2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Long Term Road Test - Interior
ADVERTISEMENT

2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Long-Term Road Test

Interior

Back to All Long-Term Vehicles


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: A Moment of Clarity

November 23, 2010

MS3_navBright_01.gif

A while back I noted that our Mazdaspeed 3's navigation screen lacked contrast at night. At the time, I couldn't find an adjustment for brightness/contrast, only a night and day setting. I was stuck in stop and go traffic last night and while stationary, I found the elusive brightness/contrast sliders in the information preferences menu, not under the nav menus. Adjusting the screen for night driving, however, isn't as intuitive as I thought.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Art Appreciation...or Not

November 03, 2010

ms3 seats full sz.jpg

Looks like somebody in Mazda's interior design studio has a thing for Op Art. This form of art and fashion took place primarily in the 1960s -- no wonder considering its hallucinogenic vibe.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Blues in the Night

October 22, 2010

mazda3bluelighting.jpg

Like editor Erin Riches, I really like the soothing blue ambient light that shines down on the center console of our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. It's just bright enough to give you an idea of where you put your phone, wallet, parking card but not so bright that it distracts you or ruins your nighttime vision...although red lighting probably would have been better in that case. Regardless, it's purty.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Eine Kleine NachtMonitor

October 21, 2010

MS3Navi_night.jpg

Fall is here. That means no more driving home when the sun is still out. After I hopped into our Mazdaspeed 3 last night for the journey home, I decided to give the navigation a run through. My biggest complaint: the monitor itself.

Strike One: It's small. About the same size as my iPhone screen. It's also placed a little too far away for its size.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Door Sill Plates

September 28, 2010

mazdaspeed 3 door sill plate.jpg

I happen to think that door sill plates can really class up a joint. What say you -- classy or cheesy? They're standard on the Mazdaspeed 3.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 19,600 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Controls Feel Good

September 24, 2010

mazda mazdaspeed center stack.jpg

The layout of the Mazdaspeed 3's center stack is a bit busy for my tastes. However, I really like the feel of the controls. Everything feels substantial, not flimsy, and the knobs move with careful precision.

Are flimsy controls a turn-off for you, or is this one of those things that only automotive journalists care about?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 19,400 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Here, Let Me Fix That For You

September 21, 2010

2010 mazdaspeed3 cc buttons.jpg

As mentioned a few months ago by my esteemed colleague Ms Riches, there's a lot going on with our longterm 2010 Mazdaspeed 3's cruise control interface, which in turn makes for a busy steering wheel.

I don't find the Mazdaspeed's cruise especially difficult to use, but it is unnecessarily button-y. So let's take care of that.

First off, there is absolutely no need at all under any circumstance to have an "on/off" button for the cruise, never mind two buttons to achieve it. Just leave it "on" all the time like some other automakers do. Why would anyone ever turn it off? Drivers that don't want to cruise will continue to not press "set." Easy solution.

Not only that but the Mazdaspeed (as do certain other automakers' cars) defaults to "off" at every key cycle, which just drives me batty. Freakin' overly paranoid lawyers...

Second -- the "resume" and "set +" functions can be combined into a single button. There, we just got rid of another button. While we're revising things, let's convert the raised nub on the "set -" button to a concave dimple like Erin noted. Good suggestion, Erin. I'll keep you in mind at Christmas.

So, here, let me fix that for you, Mazda:

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: One Big Knob

September 20, 2010

One-Big-Knob.jpg

This, friends, is how it should be. One big knob for tuning the radio. I'm tired of punching buttons. Aren't you?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Illuminating Thoughts

September 09, 2010

IP-Daylight-Illum.jpg

Here's how the instrument panel appears on the Mazdaspeed 3 every time I climb behind the wheel for a long drive home after dark. Notice anything peculiar here?

I'll help after the jump.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Half Inch vs. 1,000 Miles

August 31, 2010

2010_mazdaspeed3_int_mazda_lt_9998_1.jpg

It's hard to believe, but sometimes a half inch makes a difference in 1,000 miles. In this case, it's the distance between my hip and the throttle pedal of the Mazdaspeed 3, which is a half inch too short for me to be able to drive 1,000 miles.

