2010 MazdaSpeed3

2010 MazdaSpeed3

Episode 2911
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

A few years back, Mazda nominated their capable Mazda3 Hatchback for the factory tuner game. They badged this sporty compact the MazdaSpeed3. The result was a killer combo of practical presence and unyielding performance. It was a true street racer at an affordable price. Well, now it’s take two for the MazdaSpeed3, as we wonder… what more can this little hot hatchback deliver?

The impression is immediate. Mazda’s 5-door 2010 MazdaSpeed3’s cartoonish presence makes the outgoing model look almost tame by comparison. And it’s the grill, with its leering mouthful of black plastic gills surrounded by swept-back cat-eye lighting that gets your attention and keeps it.

The most purposeful new front feature is a functional hood scoop that blasts the Speed3’s intercooler with fresh air. Rear styling is also more aggressive for 2010, with narrow, protruding taillights, more angular rear hatch, larger spoiler, and oversized dual exhaust tips. The RX-8 R3-inspired 18-inch alloy wheels are now shod with wider high-performance Dunlop tires.

But powering this front-drive, grocery-getting outlaw is the same direct injected, 263-horsepower 2.3-liter turbo four as before. Likewise, torque remains at an ample 280 pound-feet, all channeled through the Speed3’s only transmission, a very appropriate six-speed manual.

Gearing in second through fifth gears is taller for 2010, while a limited slip diff remains standard. Hard launches in the Speed3 still proved tricky, however. Too much throttle and the front wheels shudder; too little and it all bogs down. But making pavement connection has improved over our 2007 test, with the new tires, revised driveshafts and updated torque management electronics reducing torque steer in a big way.

In fact, our 0 to 60 time of 5.2 seconds is over a second quicker, with a similar improvement for the quarter mile at 13.9-seconds and 102 miles per hour. Short stops were never a problem with the Speed3: 60 to 0 in a fine average of 123 feet with a solid, vibration-free pedal. Plus, for 2010 Brake Assist has been added.

Through our long slalom, the MazdaSpeed3 again exhibited a more manageable amount of torque steer with less tendency to push at each apex. You still need to squeeze rather than stab the throttle for best control; but manage the gas well, and this little hatch rewards you with pure exhilaration.

We did notice that during the high speed lane change, the electro-hydraulic steering seemed to lose boost, going from light to very heavy in an instant. The previous generation Speed3 had a stiff ride, especially on rough roads. The new Speed’s strengthened body structure and suspension tweaks; stiffer springs, higher damper rates, and revised front stabilizer bar still leave most of the shock absorption to the comfy, high-bolstered seats.

They’re mostly black cloth, but the headrests and bolsters are trimmed in black leather and there are red highlights everywhere around the cabin.

The dash has a new-found flow, drawing the eye down the center stack to the brightwork around the shifter. The switchgear layout has been revised, and the digital display has moved to a shroud under the windshield.

Door sills, floor mats, and aluminum pedals are all unique to the MazdaSpeed3. A new LED turbo boost gauge between the tach and speedo is standard, as is Bluetooth and six airbags.

With our car’s Tech package, there’s also a 10-speaker Bose sound system, full-color navigation, and push-button start.

The back bench offers a reasonable amount of room for two adults, but not for three. But it’s impressively versatile. With the 60/40 seats up, there’s 17 cubic feet reserved for cargo. Folded flat, that figure swells to a useful 42.8 cubic feet.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 are 18 city/25 highway. On our mileage loop, we bettered both, managing 26.1 miles per gallon of premium. With an Energy Impact Score of 16.3 annual barrels of oil, and a Carbon Footprint of 8.7 tons of CO2, the MazdaSpeed3 falls right in line with the Subaru WRX.

As ever, the 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3 is priced to move, with a base of just $23,945. The Tech package adds $1,895 more. Mazda’s frisky MazdaSpeed3 continues as one of our all time favorites.  For 2010, in some ways - more refined, in others - more ferocious, but always entertaining. And, we might add, for a factory tuned hot hatchback, extremely affordable and even practical. Buy one and you’ll be grinning like a Cheshire cat, too!


  • Engine: 2.3-Liter Turbo Four
  • Horsepower: 263
  • Torque: 280 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.2 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.9 Seconds @ 102 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 123 Feet
  • EPA: 18 MPG City/ 25 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 26.1 MPG
  • Energy Impact: 16.3 Barrels Oil/Yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 8.7 Tons/Yr
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

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While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined