Outside of a 2009/2010 Subaru WRX, nothing comes close to an all-purpose sports car than this little 2008 MS3 rocket ... and it looks so innocent! When it was purchased in 2008, the 2008 Subaru was not a performance match to this car, and it was over $2000. more than the Mazdaspeed 3 GT. Easy decision then and I'm glad I made it. It performs well in interior space for moderate hauling of things while having decent space for two adults in the back seat and loads of headroom in the front seat. All of this with great road-holding, good steering feel, great brakes and lot's and lot's of power ... almost too much torque for the front wheel drive ... but much fun to drive in spite of it.
A pure sleeper with the looks of a (gulp) small station wagon - but with the tire grip, handling and power of a good $40K sportscar. Virtually no turbo lag so it feels like a small potent V8 in a 3200 pound car while the cornering power and brakes are better than my old 2004 RSX Type-S ... sweet!
Use the power after the car is rolling or you'll find the biggest gripe - the torque steer and (if it's wet out) the wheel hop. Anywhere it gets below 50 degrees, you do need all-weather tires as a cold weather tire. Otherwise, my only complaint is the inaccuracy of the trip computer for mileage.
Best driving front wheel drive auto period. Great handling, performance and braking. Two years without the first problem. Have comfortably driven 600 mile days and mileage has ranged between 18mpg city and 31 highway. Ride is firm but not uncomfortable for this 70 plus senior. Traded the car in Feb10 due to lack of luggage space for 3 or more.
Performance, styling, 6 speed transmission and reliability.
Adjustable headlights (as on 2010 Mazda5). Different OEM tires. Didn"t like the Bridgstones due to noise and rapid wear. Car is great for two but lacks luggage space for 3 or 4.
I purchased this car used to replace my 2005 Nissan 350Z. I got it because I test drove one and people had recommended it. I enjoy tricking out cars and have added many upgrades to this vehicle. It responds very well to mods and it ridiculously fast. People will talk trash and compare speed to a 350Z. Having had modded versions of this car and modded 350Z this car is definitely faster, the turbo is what seals the deal and sounds great when you open it up and mod it with a louder intake system and bypass valve. The 350Z is of course more sporty looking and RWD and a coupe, but having upgraded to this being my first 4-door car, I was pleasantly happy with my purchase.
The turbo sounds great when you add a few mods to the motor. It is very responsive to mods. It is very fast and can hang with the best of them. The interior and build quality is top notch and does not appear to be cheap in any way. This car is a great deal for the price it costs to buy one.
I would love to have seen a 2-door coupe option. Also a stock front-mount intercooler would have been aesthetically pleasing compared to the hidden top mounted one. Also a hood scoup would have been better for added looks if they were to keep the top mount intercooler, which they added in 2010.
2008 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 New Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I bought this 2008 speed 3 new but in January 09. I got a great price as the vehicle was discounted greatly to move it. It's definitely the great value that everyone has said it is and yet lately I have found myself at dealerships in search of a step up. The car is fast but the ride and handling don't reach my previous VR6 Jetta, driving experience despite more speed and power. The torque steer is enormous comparatively and the ride and handling are not up to par. I also happen to be an audio nut and the Bose sound system is quite awful. The speakers sounded crappy, the bass bloated and the system has a noise circuit that makes the volume fluctuate uncontrollably. It has been replaced.
Cool exterior styling, cool interior styling, engine prowess which is pure speed.
It is insanely ridiculous to not offer a sunroof for open air driving on nice sunny days. Up grade the suspension and please drop the Bose system and install something that sounds good.
My husband bought it for me, I'd not driven one, ever. Love the concept: small 4 door hatch, manual, fast, etc, BUT can't drive it very long cause the seats are painfully stiff. Only had it a day, but probably will sell soon. My butt and hips are literally numb on the sides from the awful seats.
nimble; very responsive, in every way. All you have to do is THINK about where you want to go, and it happens, effortlessly.
seats are very uncomfortable for me. I am 55, female, normal weight, but these seats are a nightmare.