I admit the shapes of each car's five-sided grilles are similar, but where the Mazda looks sleek and sporty, the Honda is tall and imposing.
Our newest long-term test car, an Accord 2.0 Executive, shares this daunting presence with the grille and narrow-eye headlamp lenses resulting in an intimidating scowl at the front. It's almost like Darth Vader arriving at work after having burnt his toast at breakfast and being delayed by the late-running 8.14 to Paddington.
It's true that the Accord would look even more like the acolyte of the evil Emperor had it been finished in a darker paint colour, but our pale metallic green car offers some light relief.
One gripe about its appearance is the standard 15-inch wheels, which are far too weak for a car with such road presence.
Having covered nearly 5,000 miles before joining the Fleet News long-term fleet, two things have impressed me about the Accord. Both are related to its automatic transmission.
Despite being a conventional five-speed auto with a sequential manual shift facility, fuel consumption has been surprisingly good. The combined fuel consumption figure of 34.0mpg is already impressive for a 153bhp petrol auto (along with CO2 emissions of 196g/km), but on its first tank of fuel it achieved 36.2mpg.
With 5,000 miles already on the clock, the Accord seems to have settled down nicely in terms of its fuel consumption. Often, when we have tried low mileage Hondas in the past, we have struggled to reach the official fuel consumption figure.
The other impressive feature is the sequential shift coming very close to feeling like a manual car. Obviously the gearchange is much smoother, but the 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine is keen to take it to the 7,000rpm red line every time.
The Executive model includes leather trim with electrically adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, an in-dash six-CD autochanger and a charcoal coloured wood-effect trim – much more subtle than some of the brown wood available.
The Accord is a comfortable cruiser but it isn't really set up for tackling challenging B-roads. On its 15-inch wheels it isn't too long before the tyres run out of grip and the steering fails to communicate as well as some of its rivals in the semi-premium upper-medium sector, such as the new Saab 9-3 and Alfa Romeo 156.
However, it is roomy and refined and it holds its value well – CAP predicts a residual value of 37% over three years/ 60,000 miles.
That's exceptional from a brand like Honda, which is still very much associated with the mainstream manufacturers, and a high-specification model like the Executive with automatic transmission.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (40% taxpayer): £152 per month