When you're on the road all day, an automobile's driving position becomes more than just an abstraction. You encounter the layout of the controls, the placement of the seat and even the way the pedals work in the most physical way possible, and the slightest ergonomic miscues become physical aches and pains and even compromise your ability to drive the car effectively.

So if the driving position doesn't fit, you notice. And the driving position of the Mazdaspeed 3 doesn't fit me.

It's not really Mazda's problem entirely. Every company has its own set of human factors that determine the typical driving position in its cars, a combination of dimensions related to safety and comfort that are set down in its big engineering book of standards and practices, the recipe book for building a car that every automobile company compiles over time. And one element of the determination of a car's driving position is the size of the people expected to drive it. That's why the driving position of the Honda Fit and the Volvo S80 are entirely different.

And the Mazda 3 from which the Mazdaspeed 3 is derived is scaled for someone just a bit shorter than me. That's all well and good, because a driver seat is adjustable for just this reason. The trouble is, you can't move the pedals, too. So the gas pedal is just half inch too close for me. This shouldn't be more than an annoyance, but in a car like the Mazdaspeed 3 it's a disaster.

There are general issues of comfort, of course. You have to consciously pull your foot a little farther off the gas when you're decelerating. You have to readjust your internal calibration that tells you where the brake pedal is in relation to the gas pedal. Instead of easily articulating your ankle, you find yourself moving your leg. And as you inevitably tire over the course of a long day on the road, your foot gets lazy and you're leaning on the gas pedal all the time.

With the Mazdaspeed 3, a little weirdness with the gas pedal also leads to some weirdness in your driving. The light-effort action of the throttle pedal really bothers me anyway, because it ends up artificially giving you big throttle responses even when you're trying to be precise. So with the throttle pedal a bit too close, I find myself zinging the throttle like a fool at low speed because I'm trying to coordinate the snappish clutch pedal. And the fact that the relatively big turbo comes on boost with a bang is one more thing that conspires against my ability to find balance in throttle inputs at high speed.

So it turns out that a half inch difference in where the Mazdaspeed 3's throttle is placed makes me drive like an idiot when I'm going fast and feel painfully clumsy and out of sorts when I'm driving slow. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel would help a little bit, but probably I won't be happy until Mazda changes its standards and practices to incorporate a driving position scaled for slightly larger people, much as Nissan did when it designed the 350Z.

All in all, it's a reminder that the ergonomics of a car's driving position have more to do with your ability to drive than you realize.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 17,954 miles.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Sojourn to Solvang

August 26, 2010

ms3 and solvang 005.jpg

Suffering from big city burnout (chronic crowds and traffic), my girlfriend and I decided to take a little road trip. The destination? Solvang, CA, which is about 130 miles up the coast (and about 15 miles inland) from Santa Monica. A quaint Danish town located in Santa Ynez wine country, Solvang makes for a nice one-nighter get-away. We sampled Danish pastry, visited the Solvang motorcycle museum and checked out the Gainey vineyard. The long-term car choice was between our two Mazdas; I opted for the MS3.

Follow the jump for notes and pics of the trip.

The 'speed 3 had most of my basic requirements for a road trip vehicle -- firmly supportive seats (especially for my lower back), navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth, generous cargo capacity, effortless power and a decent ride. Although its display is rather small, the navi worked fine with clear visual and auditory prompts. We left L.A. at 10 am to minimize traffic and were able to cruise at 70-75 for most of the way up there on the 101. My only notable gripe with the MS3 was the abundance of road noise that had me cranking the stereo's volume to 30 (forget "11"). To be fair, said noise was/is "optimized" via the grooved concrete superslab that makes up much of the freeways around these parts.

The MS3 averaged 24 mpg for the trip, not too bad considering ambient temps were 90 to 105 degrees, the A/C was on if the car was, I enjoyed the curvy parts of the 154 and the EPA highway estimate is 25 mpg.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed3: Butterface

August 11, 2010

ms3_butterface.jpg

I've driven our Mazdaspeed3 for the last two nights and it's a blast to drive. I don't think anybody can argue that. It's got awesome acceleration, a great engine note and it handles like it's on rails.

Butterface.

Yeah, everyone has a butterface story. Lord knows some of them are pretty cruel. This is another one to add to the lore. It's a lot of fun, great personality, buuuuuuuuuuut.... Combine the mug only a mother can love with the funky fabric I'm not a fan of, the useless small navigation screen Ed Hellwig recently blogged about, and I wonder if this is such a great car.

