2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 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 Mazdaspeed3 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 Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3

  • With its energetic personality, rewarding handling and thoughtful features, the 2011 Mazdaspeed 3 is a must on any budget-minded enthusiast's test-drive list.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong turbocharged performance; sophisticated ride and handling; premium interior and features; hatchback utility; reasonable price

  • Cons

    Pronounced torque steer; no automatic transmission; not available as sedan

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011 the Mazdaspeed 3 continues unchanged except for minor equipment additions to the available Technology package.

Full 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011 the Mazdaspeed 3 continues unchanged except for minor equipment additions to the available Technology package.


In the sport hatchback segment, the Mazdaspeed 3 has been the one to beat the past few years. Its combination of nimble handling, pin-you-to-the-seat turbo power, practicality and value have made the "Speed 3" a favorite among those looking for thrills on the cheap. It has also been a favorite among our staff, having won most of the comparison tests we've thrown it into.

At the heart of the 2011 Mazdaspeed 3's appeal is its turbocharged 2.3-liter engine. Packing 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, this turbo-4 is a hard charger and will get you to 60 mph in a quick 6.3 seconds. The downside, though, is that it's almost too much power for the front-drive Mazda 3 chassis; nailing the throttle can result in a notable amount of torque steer. That said, it's easily managed and reminds you that this potent hot hatch demands respect from your right foot. The precise steering, buttoned-down suspension and sticky tires make the MS3 fun in the corners, too.

Beyond the spirited driving experience, other key attributes of the Speed 3 include a well-trimmed cabin boasting solid fit and finish as well as some features (either standard or optional) that you might not expect in this segment. You also get a fair amount of utility, too. Thanks to its decent-sized rear seats and 42.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, the Speed 3 can handle just about anything life throws at you.

If we were to level a complaint about the Mazdaspeed 3, it'd be that it's almost too sport-oriented. You can only get it with a manual transmission, for instance, and its firm ride quality and road noise might seem a bit harsh for people living in areas with poorly maintained pavement. The more mature Volkswagen GTI, in comparison, is easier to live with on a daily basis.

There are also other options for an affordable hot hatch, like the stylish Mini Cooper S and the all-wheel-drive 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX. You might even consider coupes like the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro V6, 2011 Ford Mustang V6 and 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Though we definitely recommend Mazda's spicy Speed 3, there's quite a spread in this hot hatch buffet so we suggest sampling all via test-drives if you're not sure what flavor might appeal to you most.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Mazdaspeed 3 is a four-door hatchback available in one trim level known as Sport. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, high-performance summer tires, a limited-slip differential, foglights, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, front sport seats, leather and cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a digital turbo-boost gauge, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker stereo with CD player, auxiliary audio jack and steering wheel controls.

The Mazdaspeed Tech package adds keyless ignition/entry, rain-sensing wipers, automatic/adaptive bi-xenon headlights, rear LED taillights, an integrated compact navigation system and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo and a six-CD changer. Satellite radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are stand-alone options.

Powertrains and Performance

The Mazdaspeed 3 is powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. All that thrust is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission equipped with a limited-slip differential.

In performance testing, the Speed 3 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds ? quick, though about midpack for its class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.


Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Though the 2011 Mazdaspeed 3 itself hasn't been crash tested, the similar Mazda 3 five-door hatchback upon which it's based has been tested. In government testing, the Mazda 3 scored five out of five stars for driver and front passenger protection in a frontal crash, five stars for front side protection and four stars for rear side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Mazda 3 its highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side crash tests.

In Edmunds brake testing the Mazdaspeed 3 came to a stop from 60 mph in only 113 feet, which is commendable among other hatchbacks in its class.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Mazdaspeed variant differs from the regular Mazda 3 with its upgraded gauges and sport front seats with standard black leather upholstery with cloth inserts. The pattern of the upholstery with its red dots reminds us of a 1990s Nike athletic shirt, but otherwise the Mazdaspeed 3 boasts the same top-shelf interior design, quality and features as the regular 3. The Speed 3 also has the same optional navigation system, which is functional but somewhat limited by its small display screen.

