2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed MAZDA3 Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed MAZDA3 Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 263 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3

  • Possessing impressive performance capabilities as well as plenty of daily-use utility, the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 is our favorite sport compact.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Screaming performance and value, impressive stability at high speed, well-constructed and comfortable interior, hatchback utility.

  • Cons

    Annoying torque steer in certain situations, suspension loses composure on rough roads, so-so fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2009

    There are no changes for the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3.

Full 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Review

What's New for 2009

There are no changes for the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3.


The 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 is sorta like George Foreman, only there's no Mazdaspeed Lean Mean Grilling Machine and it doesn't hawk mufflers for Meineke. Other than that, totally analogous. Even though it's based on the aging 3, the 'Speed 3 keeps knocking out the competition, just like George.

Like any good high-performance special edition, the Mazdaspeed 3 benefits from being based on an excellent car to begin with. Frequently hailed as the most enjoyable car in its class to drive, the regular Mazda 3 lends some very regal bloodlines. The 'Speed 3 takes those genes and adds a turbocharged engine that cranks output up to a sensational 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

But the transformation from civilized 3 to "MS3" doesn't stop with the powertrain. In addition to the usual litany of changes like a lowered ride height and firmer springs and dampers, Mazda added various braces to minimize flex during aggressive cornering. Eighteen-inch wheels and performance tires are fitted to each corner for better grip, while larger brakes produce stopping distances suitable for a high-end sports car.

All these upgrades make the Mazdaspeed 3 the top dog in its segment. On a smooth road with sweeping turns, the 3 can keep pace with almost anything in this price range, including some rear-drive and all-wheel-drive cars. Meanwhile, the comfortable and well-equipped cabin and the utility provided by the four-door hatchback body style makes this small dynamo a great daily driver.

The ability to provide knockout acceleration, excellent handling manners and hatchback practicality at a very reasonable price has made the Mazdaspeed 3 a victor in every comparison test we've put it in. Rivals like the Honda Civic Si, Mini Cooper S, Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI have all fallen at its feet. While some may offer a little more of this or a tad more of that -- particularly AWD and available automatic transmissions -- the mighty 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 is still the best bet in its weight class.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 is available only as a four-door hatchback and in two trim levels: Sport and Grand Touring. The Sport comes standard with 18-inch wheels, performance tires, a limited-slip front differential, a roof spoiler, automatic climate control, sport seats, a tilt/telescoping steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with built-in audio and cruise controls, special Mazdaspeed interior trim, electroluminescent gauges and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and pre-wiring for satellite radio. The Grand Touring adds auto on/off xenon headlights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, leather seat bolsters, a trip computer and a seven-speaker Bose stereo with an in-dash six-CD changer. A navigation system with satellite radio is optional on the Grand Touring.

Powertrains and Performance

The Mazdaspeed 3's 2.3-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder engine pumps out 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. All that power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, the only transmission available. A limited-slip differential and an electronic torque limiter (which regulates the torque based on gear selection and steering position) are used to enhance traction and minimize torque steer.

Acceleration is exhilarating, with the 0-60 sprint taking just 5.9 seconds and a blast through the quarter-mile taking only 14.2 seconds. That turbocharged power takes a toll on fuel economy; the EPA estimates 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard. In frontal-impact crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the standard Mazda 3 scored four stars out of five. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the standard Mazda 3 received a "Good" rating (the highest on a scale of four) in frontal-offset impact tests. No side-impact crash tests have been conducted with a Mazda 3 equipped with side airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

Like the rest of the Mazda 3 line, the Mazdaspeed 3 boasts a cabin with a distinctive and upscale design. It also shares the same large, clear gauge layout, precise controls, high-grade materials and tight build quality. Unique touches for the Mazdaspeed edition include more aggressively bolstered front sport seats, aluminum pedals, a red-and-black color scheme and "Mazdaspeed"-embossed floor mats. Accommodations up front are first-class, and even taller drivers should be able to get comfortable. The well-shaped and supportive backseat is fine for those under 6 feet tall, but taller passengers will feel pinched for legroom. Cargo capacity stands at 17 cubic feet behind the rear seats and expands to 31 cubes when those seats are folded. The 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 is fun to drive and practical -- a definite win-win.

