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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
“The faster you go, the stronger the car grows”
“The engine outruns the turbo at around 6,000 rpm”
“Improved refinement is immediately noticeable”
As a performance-oriented version of the 2010 Mazda3, the MazdaSpeed3’s entire reason for being rests in its mechanicals. While some might be initially disappointed to learn that those mechanicals are largely unchanged from the previous MazdaSpeed3, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 is still highly capable and one of the best-performing hatchbacks on the road.
The 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3 soldiers on with the same engine as in the previous version, which Jalopnik says “remains largely unchanged for 2010 with 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.” The 2.3-liter turbocharged mill helps the five-door hit 60 mph “in 6.4 seconds (6.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip),” according to Edmunds reviewers. Those numbers lag slightly behind last year’s MazdaSpeed3, but as Edmunds points out, “4th-gear acceleration is clearly stouter in the new car” thanks to the “larger air intake and new hood scoop” that become more effective at higher speeds. The MazdaSpeed3 offers a large power band, but Autoblog reports that “the engine outruns the turbo at around 6,000 rpm,” where “forward momentum falls off, but it’s not as precipitous as the last MS3.”
Enthusiasts will appreciate that all 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3s come exclusively with a manual transmission, but that might limit its mass appeal. Popular Mechanics states that the gearing has been revised, with “a broader range of ratios to capitalize on the 2.3-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged Four’s copious torque spread.” Autoblog loves the new gearing, finding that they “land directly inside the torque curve when short-shifting at the self-imposed six-grand redline.” The only real criticism comes from Edmunds, where reviewers observe that “the new car exhibits a time-sapping wiggle after each gearchange,” the result of throttle-limiting designed to preserve the drivetrain elements.
The 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3 offers respectable fuel economy given its performance potential, but it’s sure not going to be on the Sierra Club’s Top 10 list. The EPA rates the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 at 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
A little suspension tuning goes a long way, at least on the 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3. Although the MazdaSpeed3 boasts a suspension similar to the last-generation MazdaSpeed3, Popular Mechanics says that drivers “have found this new one to ride better.” Jalopnik notes that the few suspension changes “improve the ride by better controlling impacts and minimizing their invasiveness on the chassis.” Edmunds adds that “only the worst bumps reveal that this platform could still use a bit more suspension travel,” but otherwise the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 is cool and collected. Steering feel is commendable as well, with Motor Trend reporting that the electric steering is “well weighted at high speeds, but not heavy when putting around parking lots.” Mazda even remembers to upgrade the brakes, providing what Edmunds calls a “commendably short” stopping distance of “113 feet from 60 mph.”
The 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3 is much more fun to drive than most other subcompacts, and it returns very impressive fuel economy.