2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed3: Quick Drive Page 2

January 12, 2012
Anne Proffit photo

Anne Proffit photo

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There are some updates I'd like to see on the 2012 Mazdaspeed3, if the manufacturer has any interest: I'd like to see the cruise controls minimized - at this point cruise is actuated on the lower left and lower right of the steering column with huge buttons that look like they came from a parts bin; I'd like to see a heavier clutch action and a shorter throw to the gearshift lever.  But that's about it!

What I enjoy about the Mazdaspeed3 - aside from its exquisite road manners - is the inclusion of great manual seats with very good lumbar and lateral support, necessary in such a sporting machine.  I like the bi-level central storage with its 12-volt and auxiliary plugs that add to the 12V at the base of the central stack.  I like the fact that all the Speed3's controls are intuitive and easy to use (with the exception of that cruise control), the fantastic space in the rear of 17-cubic feet of cargo space that increases to 42.8 cubes when the 60/40 rear fold is utilized.  This might not be best-in-class space but it's all usable - and isn't that what matters?

Anne Proffit photo

Anne Proffit photo

Enlarge Photo
Anne Proffit photo

Anne Proffit photo

Enlarge Photo

I like the perimeter entry - and the perimeter alarm - and appreciate the pushbutton start/stop button.  I think it's great there are cup holders in all four doors and a pull-down armrest in the rear seat for added beverages.  There are hooks at the rear to secure any cargo and - good for me - a driver's height adjustment.  The steering wheel controls work exceptionally well - even the phone syncs kindly - and I like the little pod atop the central stack with info and navigation.  The navigation system never gets lost and is extremely simple to use.

Anne Proffit photo

Anne Proffit photo

Enlarge Photo

After a week gallivanting around Southern California in the 2012 Mazdaspeed3, I just wish I had an extra $27 large to plunk down on one of my own.  Mazda makes cars that drivers - real drivers - can covet and enjoy.  The Speed3 is certainly the epitome of Mazda's Zoom-Zoom culture.

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