Traded in '09 GT hatch,(2.3, 5M),a very good car. Had the new Speed 3 for just over a week, 1100 miles with a trip from mid MI to the UP. Car feels more substantial, much stronger and more firmly planted than the regular Mazda 3. Very good brakes and steering. Shifter better than I expected. The Tech Package and new shift pattern have me on a learning curve. Good driver's seat. Power in 1st and 2nd is scary, torque steer, but manageable. In third and up, power flow is great. Even in 6th, power is right there for passing at highway speeds. Read out showed 29.4mpg for the trip, paper/pencil 28.9. Great for a new, tight power train. Nice touring car for 1 or 2. Can't be beat for the price!
I have owned several different sport cars, and the most impressive car in my recent memory was still the 02 BMW 330C. However, after owning this car for two weeks now, I can confirm that this is a better car and much more affordable than the 3-series. I tested the new Subaru WRX in the morning and planned a backup with the MS3. Surprisingly, the MS3 became the target purchase right after I drove it. The main reason I don’t like the WRX is that the gear box is little bit shaky, while the MS3’s box is rock solid. In addition, the MS3 is much roomier than the WRX. Its back seat can fit two child seats comfortably! Thanks to MS3, a family man can still drive a high performance sport car now! Ano
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.
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.
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