Driving Impressions

Launching the 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 is always exciting, as the turbocharged engine offers tremendous low-end thrust. Turbo lag is virtually nonexistent, and this is an easy car to get into and drive fast. Of course, should you nail the gas mid-turn -- say at a left-turn arrow -- be prepared for a "Whoa Nelly!" moment of torque steering as all that prodigious power yips and yaws the steering wheel on you. In a straight line and when up to speed, it's much less of a problem.

Fling the Mazdaspeed 3 down a smooth ribbon of road and you can carry as much speed through sweeping turns as you could in more elite rear-drive and AWD cars. Credit goes to the sport-tuned hatchback's prodigious midrange torque, stiff suspension and considerable grip. The steering is exceptionally responsive when just off center, which makes flicking through transitions as easy as it is quick. Suspension damping is adequate on smooth pavement, but on rougher roads with tighter turns, the MS3 can get a little unsettled. Braking performance is outstanding for a car in this price range, with a stop from 60 mph taking only 111 feet.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Still impressed after 3 years

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

On the advice of a car dealer/racer friend I purchased my Speed3 after first test driving the GTI, WRX sti, Mini S, Lancer RalleyArt and Cobalt SS. This car made me say "Holy cr@p!" more than any of the others. The Speed3 was an upgrade from my 2005 Pontiac GTO which was incredibly fast, but lacked cornering, braking, space, utility, and was extremely expensive to own. The Mazda is a much more complete performance car. After 36,000 miles it's still capable of shocking the bejeezus out of me with its acceleration, cornering, and braking. I've had no quality issues, rattles, squeaks. etc. We take this car on long trips instead of my wife's Maxima because it's more comfortable. I love this car!

Great (except dealer-autotown mazda, portland

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Possibly the "best" car, for the money, I've ever had! (Except for dealership experience--see my review, no, see ALL the Edmunds reviews of the AutoTown [violative content deleted]) I previously had an '02 Z06, and while it was more HPDE capable, the 'speed3 is more enjoyable at all "public streets" speeds, and twice the value/dollar as the 'vette (assuming you don't need the "Corvette ego massage.") I've enjoyed a "decadent 2nd childhood" the last 20 yrs--including 2 M3s, 3 SVT Cobras (2 "R"s), and a few '60s muscle cars--and the 'speed3 is a balanced highlight, overall. I'm waiting 'til the warranty's used up before I try any mods (that could be used as an excuse to void my warranty); 2013 s/be fun.

Fantastic car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I spent over a year researching cars to buy when I finally got a job after college and I finally decided on the Mazdaspeed 3. I lucked out and found a Grand Touring model with the windows already tinted and it only had about 5K miles on it. I LOVE this car!! By far the best bang for your buck when it comes to performance cars. I am an aggressive driver and this car handles and BRAKES on a dime! The only problem I have ever had is the pistons have misfired a few times due to bad gasoline. Currently at about 34K miles and going strong! I also highly recommend getting the Test Pipe from StreetUnit.com, it's awesome and gives you a 20 HP boost for only $160!!

Definitely worth the price

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Bought it new in 2009 and I was in love with it. 1200 miles later, my turbo start failing during acceleration. Take it in, I'm told Mazda knows about it but there's no fix. Take it in a second time, they basically ignore me. There are tons of rattles and squeaks that start to develop, though most will go away if you squirt some WD40 on it or shove some foam somewhere to create pressure to stop the rattling (like the steering column). It's still a fun car and definitely worth the money. There are some things that I do love about it, but I'm going to move on since this car isn't exactly great for stop and go traffic that I'm typically stuck in. (Didn't have a commute when I bought it.)

Upgrade from a civic si

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I had a 2007 Honda Civic SI 4dr which was my "dream car" before this MS3. I put 90K miles on it in 2 years and needed another inexpensive "fun to drive" sales rep commuter vehicle. I had owned a 2003.5 Mazda Speed Protege so the MS3 was my next logical choice. This car performs "way beyond my wildest expectations". While in stock form, the SI actually corners harder, the motor in the MS3 is amazing!! Another surprise, if you shift the MS3 at 3000 RPM's or below you can achieve 30MPG! I find this truly amazing!! 280 Ft Lbs of torque and still better Hwy mileage than a Honda Civic SI! The build quality is exceptional and I just did the 30K service and a set of tires! That's it, ZERO defects!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Bang for the buck.

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda3 Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

No other car sold in America, in 2009, gave you more. Performance and Fun for the Money. Not Even Close!

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Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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