Stellar handling, near-perfect steering, excellent seats, high-quality cabin trim, a few unexpected high-end features.
Not as quick in a straight line as some rivals, noticeable torque steer, funky styling.
We've all seen him or her — that friend, fellow student or colleague who walks around with a "perma-grin," looking like they're having just a little too much fun during the daily grind. Were any of them to be reincarnated as a car, we imagine it would be as a 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, a fun-loving sport compact that's such a blast to drive that the company is doubly proud to proclaim its name. Yeah, the car might have a face like a circus clown, but when it comes to giving budget-minded enthusiasts the most entertainment this side of a Ringling Brothers show, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is as serious as a lion tamer.
Competing in the sport compact class, a segment that boasts such luminaries as the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart, Subaru Impreza WRX and Volkswagen GTI, the Mazdaspeed 3 still has good reason to look so upbeat. All the ingredients for fun on four wheels are present -- spirited acceleration, confident braking and brother-of-Miata steering and handling.
There's also a cockpit fitted with the right tools for the job, namely a meaty steering wheel, well-placed pedals and body-hugging sport seats. The 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 earns bonus points for its high-quality interior trimmings as well as for unexpected standard luxury features like dual-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth. Its considerably lower price compared to the aforementioned rivals only sweetens the deal.
Even the most happy-go-lucky people have their faults, and the Mazdaspeed 3 is no exception. There's noticeable torque steer when you're powering out of tight turns, and the overdone styling seems a step down from the cleaner previous-generation car. But overall, the good easily outweighs the bad. After a week of living it up with the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, we were wearing silly grins ourselves.
Sporting a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.3-liter four with 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 seemingly has the goods to back up its hood-scooped and be-spoilered body. And with a 6.4-second 0-60-mph sprint and 14.4-second quarter-mile time, it's a fairly quick little bugger.
However, both the WRX and Ralliart are quicker still, with stats of 5.2/13.7 and 5.8/14.2 seconds, respectively. We suspect that some shift-smoothing engine software might be adding a tick or two to the Mazda's times. Also, the six-speed manual shifter doesn't like to be rushed, though it has the precise action expected in a Mazda, and the clutch is fairly easy to modulate as well. During our time with the car, we observed fuel economy of 19.9 mpg combined, not quite hitting the EPA's combined estimate of 21 mpg.
It's in the handling arena that the Mazdaspeed 3 grabs the big-top spotlight. With a buttoned-down chassis and perfectly weighted, laser-beam-precise steering, the MS3 slices through a curvy road like the proverbial hot knife through butter. In performance testing, the 'Speed 3 whipped through the slalom at 72.4 mph -- an incredible number that bests full-on sports cars like the Nissan 370Z and even the Porsche Cayman S. The Mazdaspeed 3's braking performance is also up there with high-priced sport machines, hauling the car down from 60 mph in a scant 113 feet while providing a consistent pedal feel and showing no fade after repeated hard stops.
If there's one nit to pick about the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3's driving dynamics, it's the presence of torque steer (the tendency of a front-drive car to pull to one side under hard acceleration) when powering out of tight corners. Mazda has included torque-limiting software for the first couple gears to address this issue, but we still noticed some tugging at the wheel. Nonetheless, it's easy to manage, and some drivers even thought it added to the engaging, lively nature of the car.
With supportive and heavily bolstered front seats, well-spaced pedals and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel with a generous range of adjustment, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 provides an excellent driving position for folks of all statures.
Rear passengers are treated to a firm, pleasantly contoured seat with a high cushion that provides proper thigh support. They are also pampered with adjustable headrests and a fold-down center armrest. At 36.2 inches, the Mazda's rear legroom is at the top of the class and is nearly 3 inches greater than what the WRX provides.
Even at higher freeway speeds, wind and road noise were sufficiently muted, even though the MS3 wears high-performance "summer" tires that tend to be noisier than less aggressive, all-season rubber.