Can you overlook it's looks and some funkiness? Would you drop your money on this car?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Now, That's Not Something You See Every Day

August 04, 2010

mazdaspeedfootwell.jpg

You know what's cool about this picture? OK, it's not a cool picture at all, even though I tried to art it up via Photoshop. In any case, what's really cool about the lights in the footwell of our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is that not only are they blue but they only turn on when you park the car. A very nice, and pretty, way to find your heels that you took off while driving. Compare this feature to those in cars like the Scion xB where it's "Night at the Roxbury" throughout your drive, unless you opt to keep them off altogether, that is.

I asked vehicle interior expert on staff, Al Austria, if these blue footwell lights were in fact unusual. And he said that interior lights coming on when you park? No. Footwell lights? Common in luxury cars. BLUE footwell lights when you park a car? Highly unusual. So there you have it. Feel free to use this as your wallpaper.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 14,582 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: This Space Reserved

August 02, 2010

MS3 Blank Switches.JPG

Erin let me borrow her long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed3 for the weekend and I noticed that on the switchpod to the left of the steering wheel there are a lot of blank switches. There's 3 blank switches surrounding the stability control (DSC) defeat switch, and a big blank switch to the right of that.

My curious point is that this isn't some base-level luxury car with only a few of the gazillion options available. Our MS3 is well-equipped and doesn't have too many possible options that would be controlled by switches in that location.

I can't imagine what Mazda is saving those switches for. The Cruise master switch is off of the steering wheel, and Adaptive Cruise (ACC) and swiveling headlamps (AFS) aren't available on the MS3. Hmmmm.

What in the world are they saving those switches for? An export market perhaps?

I'll dig a little and see if I can solve this...unless you Mazda fanbois know the answers.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 14,500 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Is This Nav System Any Better Than a Phone?

July 30, 2010

mazda3-navscreen.jpg

That's the question that pops into my head every time I see the navigation screen in the Mazdaspeed 3. It's so small and distant looking the way it's buried in the dashboard. I don't have an iPhone, but even a regular ol' cellphone seems as easy to use and readable as the Mazda's setup.

Then again, the issue of in-car navigation in general is only getting more blurred as external devices improve their capabilities and reduce their cost. Wonder how long it will take for manufacturers to get rid of them altogether in favor of freeing up dashboard space?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 14,376 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Well Hello Dolly

July 26, 2010

Hello Dolly.jpg

Our long-term Mazdaspeed 3 got looped into Home Depot Duty this weekend. No major appliances to get home, but we did need to move some. I made the trip down to the tool rental outlet solo to borrow a furniture dolly, expecting it eat into front passenger space. The dolly was just over 60-inches long, and I was thinking there's no way it would fit in back with just the rear seats folded.

Not only did the dolly fit (running straight back, and not canted sideways), but the front passenger seat could be moved back about halfway into its seat travel, making front passenger space wholly adequate if not spacious. Running straight back also meant I could have used only half the split-folding seat, creating another perch. The padded seat back even let me snug the dolly in place to inoculate it against the random lateral g's that always seems to spring up whenever the MS3 is out and about.

The MS3 hides its length well with width, which it camouflages thank to its bulbous hips. The rear doors also have some length to them -- another boon to caching length. Home Depot run two (of eight?) allowed my spouse to come along when carting the dolly back, sadly instigating a need for the MS3 to swallow a leaf blower, several cabinet kits and a sharp-edged 76-inch wall bracket, which did protrude from the rear corner into the front cabin, but spilt no blood as long as I avoided snapping off 3-4 shifts.

I'm big on practical, and the hatchback MS3 fits that bill no problem. That it's a grippy hoot getting in and out of the canyons makes it a truly entertaining errand runner. Something a little less spacious (Viper? Z06?) from the long-term fleet might shrink weekend expenditures and the honey-do list.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 14,256 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed3: Face-Off Re-Do

July 16, 2010

2010 Mazdaspeed3 and 2010 VW GTI

We have a new Face-Off Tournament going over on Carpool, and as I drove the Mazdaspeed3 home last night, I got to thinking about our first tournament that involved hot hatches. In it, the finals came down to the Speed3 and the GTI. Fitting, given that both cars are now in our long-term fleet, however, those were the previous-generation cars.