The front seat offers a wide range of adjustment (though no power adjustment is available) and the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel is a welcome feature. Some may lament that no sedan body style is available, but the standard hatch allows for a greater level of practicality. The cargo area provides 17 cubic feet of space with the rear seats raised and expands to 42.8 with them lowered.

Driving Impressions

Routing 280 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels is usually a recipe for annoying amounts of steering-wheel-tugging torque steer. This phenomenon is certainly present in the 2011 Mazdaspeed 3, though the engine's torque-limiting software helps keep it manageable for the most part.

In any case, there's no doubt that the Speed 3 is one of the best-handling and most entertaining hot hatches on a winding road. Impressively precise, the steering provides plenty of communication and faithfully transmits road information like few front-wheel-drive cars can. Considering the car's performance potential, the suspension manages to also provide a fairly compliant ride, though the Mazdaspeed 3 ultimately isn't as comfortable as other models like the GTI.

Read our Mazdaspeed 3 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Silver bullet

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

It's been a year since I got my MS3 with Tech Package. I come from 96 5series/ 01 Infiniti so I expect a lot of features, quality interior and ample power, plus I wanted utility. MS3 delivers all this, and for only $25k. Checked out WRX (poor interior) and GTI (not many features and low power). MS3 won hands down. Love every minute of driving it, even a year and 6k miles later. The ride is pretty firm - you feel a lot of the road through the sit, and bumps can shake your soul out , but it corners like on rails and steers like a go cart. The torque steer is very manageable, and is a minor bother in 1st gear only. The audio system is great, climate control works like a charm. Great job, Mazda!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Tires wear out at 17,000

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought my vehicle in january 2011 at Cerritos Mazda new. 2011 Mazdaspeed 3 Black mica, Exellent performance but you will need to buy new tires at 15,000 miles each tire will cost you $250. or more and also you'll need an aligment because my tires they were wear out from the inside. warranty will not cover poor aligment or tires wear out to early.

Zoom zoom is correct!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Traded in my 97 Miata for this MS3 Black Baby...was a bitter sweet trade as the roadster gave years of fun, but wife would not drive it so... Stock MS3 is all that is needed to be sure, but if you need all the "gadgets" go for it in the "Tech Package"! Power, Style, and Driveability in one package, no more need be said other than price is outstanding for what is provided. Compared and test drove regular MAzda 3 and similar vehicles and decided to go for it without hesitation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Impressive for the $$$ spent

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

My 2011 MS3 is now 3 weeks old with roughly 1200 miles on it. Just about every review on this site is dead on with observations of handling and power. Mine is in Velocity Red and turns a few heads in my neighborhood as well. Styling is subjective but it's really hard to argue the price-to-performance ratio. Also, I read a lot of criticism about the small multi-function nav screen but I have found mine to be of high quality, great resolution, and it gets me where I want to go without fuss.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Doesnt get any better for

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

You get 280 lb/ft at from a car that costs 23k to start. Mazda has made a true winner here and the car has a lot of plus points. Its comes loaded in standard form and Interior is very well laid out for a compact with true seating for 5. The handling is very sharp and the ride is on the stiff side. The only downside is the exterior styling which doesn't cut it for some buyers. 6 speed is precise and its never hard to find the right gear. I think its a great platform to improve on and sort out all the quirks for the next gen. The new ECU is not as easy to mod as prior years even though the motor is the same. I would give the speed 3 a serious look before pulling the plug on any other hatchback

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

All this for less than

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Just picked up Black Mica Speed3 with tech package 3 days ago. Paid EXACTLY the price edmunds TMV said I should including Mazda's current $500 incentive. Under $25,000 including tax (traded in a vehicle to offset costs). About 10 seconds into the ride home and I was never quite as confident of making a good decision when purchasing a new car. You literally cannot stop your self from having fun driving this car. So much value for the price. Once on the highway, I could obtain 30-31 mpg running 60mph in 6th. 2 car seats fit ok in the back. I have to slide my seat forward just a bit when my son rides with me. I wouldn't buy this as your primary family car. Overall VERY pleased. Zoom-Zoom.

Talk About The 2011 Mazdaspeed3

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Equipped with an MZR 2.3-liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) engine, the top-of-the-line MAZDASPEED3 has an output of 263 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle starts at $24,000 MSR...

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Read more about the 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed3

Gas Mileage


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