 51 OFFLINE   Jassen M. West

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Posted August 18 2003 - 11:09 PM

Mazda 6 no questions. test drove one when my girlfriend bought her 2002 Mazda 626. both the 6 and 626 handle like they have claws gripping the ground. The 4 banger in the Mazda has plenty of pull also. plus the 6 looks nicer. My aunt just bought an Accord and wishes she had stayed with her 13 year old Chevy Cavalier.

#6 of 51 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 19 2003 - 12:12 AM

You may also want to look at a Nissan Altima 3.5SE. I own a 2002 model, and it's been a great car for the money. My previous vehicle was a '93 Camry V6 XLE. The Camry had a softer ride and was a little quieter, but the Nissan has a much more powerful engine, handles very well, has lots of interior room and is very fun to drive.

#7 of 51 OFFLINE   Jason Merrick

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Posted August 19 2003 - 02:49 AM

It may be just slightly out of your price range, but the new 2004 Acura TSX is definitely worth a look (and a test drive!)... According to the Edmunds site, it is currently selling for $26,000. If you've never looked at Acura before, one thing to keep in mind with them is practically EVERYTHING is included... there are very few options. I believe the only real options to choose from on the TSX are with or without navigation and 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual. Check out some of the standard features: - Leather-trimmed seats (heated front) - 360-watt eight speaker, 6-disc in-dash CD changer - dual-zone Automatic Climate Control - tilting power moonroof - 8-way power driver's seat - leather-wrapped, tilting & telescoping steering wheel - 17-inch alloy wheels - dual exhaust - 200-hp, 2.4-liter, DOHC i-VTEC engine - short-throw 6-speed manual transmission or - 5-speed Sequential SportShift™ automatic transmission - Power moonroof - HID Headlights - dual-stage airbags - Driver's and front passenger's side airbags - Side curtain airbags - 4-wheel ABS - Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control - Automatic Day/Night rear view mirror - 4 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty This is on their "base" model, for lack of a better word. So it's kind of hard to compare starting prices from another car to an Acura. ...and no, I don't work for Acura... I just love my Acura and highly recommend them to anyone else!

#8 of 51 OFFLINE   Andrew Testa

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Posted August 19 2003 - 02:55 AM

Michael, It depends a lot on what trim levels and options you consider essential. I just purchased a Mazda6s last month after a series of back and forth test drives with the Accord. Going in I wanted a V6 and automatic transmission. Any other options were secondary. The Mazda6 has only two trim lines, the four cylinder 6i and the V6 6s. The Accord has something like seven trim lines. However, I found that in practice what you're going to find on the lots are tons of 4 cylinder LX (lower trim level) and V6 Ex (top level trim),and almost no LX-V6 or EX-4cyl. The DX isn't available in Texas since AC isn't standard. So the Honda choices boiled down to a stripped 4 cyl LX or a loaded V6 EX, with a price difference of about $7,000. The LX-4 price was only about $2,000 lower than the Mazda6S V6, so I was able to get the V6 and the included upgrades (16" alloy rims, power driver seat, etc) for a lot less than it would cost to get a similarly equipped Accord, which only came with a bunch of additional expensive options I didn't want, like leather packages and other expensive crap. The trim line allocations may be different in the Northwest than here in Texas, so check on what's available. If you want a V6, the Mazda6s is the best choice unless you've got cash to burn. If you're OK with the 4 cylinder then the playing field is leveled out more, since you have more similar pricing. In basic ergonomics I found the Mazda easier to use, with a large well laid out console. I felt corners had been cut in the Accord that compromised ergonomics; such as the fuel door and trunk release activated by the same lever (push for trunk, pull for fuel). It's small, but would agravate the hell out of me by the third time i'd popped the trunk at the gas pump. One additional note on the Mazda6: there was a recall for an engine control module flash update to fix irregular acceleration. The recall went out I think around March or April. If the car you test drive has been on the lot since early spring it likely doesn't have the upgrade and you may notice choppy acceleration and hesitation in shifting when compared to the Accord. If it's a recent delivery it'll have it. Check the inspection sticker for a quick look at what month it was recieved at the lot. You'll want to drive a recent delivery to get an accurate feel for the true engine response. My car was delivered in January so didn't have it. After getting the upgrade the acceleration was immediately noticeably smoother. Hope this helps in your decision. (Getting the Mazda in Speed Yellow was just icing on the cake for my wife) Andy

#9 of 51 OFFLINE   brentl



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Posted August 19 2003 - 03:03 AM

"My aunt just bought an Accord and wishes she had stayed with her 13 year old Chevy Cavalier." I wish I could figure out why! PLEASE tell us!! Wait, could it be the V6 in the cavalier?? It makes a big noise, but it just don't go that quick! That's like saying "I don't like my new Cavalier V6, I MUCH prefer my 1984 Pony" It could be like me saying I liked my 1991 Pontiac 6000(with 3.1 by the way) over my new Civic. Sorry, but I'm having a hard time getting my mind around that! As for Accord or 6 ... I much prefer the aggressive styling of the 6 over the Accord. The Suspension is supposed to be fantastic in the Mazda 6, but I haven't driven one yet. This comes from a Honda Diehard!