Since that original Face-Off, both cars are now better to drive. In terms of aesthetics, though, I'd argue the two cars switched places. The GTI's styling was previously holding it back, whereas the Speed3's new happy face styling is now doing the same (not to mention the cheeseball interior trim).

My vote for the Vdub has only become more resolute, but if the Face-Off vote were to be held today, would your vote change?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 13,742 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Cruise Control Not Easy to Use

July 12, 2010

ms3_steeringwhl.jpg

I'm such a nerd that I have actual conversations with people about the various possible control layouts for cruise control. Whenever someone says they prefer to have cruise buttons on the steering wheel, rather than as a separate control stalk, I think to myself, "Have you never actually used the cruise control?"

Rarely, in my experience, do you end up with an ergonomic layout when the cruise controls are on the steering wheel. Stalks are always easier to use.

The layout in our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is one of the least user-friendly setups I've used in a while. This steering wheel is already chock full of buttons and switches. It certainly doesn't need separate "on" and "off" buttons taking up the lower left side of the wheel.

But the bigger ergonomic miss is on the other side of the steering wheel...

It's the toggle button for setting and adjusting your speed. Note the textured portions for "+" and "-". Note that they are both raised and feel identical to the touch. I have taken a 1,000-mile road trip in this car, and still I find myself fumbling around for the right button.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Not Good, Not Bad, But Just Fine

June 18, 2010

ms3_trim.jpg

This is the dash trim in our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. It matches the seat upholstery that our senior photographer, Scott Jacobs, has gone on record as not liking. Up until last week, I was indifferent to this dash trim. Then, I rode in a family member's regular-strength 2010 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring hatchback, and it has a strip of flashy metallic trim (like the kind on our MS3's steering wheel) in this location and, yes, it does create some glare.

So now I prefer the trim in our Mazdaspeed 3. It's a little tacky looking and a little glossier than I'd like. But there's no glare and that's key in a driver's car.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Is This Cool or Lame?

June 16, 2010

The light show, not the music. But anyone who recognizes the song gets a bonus point for being over 30 (or for being mature beyond your years).

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,241 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3: Not Sure If I Buy It

June 08, 2010

ms3_fabric.jpg

Ok, last night when I got into our Speed3, I looked at the pattern on the fabric inserts and thought to myself that they looked kinda cheesy. If I was a buyer, this fabric would give me pause for thought.

Now let me just stop you right there. This fabric is THE pattern in the MS3. That's all you get. Would this be a deal killer for me? For this car, probably not. But it does make me think about the shopping mind set. I think if I had a choice, in about 99% of the instances I would say no to trendy. If I didn't have a choice, I'd really have to think about if I could live with it.

I get it, I'm getting old. Call me boring if you will, but I tend towards things that have simpler, clean, classic look. No, my aesthetic taste isn't absolute. I think there is always room for interpretation and experimentation. But my basic principle is that I don't want something too trendy, lest I look completely outdated in a few years time. Trends have a real good way of dating you. Remember that righteous high school mullet? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

If I'm putting down a good amount of hard earned money, I have to think about the longer term, not just the immediate future. Would you go for the trendy styling option(s)? Is it a deal breaker/maker for you? Do you even think about that in your vehicle choices?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 as Family Car

June 07, 2010

Cargo 015-1600.jpg

A suburban duty cycle for the zoomy MS3 this weekend had me fingering the car's hatch-mounted belly button several times. The first time was to install my daughter's car seat and the second was a grocery run. I found something I liked and something I didn't like.

Those of us with children understand why the center position in the rear seat is preferable for mounting a LATCH-equipped car seat: That position is effectively in the center of the car and as such is farthest away from potential intrusion from any side. Also in the Mazdaspeed3, it happens to be between the rear-seat headrests that in some other cars are sometimes in conflict with the top edge of the child seat. All seems to be going well, right?

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: The View

June 03, 2010

2010_mazdaspeed3_view.jpg

Visibility is excellent in the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. In fact, I'll go so far to say that the Mazda has the best visibility of any car in our fleet right now. You can't really quantify what impact this has on the driving experience, but I know this whole being-able-to-see thing is a big reason that I like being in the MS3 on an everyday basis (yes, yes, the other reason is that I'm an unabashed liker of cars with big, silly grins).

