2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Work and Play
December 16, 2009
With a break in California's rains and beautiful skies overhead, I couldn't resist revving up the Mazdaspeed 3 for a curvy-road drive this morning. This has always been the beauty of the "hot hatch" formula: your affordable workaday hatchback dons a heroic red cape when needed. The Speed 3's thumping power output is certainly its signature supernatural power. I never got tired of laying into the 263-horsepower turbo-four on empty straights. The engine is also surprisingly smooth-revving up to its 6,750-rpm redline.
Hearing that the new Speed 3's bumpy-road manners have been improved as compared to the last generation's, I specifically chose an older single-lane road with lots of bumps and camber changes. Here, the MS3 was, well, interesting. The somewhat soft boost response plus all that torque going through the front wheels does not make the MS3 particularly smooth to drive when exiting corners. Sometimes, the steering wheel just has a bit of life of its own. Otherwise, though, the quick steering, grippy tires and impressive damping control make the MS3 a hoot.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,307 miles