As with most sporting cars, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 has a large speedo and tach, but unfortunately there is no temperature gauge. We'd prefer the latter to the car's turbo boost gauge, something we've always thought rather silly. Really, when you've got the turbo kicked in and you're rocketing ahead, you'd best be watching the road, not the instrument panel.
Atop the center stack there is a dual display setup that's split horizontally. Though it shows both the audio status and the climate control status, they are shown on two separate lines, making them easier to read at a glance. The steering-wheel-mounted controls for the audio system and cruise control are rather small, but prove easy to use.
Our MS3 had the optional Tech package, which includes a navigation system, upgraded Bose audio, keyless ignition and an alarm system. The navigation system is fairly intuitive, and though the screen is rather small, it's still easy to read, as it's located up high and close to the driver. The Bose system provided fairly crisp and powerful sound, a noticeable improvement over the previous Mazdaspeed 3's lackluster Bose setup. An auxiliary audio jack is standard; however, our car lacked the optional iPod integration.
There are a decent number of stowage places within the MS3, with a small compartment on the driver-side dash as well as a generous center console box and door pockets. In our usability tests, the Mazdaspeed 3 accommodated a rear-facing child safety seat in the back as long as the front passenger was no taller than about 5-foot-5. Our golf bag just fit diagonally in the 17-cubic-foot rear cargo area, though our large travel case could be stashed back there along with it. With the rear seatbacks folded down, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 offers a useful 43 cubic feet of maximum space.
Design/Fit and Finish
Our staffers frankly prefer the cleaner lines of the last-generation 'Speed 3. This new one strikes us as overwrought, though removing the grinning plastic grille alone would be a big improvement. But hey, at least it's happy.
The cabin is likewise busier than before, as seen in the steering wheel and center-stack controls. But in keeping with Mazda 3 tradition, it's nicely finished, with even higher-quality materials than in the past along with impressive build quality. The MS3's interior also features unique leather and cloth upholstery with contrasting stitching. Overall, the Mazdaspeed 3 provides an upscale ambience that puts it a cut (or two) above the Ralliart and WRX and about even with the Euro-chic GTI.
Who should consider this vehicle
The 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is a must-drive for anyone looking for a practical back-road (or track-day) weapon that's sharper than a GTI or WRX but more forgiving to live with on a daily basis than a Lancer Ralliart. Value seekers will also appreciate the Mazdaspeed 3's attractive price tag and its premium-feeling, feature-laden cabin.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Overview
The 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 is offered in the following submodels: Hatchback. Available styles include and Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Mazdaspeed 3 models are available with a 2.3 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 263 hp, depending on engine type. The 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3?
Price comparisons for used 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 trim styles:
The 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Sport is priced around $12263 with average odometer reading of 91531 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3.
Review To start off, I've only owned this car for 4 days now. I was a very proud rx8 owner and loved every bit of it, except for the gas mileage. This car, has everything that you want. Perfect handling, the right amount of power, it's very practical and to be honest, economical. I know people will be like "economical? it only gets 18mpg!" Yeah, when you're flooring it everywhere. When I drove home from the dealership I was about 50 miles away from home. I drove it like a grandma and averaged 34mpg. So if you really want to economical, this car can definitely do it. I can't talk on the reliability as I just got the car, but I still rated it a 5 because I love everything about this car.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
What options are available on the 2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3?
Available Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 2010 Submodel Types: Hatchback
Available Trims: Touring, Grand Touring, Sport
Exterior Colors: Crystal White Pearl Mica, True Red, Black Mica, Liquid Silver Metallic, Velocity Red Mica, Celestial Blue Mica, Cosmic Blue Mica, Crystal White Pearl, Metropolitan Gray Mica, Sunlight Silver Metallic
Interior Colors: Black w/Red Insert leather/cloth, Black premium cloth, Black w/Red Trim leather/cloth
Popular Features: Upgraded Headlights, Blind Spot Monitoring, USB Inputs, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Alarm, Navigation, Upgraded Stereo