2013 Mazdaspeed3 – Hits the performance sweet spot!

The hot and spicy performance version of the popular Mazda3 hatchback called the Mazdaspeed 3 is part of that breed known as the “hot hatches ” offering speed, excitement and practicality without the comprise of a low slung two –door coupe. This current generation Mazdaspeed 3 offers the prerequisite demands in this sector; namely the sporty looks, technical specs, fire breathing turbo charged engine, handling and braking performance.

Looks wise the Mazdaspeed3 delivers with an aggressive front fascia, a dramatic looking hood scoop, rear roof spoiler and the cool black finished 18- inch wheels and tire combo. However it still has four doors enough room inside it to be a sensible family hatchback. Inside it is a boy racers dream with bright red lighting for the instruments, red color coordinated upholstery, bucket seats and sports foot pedals. But it is also refined with 3-position memory seating for the driver’s seat, all the creature comforts one could wish for, convenience gadgets and a large easy to read tachometer. The rear doors, a decent sized rear cabin with proper seating for two adults or three kids and enough cargo room for a two- teen family all add to a very attractive package.

However it is all the technical stuff performance fans love and the Mazdaspeed3 does not disappoint. There is a six-speed manual transmission as well as a sporty suspension setup for the stiffer body and chassis. A turbocharged 2.3L 4-cylinder engine is a the heart of this rocket, producing a whopping 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a Warner-Hitachi K-04 turbo unit and its 15 psi of boost which does very nicely thank you.

To cap it off the aforementioned 6-speed manual gearbox adds a torque-sensing conical limited-slip differential and: Traction control system (TCS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) and other gadgets to ensure all that power gets to the ground.

The Mazdaspeed 3 proves to be a vastly entertaining car when driven hard and safely on suitable empty roads. There is little body roll as it understeers delightfully and grips like glue in the corners. The best way to drive the Mazdaspeed 3 is firm and with intention once you get used to the sensitive clutch pedal’s high biting point and snap off up shifts quickly with judicious use of the right pedal. The 2,700 rpm and near 5,600 rpm range is where you can max out the performance without getting into trouble.

I like the quick responsive steering and nimble go cart-like handling when you really care the Mazdaspeed3 through the bends. The car’s electro-hydraulic power assisted steering (EHPAS) is well weighted and precise. It is sublime how that front end settles down and flattens around turns. However like most small performance cars equipped with a high strung turbo engine Ana manual transmission the Mazdaspeed3 is not relaxing to drive and demands full driver engagement to make the most of this front-wheel drive, torque- happy, hot rod. Fast starts can emit a squeal of tires; however stability control mainly engages to limit wheel spin. I have to say the Mazdaspeed3 will not appeal to the lazy or those who like to dawdle along with an automatic transmission. This is a car that positively engages drivers in the process of sporty driving.

Brakes are very good as they should be in this pocket-rocket with the oversized discs at all four corners. The binders are well modulated and feel fade free even after some fast heavy braking.
To sum up the MazdaSpeed3 is a fast, practical, family car with four doors, decent seating space, and a versatile cargo area. So whether you are a young single with friends who like to jam around, or a young couple with kids and a dog this is a sensible car. Down sides well? Fuel economy is not stellar and driving exuberantly sees you filling up more frequently. But overall the Mazdaspeed 3 is an exceedingly cool car. Recommended for performance buffs who truly relish driving. Review by Veeno Dewan.

2013 Mazdaspeed3 Priced from $29,995 – $32,635 (More info at www.mazda.ca)