Here's the three-quarters view out the front. I was parked, by the way, and fought off the urge to drive into the ravine.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,891 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Interior Storage

May 27, 2010

ms3int_stor_main.JPG

Back in April editor Mark Takahashi wrote how he didn't think too highly of the Mazdaspeed 3's interior design, specifically the red dot fabric that reminds him of a '90s Nike workout shirt. Can't disagree with that; it's a bit silly. On to more practical matters, though -- the Mazda has a lot amount of storage bins for your stuff. Some long-term cars we've had were really bad in this regard, with the 2006 Pontiac Solstice being the most memorable in my mind. Our 2009 Honda Fit Sport, in contrast, had a lot of nooks for your modern-day bits. So, cell phones, bottles, iPods -- where does it all fit in the Mazdaspeed 3?

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Versatility Is Still King

May 24, 2010

ms3_familyfun.jpg

A few days ago I was putting myself into the mindset of the potential hot hatch buyer. What would I get? Mazdaspeed 3? WRX? GTI? But then I also thought: Would I get a V6 sport coupe instead? After all, the new V6 Camaro and Mustang are way better than they were before, and pricing for most of these cars is in the mid-$25,000 range.

If I were young and single, I think I could make a strong argument for rear-wheel drive and 300 horsepower. But now that I'm older and have a family, the versatility of a hot hatch can't be ignored. Just this weekend I used the Mazdaspeed 3 for a variety of tasks, including taking my family to a friend's barbeque, buying a bunch of groceries and hauling stuff out of my garage to a storage unit (exciting weekend, eh?). Other than the trip to the storage unit, everything could have been done with a sport coupe. But the MS3 made it hassle-free while still being nimble and fun to drive. Advantage, hot hatch.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,351 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Belated Happy 10,000 Miles

May 03, 2010

Milestone_02.jpg2010_mazdaspeed3_10k.jpg

I looked down at our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3's odometer yesterday and realized I was 400 miles past the 10,000-mile mark. Oops, sorry we missed your birthday, MS3.

The more I drive this car, the more the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 feels like my car. I'm not bogarting the keys or anything, but everything about this car just kind of fits. The driver seat, the pedal layout, the ride/handling balance, the rapidfire torque response, the hatchback thing. Dislikes include the abrupt clutch engagement, some of the interior plastics and, occasionally, the funny D.I. sounds at startup.

Last week, a friend of mine asked for my blessing before he went off to sign a deal on a 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, a gray one. Apart from the paint choice, I felt happy for him.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,498 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Easy To Get Comfortable In

April 07, 2010

mazda3-driving-position-160.jpg

You would be surprised how often I get into a performance-oriented car and have trouble getting comfortable. It's not like I'm some oversized Neanderthal either. A little taller than average maybe, but otherwise normal.

The Mazdaspeed 3 is one of the those cars that feels comfortable the minute you get in. A slight slide of the seat, move the steering wheel a bit and it's perfect. And although I noted before that I'm not all that thrilled with the pedal placement, the fact that I'm otherwise positioned comfortably does a lot to make up for it.

Oh, and the driver's seat is pretty nice for a vehicle in this price range. Nothing spectacular, but enough bolstering in the right places to notice that it's a notch above your average hatchback. Overall, a well thought out cockpit that I never get tired of.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 9,788 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Design Critique

April 06, 2010

2010_mazdaspeed3_int_mazda_lt_9998_2.jpg

I appreciate a well-designed interior, with a dash that flows from one form to another with a modern look and feel that makes me realize we are indeed in the 21st Century. Our Mazdaspeed has a lot going for it, but I don't think the interior design is one of them. Here's why.

It's busy. In design-speak, that means there's a lot going on here that could probably be simplified. And simple usually leads to elegant. On basic shapes alone, there is room for improvement - take the dash top display cowl for example. It's got a nice arching shape that connects with the center stack. Not bad. But then there's a rectangular color display and a backlit LCD next to it. These shapes represent the proverbial square peg in a round hole. In addition to that, the displays do not fill the cowl very well and sometimes show redundant information.