#10 of 51 OFFLINE   Andrew Testa

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Posted August 19 2003 - 03:18 AM


I'm still getting used to being being able to take corners at higher speeds in my 6s and not heeling over like a catamaran. During my test drive I turned the wheel to the stops and slowly accelerated (in a parking lot, of course). Got to ~15 mph before the tires started to chirp, and never felt the steering wheel pull away from me or feel that it was gonna roll over. It really stuck to the ground. The downside of course is that the ride is somewhat stiff, but the seats are so comfortable that it isn't an issue.


btw, Jassen's aunt could be like my father-in-law, particularly if she's "set in her ways" (euphemism for old and scared of new stuff Posted Image(roll with me here Jassen, just kidding): won't buy a new TV cause he can't figure out the controls, and still watches his ancient set with UHF and VHF dials with phosphors so badly gone most shows are a kaliedoscope of red and green blobs.

#11 of 51 OFFLINE   wally


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Posted August 19 2003 - 03:23 AM

[quote] Honda Diehard [quote]
Me too. Have owned 6 Hondas and have been driving a '99 Jetta VR6 since November.

Couldn't be happier. I just got tired of the Honda style or better, lack of style.

I would go with the Honda if you have narrowed your search to just two. Very solid product, and very solid company

#12 of 51 OFFLINE   Ryan Spaight

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Posted August 19 2003 - 03:33 AM

The Honda will likely have better resale, if that's important to you. On the other hand, you can get 0% financing on the Mazda at the moment -- nothing better than free money. I drove both recently and they're both great cars. The V6 Accord is pricier, and feels "big and heavy" in comparison to the Mazda, which handled superbly. If you're looking for a "solid"-feeling car, the Accord does that better. If you want something fun-to-drive, the Mazda is the definite choice. (Also, you can get a stick shift in the Mazda V6 four-door, but not the Accord V6 four-door, if that matters.) Ryan

#13 of 51 OFFLINE   Michael D. Bunting

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Posted August 19 2003 - 09:51 AM

WOW! Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and suggestions!

Here are some more of my concerns: (Not in any particular order at this point)

Resale Value: We like to trade or vehicles in more frequently than most. I'd say that I will probably have this new vehicle for approx. 3-5 years, unless I absolutely fall in love with it, that is. I never really look to make a profit, I usually just like trading it in for what I have left to pay on the loan.

Our age/family: My wife and I are both 29. Now that I'm approaching my thirties (!), I don't really want to own a vehicle that is primarily owned or commonly driven by teeny-boppers everywhere. Now, I'm not trying to be mean here at all, I just don't want this, that's all. This concerns me a little with both the Accord and even more so on the Mazda 6, as it seems a little more sporty and is cheaper to buy than the Accord. We also plan to have at least 1 child in the next 2-4 years, so that is a part of my concern as well.

Am I crazy for thinking this way? I would hate to exclude a good quality vehicle, just because it's a common car out there on the road today.

I would definitely prefer or go with a V-6, no matter what car I decide on. I just like the availabilty of more power, so it's there if I really need to use it.

Jason: I will check out the 2004 Acura TSX. Though I think it's gonna be a tad bit out of my price range if purchased this year. Thank you for the suggestion.

2003 vs. 2004: I understand about how much I would be saving by buying a 2003 vs. a 2004 (initially). But something I also consider is the fact that you are already buying a year old car when you buy a 2003, and the resale value again comes into play when it comes time to trade it in/sell it off, you'll have a year older vehicle to get rid of at that point.

Now if the options/specs are basically the same on a 2003 vs. 2004 model, then it's more of a difficult choice for me. Finding a 2003 with the exact options and in the exact color we would be interested in might also be a problem due to availability with all the clearance sales going on right now. So, if we are hard set on a certain option or color, we may have to go 2004, or sacrifice some of our wants and go with a 2003.

Keep the suggestions coming. Posted Image Many thanks!

