November 01, 2010
I couldn't resist the urge to dress up the Mazdaspeed 3 for Halloween. Abetted by my crafty neighbor, we made cardboard fangs and a tongue, and toyed with the idea of dipping the teeth in a little transmission fluid as a special effect, but decided to keep it simple.
October 12, 2010
Over the weekend I took our Mazdaspeed 3 out to the countryside to visit a rural pumpkin patch with my three-year-old daughter. It was mildly amusing to pull up in the Speed 3 when all the other parked cars at the pumpkin patch were SUVs and vans. Unlike getting a Christmas tree, pumpkins don't exactly require much in the way of cargo space. But admittedly it would have been nice to have some sort of cargo net or the forethought to bring a box; the pumpkins I bought kept rolling around in the Mazda's trunk on the way home.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 20,223 miles
September 16, 2010
It's a small detail, I know, but the design of our long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed 3's hatch makes me happy every time I put stuff in it. The access point (where you put your hand) to open it is maybe a little lower than optimal, but the payoff is that the liftgate is a continuous surface unmarred by a utilitarian handle. Closing the hatch is even easier than opening it, as the placement of the interior grab handle and the tuning of the liftgate dampers make it a one-hand, one-step process.
Obviously, it's pretty easy to design a lightweight, ergonomic liftgate on a compact car. And clearly, Mazda had to get this one right since the 3 is also sold in Europe, where everybody drives a hatchback and knows exactly how the tail end of one should work. Even so, the execution of this detail is yet one more endearing quality of the current Mazda 3 line.
Video of the hatch being opened and closed after the jump.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,890 miles
August 19, 2010
On the way home today, my daughter and I were chatting in the car and somehow I mentioned the term, "station wagon."
"What's a station wagon?" she asked immediately.
From your average 10-year-old girl this might not seem like a strange question, but my kid knows the difference between coupes, sedans, minivans, SUVs, etc., so her question caught my attention right away.
I started to explain: "You know, station wagon. Not an SUV or minivan, but a car with a rear lift door."
"You mean a hatchback," she said. "Like the one we're driving now," referring to the Mazdaspeed 3.
"No," I said. "Similar, but usually they're longer."
"An Avant," she said, getting impatient with the conversation.
Tissue, Kleenex, wagon, Avant. She was right, but I had never before considered that wagons were so unusual these days, she didn't even know the general term.
For the remaining five-mile or so drive home, I was determined to show her a station wagon.
We never passed a single one.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 16,409 miles
August 09, 2010
Most family units show up for college move-in day with an SUV. We arrived with the Mazdaspeed 3 and Nic's 1992 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Apparently we are sporty car people.
Once you flip down the seats, this 5-door Mazda 3-based package is all you need in the way of a U-Haul. Couple medium-size cardboard boxes in the back, two athletic bags on the shelf created by the flipped-down seat backs and then the obligatory sling-back camp chair with built-in cupholder (the college student's friend) thrown on top.
It's not like students go away to college these days with a streamer trunk full of formal wear. Even for law school it's just some T-shirts and a backup pair of flip-flops and that's about it, especially in Sacramento where it'll be blazing hot for another month or so. All the stuff that requires heavy lifting can be ordered on-line from big box stores and delivered by UPS. Even when we busted him out of Fordham after graduation last spring, we made it to the UPS store in the Bronx with four years of clothes (how many hoodies can a person wear, after all?) and assorted books and athletic gear in a half dozen boxes all packed in a Saab-aru 9-2X and still had room for three people.
Once you're used to going places in a sports car, you learn to pack just what you need. A five-door seems like a Chevy Suburban in comparison.
Of course, we still like trucks and SUVs, maybe more than most people, really. After all, when you need to trailer your sporty car to the track, a truck is just what you need.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 14,550 miles.
July 26, 2010
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
June 07, 2010
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?
May 24, 2010
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
February 17, 2010
You can't do that in a Camaro. Or a Challenger. Or a Mustang. Hatchbacks rule.
It must be tough being a Camaro owner that needs to haul his Green Machine. But this morning our long-term Mazdaspeed 3 swallowed mine with no problem. I folded the Mazda's split rear seat in seconds (it couldn't be easier) and rolled in my concours quality three-wheeler with little effort or drama.
You probably didn't know I'm a Green Machine enthusiast and participate in Green Machine events nationwide. There's a small but enthusiastic group of us that race and show our Green Machines around the country and we've been growing in numbers every year.
This year the Green Machine Nationals are in Cortez, Colorado and I'm seriously considering our Mazdaspeed 3 as the appropriate transport. Even with my beloved on board there's still room for my wife and my stamp collection. That's right, I'm also a philatelist.
November 24, 2009
OK class, tell me, what does this button do?
If you said "Well Mr. Riswick, it is the Advanced Keyless System's trunk-mounted lock/unlock button" you would be completely wrong. Nope, that's what the below button does.
November 19, 2009
I didn't expect to explore the limits of our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3's hauling ability so early in our relationship. But last night four tires (mounted on alloys) and other assorted racecar supplies needed to make a 40-mile trip.
The 60/40 rear seats were immediately folded; they go perfectly flat to open up a 43-cubic-foot space. Just about every cubic foot got used last night. I couldn't see out the back, obviously, so I made frequent use of the Mazdaspeed 3's large, well postioned side mirrors, plus my own capacity for situational awareness, on the freeway.