Then there's the vents - a mix of round and rectangular. I like round vent, personally, and think that Mazda could've dropped two of them in the center of the dash - like Audi does. But really, the big sticking point for me was the choice of textile pattern that is also echoed in the plastic dash trim. It's a black background with a red gradated , coarse dotted effect. All that comes to mind when I see this is a Nike workout shirt from the mid-1990's. I think some that in a sporting car, such as the Mazdaspeed 3, Alcantara or some fake microfiber suede would've have been an infinitely better choice. But keep the red stitching, that's always tasty.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 9,769 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Blends Into the Weekend

April 05, 2010

2010_mazdaspeed3_flowers.jpg

I've already put a lot of miles on our long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, so there's an instant familiarity as soon as I get into it. The more I drive the MS3, the more impressed I am by how comfortable, refined and utterly useful this car is in everyday driving.

Ride quality is uncommonly good for a competitively priced sport compact with 18-inch wheels and summer tires. It was good on my road trip to NorCal, and it's still very tolerable on the grooved (and now potholed) slabs on LA freeways.

I also like the size of the interior. Obviously, you wouldn't choose a compact car if you need vast amounts of interior room, but I was able to carry around two adults, in addition to myself, for an afternoon without anyone being at all uncomfortable. Meanwhile, the hatch area efficiently swallowed all our stuff.

Of course, all this utility is balanced against the semi-explosive feel of the turbocharged 2.3-liter under full throttle and the Mazdaspeed 3's sharp turn-in. And contrary to other reports, I quite enjoy shifting this car -- heel-and-toeing is great fun. It's certainly true that the clutch has a gotcha-style engagement in low-speed traffic, but once you recalibrate your foot for that, shifts come easily, though, admittedly, not altogether smoothly. A minor annoyance, I say.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,751 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Buttons, Ride Quality and Guns

February 25, 2010

2010_mazdaspeed3_hwy16_4.jpg

After 967 miles in our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, I have reached several conclusions. The ride quality is very good for a hot hatch -- it's composed, rarely harsh and completely acceptable for long-haul trips. The 225/40R18 Dunlop SP Sport 2050 tires are on the noisy side, but really, road noise in the MS3 isn't any worse than a WRX, Lancer Ralliart or Evo.

Driver seat comfort was also better than I expected. You see, I find the seating position in the Mazdaspeed 3 slightly awkward. The steering wheel doesn't telescope quite far out enough for me to grasp it perfectly comfortably at 9-and-3. But in all those hours of driving, this wasn't a problem. Using cruise control helped, undoubtedly, but the seat itself gets some credit, too. It's well cushioned and supportive without being confining.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: More Legroom Than I Thought

February 18, 2010

car-of-the-week-717-2.jpg2010_mazdaspeed3_seat_mazda_lt_1600_1.jpg

At 5-foot-10, I'm no Riswick, but when I drive our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, I put the driver seat one notch forward of the all-the-way-back postion on the track. That leaves about a hand's width of space from the driver seatback to the front edge of the rear seat-bottom.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Gauges Like a Minivan

February 18, 2010

Thumbnail image for CotW_05.jpgMazdaspeed-gauges-1.jpg

Most of the gauges that are there are fine, but the fact that a performance car like the Mazdaspeed 3 does not have a coolant temperature gauge, an oil pressure gauge or an oil temperature gauge is just plain wrong. Fact is, with the exception of that useless boost gauge, our Mazdaspeed 3 has no more instrumentation than the last Honda Odyssey minivan we tested.

WTF Mazda? Why do you expect me to zoom-zoom around without monitoring the engine's fluids?

Maybe if Patrick Dempsey mentions it to Mazda's product planners, we'll get some proper gauges in the Mazdaspeed products. You listening Patrick?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Navigation Woes

February 16, 2010

car-of-the-week-717.jpgNav-screen.jpg

Note the size of the Mazdaspeed 3's navigation screen (also a Multi Info Display) relative to the vast expanse of dashboard which surrounds it. This is an issue.

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: On Display

January 25, 2010

mazdaspeed 3 display.jpg

I wish the 3's audio display were bigger and lower -- I find myself having to squint to figure out which station I've landed on. The HVAC display could stand to be lower as well. On the other hand, people who care about things like average speed and average fuel economy are pretty well served.