#14 of 51 OFFLINE   Andrew Testa

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Posted August 19 2003 - 10:20 AM


Trading in every few years definitely alters the strategy. Hondas have proven resale value, while the Mazda is a new vehicle, so its resale value in 5 years is unknown. However, it is almost definitely the least expensive V6 you'll find in any reliable make. You'll pay though the nose for an Accord V6.

Mazda is aiming to steal market share from the Accord and Camry, and they desperately need to move the 6 off the lots. The 6 has been selling on average 1/3 the number of units per dealer than the Accord. They'll be willing to deal right down to invoice price to make a sale.

I doubt either car will be associated with the teeny-bopper crowd. Despite marketing direction to make them sportier and sexier, they are still family sedans. The kiddy racers will flock to the Mazdaspeed Protege long before they'll look at the 6, and both cars have ample room and built in LATCH points for child seats. You'll be able to grow a family quite comfortably into either car.

Besides the V6, exactly which options or specs do consider requirements, and which are nice-to-haves? With both cars you'll find options grouped, so an exact match may require a custom order. I found that very few of the 6s models came with no options, although there were some. Several had one or two mid level options like the moonroof or Bose audio, the rest had various combinations of the pricier options like the sport package, comfort and leather, and several with the works. While the manual transmissions do exist, there are very few of them, and you won't get your pick of options. The 5 speed auto is everywhere, and is a major addition that comes with the V6 (4 cyl has a 4 speed).

When I decided on the Mazda, I made a list of every car within 200 miles of me (listing on the Mazda web sight) that matched what I wanted. I was able to sort by price, which gave me the cars with the lower priced options, and I could cut off a certain point when they got into stuff I didn't want. I was OK with getting a small option or two to get what I wanted: V6 manual in either red, yellow, or silver. I wound up adding a moonroof to get the lowest priced car in yellow in that area, and it was only an additional $500.

I'm not as well versed in the options on the Accord, since I made my choice before researching option combinations. But it appears that options are grouped into the trim lines, with fewer individual option choices.

Anyway, more subtle advertising for the Mazda. Posted Image


Also, if you can wait and it makes a difference in family planning, Mazda is putting out hatchback and wagon versions of the 6 in the 2004 models, probably sometime in the fall.

#15 of 51 OFFLINE   Michael D. Bunting

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Posted August 19 2003 - 11:47 AM

Okay, here are some brekdowns on the options I'm interested in for each vehicle:

2003 Mazda 6 s 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)

Posted Image

Posted Image

Base Price: MSRP: $21,220 - Invoice: $19,569

Options (below): MSRP: $6,605 - Invoice: $5,352

Incentives/Rebates: Rebate of $1,500 or Financing of 0.0% APR (Note: Incentives & Rebate N/A with 1SE Sports package option)

Edmunds.com TMV (True market Value) "What others are paying" $25,417 Includes $1500 Rebate & Destination Charge


(AT2) 5-Speed Sport AT
(1AP) Appearance Package
(LS1) Leather Seat Upholstery
(MR1) Power moonroof
(3RA) Bose Audio Package
(AB6) Side air bags and side air curtains
(CAP) Chrome Appearance Package
(RSW) Rear Wing Spoiler
(FOG) Fog Lights
(MRH) Compass/AutoDim Mirror with Homelink
(1CO) Comfort Package
(SPG) Sport Grille
(MRC) Compass/AutoDim Mirror
(CTO) Cargo Tray and Organizer
(FDS) Aluminum Fuel-Filler Door
(FLA) All-Weather Floor Mats
(SSU) Alarm Shock Sensor Upgrade
(CGT) Cargo Tray
(CGN) Cargo Net
(WLK) Wheel Locks

Note: On the Mazda 6, I'm undecided on the Sports (1SE) vrs. the Appearance Package (1AP). I will need to see one of each in person to make up my mind. For now, I went with the 1AP (Appearance package), because I read a few more positive things about it.

2003 Honda Accord EX V-6 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.0L 6cyl 5A)

Posted Image

Posted Image

Base Price: MSRP: $28,260 - Invoice: $25,472

Options (below): MSRP: $0 - Invoice: $0

Incentive/Rebates: Available 2.9% APR Financing (60 Months)

Edmunds.com TMV (True market Value) "What others are paying" $25,894 Includes Destination Charge.

I don't have a good breakdown of all the options on the Accord as of yet. The EX-V6 is the top of the line Accord, and includes a DVD based Navigation System (me like!) and Leather Interior.


So, after all is said and done, the Accord I want is basically $500 more than the Mazda 6 I want. So, price is not really going to be a consideration between these two vehicles.

