Used 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3

2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3
List price range

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.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

vehicle overview

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.

trim levels & features

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.

2009 Highlights

There are no changes for the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3.

performance & mpg

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.

safety

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.

driving

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.

interior

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.


Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3.

Blvd Posers need not apply
Rico, 11/11/2009
You want a rig to massage your ego? Maybe make others look at you longingly in traffic? You never take you car to the redline, don't know that 'matching revs' means, but like to pretend that you could run a hot lap at a local track day? Well then, stop reading here, this isn't your ride...not by a mile. The Mazdaspeed 3 is a stealthy performance car, with a high build quality, that can embarrass a great many more pricy rigs. It doesn't have many interior 'toys' and it's looks don't say "I dipped into my 401K for this...worship me". But it does go, stop, and handle like it cost 50K. Need coddling? Look elsewhere. Want high speed-per-$? Then this is your ride.
Bang For The Buck.
Rod, 4/10/2010
No other car sold in America, in 2009, gave you more. Performance and Fun for the Money. Not Even Close!
Still impressed after 3 years
blinky1004, 7/27/2013
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!
UPGRADE FROM A CIVIC SI
Scott Craig, 6/18/2010
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!
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
263 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
263 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Poor
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3
Used 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Overview

The Used 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

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