The 3 is just as much of a blast as you'd expect. Quick, engaging and fun, despite its somewhat finicky clutch. The frisky little hatch added a burst of excitement to even the most mundane weekend errands.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 5,260 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Nice Gauges for a Car Like This

December 29, 2009

mazdaspeed3-ip-1600.jpg

Haven't driven the Mazdasped all that much at night. Turns out, it's quite nice inside, especially for a $25K car. The red glow of the instrument cluster and it accompanying controls reminded me of our S5, which is not a bad comparison given that the Audi is over double the price.

At first, the blue contrast seemed a bit gimmicky, like the Mazda designers were trying to channel their inner Scion or something. But after driving it for awhile I found that the added contrast actually makes the gauges that much more readable.

Not a big deal really, all cars should be so thoughtfully designed. Performance cars like the Mazdaspeed 3 should be held to a slightly higher standard, however, and in this case it passed the test.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 5,040 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Would I Get It Over a Mini Cooper?

December 07, 2009

mazda-mini.jpg

I was stuck in traffic next to a red Mini Cooper S yesterday and it got me thinking of our departed 2007 long-termer. Both the MCS and MazdaSpeed 3 have an energetic, turbocharged personality that appeals to me. The Mazda isn't as fizzy or nimble as the Mini, but in return it's considerably more practical. That got me to thinking: if I had to pick, which one would I buy?

Interestingly, our old MCS cost $25,220, while our MS3 checks in at $25,840. Part of me really would want a Mini Cooper. I think I'd just enjoy owning it more. But the other part of me thinks of how I have a wife and child to frequently cart around. In this case, practicality, at the expense of personality, would put an MS3 in my garage.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,161 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Not Digging the Pedals

November 27, 2009

mazdaspeed-pedals-1600.jpg

Actually the pedals themselves are fine. It's their spacing that's bugs me. Erin says she thinks they're perfect for heel-and-toe downshifting, but I can't agree. The gas pedal is a little far away to make a simple roll of the foot work. You have to do the full-on 45-degree foot turn to get a good stab at the gas. Hardly the worst pedal setup I've ever seen, but a little unexpected from a car that's so otherwise well sorted.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 3,699 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Get Rid of This Red Dot Trim

November 20, 2009

CotW_05.jpgMazdaspeed 3 seats

Pictured is the standard upholstery found in the Mazdaspeed3. Below you'll find the standard door trim and dash trim found in the Mazdaspeed3. It's all a weird dot-matrixy wave pattern in red -- and I don't like it. I think it looks cheap and tacky.

Contrast these to the old Mazdaspeed 3 seats. Were they especially visually interesting? No, but they were two-tone, didn't look tacky and frankly seemed to be of a higher quality. Perhaps the rest of the interior could've been spruced up a bit, but not with weird dot-matrixy red stuff.

The real problem is, this trim is mandatory. There is no upgraded upholstery or a different color scheme. Even if you get it in Celestial Blue Mica, you get a black and red dot matrixy interior. There should be a way to avoid this stuff, just as you can with the GTI's plaid (which I love, so I wouldn't) or the Mini's grey/black leatherette.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,223 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Nighttime Mood

November 19, 2009

car-of-the-week-717-2.jpg2009_mazdaspeed_3_interior_.jpg

This will be the first of many entries about the lighting in our long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. Though it appears there's a lot of red and blue competing for your attention here, it's not at all overwhelming in person. Every dial and control is easy to find, which is critical, since there are a lot of them and since the minimalist navigation controls are all on the steering wheel.

But it goes beyond functionality. Mazda has created a mood with all these lights, and it takes you far away from the car's economy roots. I've never cared for ambient lighting, which seems like a gimmick in most cars, but I like the blue glow of the Mazda's foot wells and door panels. Perhaps it's because I'm already excited about driving this car in the first place.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 3,170 miles

See full article and comment.


2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Missing Gauge

November 02, 2009

IP.boost.717.jpg

The 2010 Masdaspeed 3 has a boost gauge (top right of this image) -- a welcome addition, which the first-generation car lacked. It is, however, missing one critically important gauge in its instrument cluster. Any ideas?

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 1,490 miles

See full article and comment.



Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Past Long-Term Road Tests

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411