Things I like about the Accord:

DVD navigation System
Interior: From pictures on the web, I like it better, looks more "adult"?

Slightly More Horsepower: 240HP on the Accord vs. 220HP on the 6.

Slightly Better Gas Mileage: 21/30 on the Accord vs. 20.27 on the 6


Things I like about the Mazda 6:

Exterior: The Mazda 6 looks a little more fancy than the Acccord, not as plain as the Accord, especially the rear end of the Accord.

Options: I'm probably getting alot more little options (floor mats, alarm upgrade, cargo tray organizers, etc).

Better (longer) Warranty: 4 years / 50,000 Miles


Again, thanks for all your help. I'm going to find a better listing of all the opions that are included on the Accord and list them shortly.

Keep the suggestions and input coming. Thanks!

#16 of 51 OFFLINE   Danny Tse

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Posted August 19 2003 - 11:50 AM

I am waiting for the Mazda 6 wagon myself (I can't believe I just said that)....

Posted Image
SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#17 of 51 OFFLINE   Michael D. Bunting

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Posted August 19 2003 - 01:19 PM

That's not a bad looking wagon Danny! I don't think I'm quite ready to be a wagon owner yet though. Give me a few more years anyway!

#18 of 51 OFFLINE   Mary M S

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Posted August 19 2003 - 01:26 PM

I test drove the Mazda 6 at Mazda’s rev-it-up, which is a wonderful promo Mazda runs. And Kudo's to Mazda for these promotions. I was underwhelmed by the M6 in fit/finish/handling/performance. There were 5 of us competing, and we all felt similar about that particular model. At speed in a cone course we all concurred that its handling was very reminiscent of the old American icon 'landcrusier' station wagons, the distinct feel of a boat sliding around on water. I would the second the recommendation to look at the Maxima, my sister (who is extremely particular for a female about her cars), Has owned one approx. 5-6 yrs? (long enough to pay it off). We’ve been pretty impressed with its power levels and long term low maintenance. None of us however have looked at the current crop of Maxima, So I’m not sure if they have cut corners since her model or if they are as dependable as in the past. I hope to not offend any who own and enjoy the Mazda 6 but after an afternoon driving it, if I was in the market for a 4 door mid, it would have been x-d off my list. Realize I come from a family who puts more and more importance in power band and torque and suspension and chassis rigidity than most. I even let that be the criteria for my mini-van purchase years ago. (engine power and torque). Not because I [ever] race around in a minivan, but because it’s extremely important to me that control and power is there for emergencies and the hectic on-ramp entrances in my city. The Mazda 6 I was highly disapointed in. (Mazda does have several great models). There are owners for every brand of car , just as in AV, (plasma haters-plasma lovers etc). So just my personal impression of the vehicle nothing more. I find it [very] helpful to pull up tech advisories on any car I consider (or it’s prior same platform-based siblings, if a new launch) for the last 2 yrs models, then I look to see if the manuf has addressed any of the known (or admitted to yet) issues with the newer year models. Best of luck in your search!
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#19 of 51 OFFLINE   David Susilo

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Posted August 19 2003 - 01:54 PM

If Mazda vs Honda is the choice, I'll pick the Mazda. However, although somewhat smallish, why don't you go with VW Jetta 1.8T Wolfsburg Edition? - eight speaker, CD and cassette head unit - tilting power moonroof - leather-wrapped, tilting & telescoping steering wheel - 16-inch alloy wheels - 180-hp, 1.8-liter Turbo, 172 lb/ft of torque at 1950rpm - 5-speed Tiptronic™ automatic transmission - side airbags - Driver's and front passenger's side airbags - 4-wheel ABS - Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control - Heated mirrors - Heated seats - Sports Suspension - 4 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty oh and the gas milage is 600 km per 55 litre tank with A/C on nearly 100% of the time, 50% non-highway drive, 100% pushing the car to its limit at every stop light (pushing from 0 to 60 kph from every single stop light). MSRP is US$18,000 for the brand-new 2003 model oh, and its ECU is easily flashed to give the engine boost to 210 HP (with 210 lb/ft torque at 1950 rpm, dyno tested) for merely (approx) US$300 and retains a very similar fuel economy (mine went down to 560 km/ 55 litre tank).

#20 of 51 OFFLINE   Bob Graz

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Posted August 19 2003 - 02:40 PM

If either car is ok by you and your wife really likes the Mazda 6, go with what she wants this time around. The Mazda 6 is a nice looking car, reasonably roomy and has gotten good reviews. It's also a pretty good value and Mazda has a good reputation.

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