2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Last Drive (with Video)
November 29, 2010
You'll recall that I was all excited about going for one last drive in our long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 over the Thanksgiving holidays. Well, I'm happy to report that I did indeed make the drive to Mt Palomar in San Diego County, California, and that readers stovt001 (2006 MX-5 Miata Sport) and liquoredonlife (2010 Mazdspeed 3 in Liquid Silver) were able to join us. Another reader and Miata owner, rdryder, had planned to drive with us but ran into a scheduling conflict due to my last-minute planning. Sorry, Mark. Randomly, we ran into another Liquid Silver MS3 on the mountain.
It was a cool day, but Mt Palomar is only about 5,500 feet at its summit so the roads (Highways S6 and S7) up to it were clear of snow, with just a hint of white stuff at the top. The S6 (aka, Palomar Mountain Road) is pretty much non-stop curves for 7 miles from California Highway 76 to the S7. It's not as tight and technical as our local playground, Glendora Mountain Road, so in a Mazdaspeed 3, you can pretty much use 3rd gear the whole way.
But I like heel-and-toeing, so I looked for opportunities to downshift anyway, despite the fact that changing down gears is a deliberate process in the MS3. In any case, the three Mazdas, along with SubyTrojan's '04 WRX, got a mostly clear run up Palomar Mountain Road.
Immediately, I remembered how much I like the Mazdaspeed 3's combination of mid-range torque, tight body control and eagerness to change directions. Cornering hard is just so easy in this car, and the MS3 talks to you the whole way so there's never any doubt about what's going on with tire grip. And the seating position in this car just fits me to a T, with excellent visibility in all directions. Wow, am I going to miss our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3.
In addition to photos of all the cars, I made a 3:40 video clip of a portion of the drive down Palomar Mountain. That's liquoredonlife's Mazdaspeed 3 driving in front of me. This is exactly the kind of driving you should be doing in a Mazdaspeed 3. I can't think of a more fitting send-off. Thank you, Tyler and Alan, for making the not-short drive to rural San Diego County to observe the occasion. (You'll note there's quite a bit of background noise in the video. The windows were closed, so I can only chalk this up to ambient noise in the hatch area combined with potential Kodak Zx3 camera shake on the suction cup mount.)
It turns out that liquoredonlife knows his way around a camera far better than I do, so you should also check out the photos he shot on Saturday on his flickr.
And between the drive to Palomar and various errands, I drove almost 600 miles in the Mazdaspeed 3 over the weekend.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 23,426 miles