Mazdaspeed, Mazda's internal high-performance tuning and race division, has a long history in Japan. Known for producing exciting limited-edition performance models, the division began making cars for North America in the mid-2000s. The Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 was only the third Mazda in America to receive the full Mazdaspeed treatment. It has since been replaced by the second-generation car, the differently named Mazda Mazdaspeed 3, which is reviewed here.
Based on the Mazda 3 hatchback, the Mazdaspeed 3 featured a turbocharged engine, a sport-tuned suspension and many other exclusive components. A used Mazdaspeed 3 is a performance bargain that should appeal to any enthusiast thanks to its balance of speed, practicality and affordability. However, pre-owned examples are likely to have been driven hard, so we'd advise proceeding with caution.
Most Recent Mazdaspeed 3
Produced from 2007-'09, the Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 was based on the original Mazda 3, which debuted for 2004. It was available in two trims: Sport and Grand Touring. Standard features on the Sport included full power accessories and a six-speaker CD stereo, while the Grand Touring added niceties like a Bose sound system with a six-CD changer and xenon HID headlights and rain-sensing wipers. A navigation system was optional. There were no changes made during the Mazdaspeed 3's production run.
In reviews, our editors noted the Mazdaspeed Mazda 3's tuner attitude, which was epitomized by its aftermarket-style exhaust system, replete with a faint but noticeable drone at highway speeds. The suspension was more firmly tuned than the regular Mazda 3's. This helped the car have sharp handling, but it could become a little unsettled when driven hard on bumpy pavement. One other drawback to the Mazdaspeed 3 was torque steer under hard acceleration, a result of the car's powerful front-drive layout. Some owners have found this trait to be endearing, however, feeling that it adds a bit of personality to the car.