2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Review

Used Mazdaspeed 3 for sale
List Price:$14,495
See All For Sale
Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 model years
cash graphic with confetti

Get More For Your Trade-In

2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 appraisal values can range from $5,398 - $11,270.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Strong turbocharged performance
  • precise handling
  • premium interior and features
  • hatchback utility
  • reasonable price.
  • Pronounced torque steer
  • no automatic transmission
  • not available as sedan.

With its energetic personality, rewarding handling and thoughtful features, the 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 is a top pick for budget-minded driving enthusiasts.

Vehicle overview

If we were to plot a graph entitled "Hot Hatch Scale," the 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 would reside on the far side, labeled "Performance." It's got a muscular turbocharged engine, a six-speed manual transmission and handling that's sharp enough to take on legitimate sports cars. As budget-oriented hatchbacks go, this Mazda is certainly one of the best sold today.

At the heart of the Mazdaspeed 3 is its turbocharged 263-horsepower engine, and it helps this front-wheel-drive hatchback charge hard from zero to 60 mph in an impressively quick 6.3 seconds. Technically, this isn't the best time for this type of car -- the all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX can be a full second quicker in test conditions -- but the Mazda is still pretty much tops in the real world. On winding roads, the Mazdaspeed 3 really shows its stuff with precise steering, a buttoned-down suspension and sticky tires.

Like any good hot hatch, the Mazdaspeed 3 still provides ample value and practicality. Passenger space is generous, and with 42.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, the Speed 3 is the rare sporting car that can help you haul a load of stuff from Costco. The well-trimmed cabin also boasts solid fit and finish, and some features (either standard or optional) that you might not expect in this segment.

However, the Mazdaspeed 3 does have some inherent trade-offs. Most notably, sending that much power through the front wheels causes significant torque steer. Boot the throttle as you leave from a stoplight and the steering wheel will wriggle in your hands as if it has a mind of its own. The Mazdaspeed 3 also rides firmly and has a pronounced level of interior noise.

Should you prefer something tamer for everyday driving, we'd steer you to the Volkswagen GTI, a hot hatch that exists on the other side of our graph, labeled "livability." There are also a few other notable choices, including the sprightly Mini Cooper S, the Subaru Impreza WRX and the stylish Volvo C30. But for those enthusiasts who want a hot hatch with equal parts performance and versatility, the Mazdaspeed 3 is the way to go.

2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 models

The 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 is a four-door hatchback available in a lone trim level known as the Touring.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, an adjustable front center armrest, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and steering wheel controls.

The Mazdaspeed 3 Technology package adds automatic and adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system, automatic wipers, keyless ignition/entry, satellite radio (available separately) and a navigation system with a compact display screen and steering wheel controls. An iPod interface and a six-CD changer are available as dealer-installed accessories.

2012 Highlights

The previously optional 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system is now standard on the 2012 Mazdaspeed 3.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 263 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission directs the power to the front wheels.

In Edmunds performance testing, the Speed 3 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds -- quicker than most others in the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined -- OK given its power, but the Cooper S and GTI are more efficient by a fair margin.


The 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 comes with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A blind-spot warning system is included with the optional Mazdaspeed Tech package.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Mazdaspeed 3 came to a stop from 60 mph in only 113 feet, which is excellent.

Though the 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 itself hasn't been crash tested, the regular Mazda 3 hatchback upon which it's based has been tested. In government testing, the Mazda 3 earned an overall rating of four (out of a possible five) stars, with five stars for overall frontal-crash protection but just three stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Mazda 3 its highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.


Routing 280 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels is usually a recipe for torque steer. This phenomenon is minimal compared to cars of the distant past, but the 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 can still seem as if it has a mind of its own when you're too aggressive with the throttle while carving a very acute corner. Some might view this as part of the fun, but others may be willing to trade in a little power for the less wild power delivery of a GTI or WRX.

In any case, there's no doubt that the Speed 3 is one of the best-handling and most entertaining hot hatches on a winding road. Impressively precise like few other front-wheel-drive cars, the steering provides plenty of communication and faithfully transmits information from the tires. Considering the car's performance potential, the suspension also provides a fairly compliant ride, though the Mazdaspeed 3 ultimately isn't as comfortable as some other competitors. In testing, we've also found that its clutch take-up can be a little tricky compared to other cars.


The Mazdaspeed variant differs from the regular Mazda 3 with its upgraded gauges and sport front seats that have standard black leather upholstery with cloth inserts. Though the red-dot pattern of the upholstery is reminiscent of a Nike athletic shirt from the 1990s, the interior otherwise meets the same high standard of design and quality seen in the regular Mazda 3. The Speed 3 also has the same optional navigation system, which is functional but somewhat limited by its small display screen. Some features aren't shared, however, so there's no sunroof or heated power seats for the Mazdaspeed 3.

The front seats are comfortable, but could offer a bit more adjustment for taller drivers. The backseat offers acceptable space, but it pales in comparison to that of the VW GTI. Some may lament that no sedan body style is available, but the standard hatch allows for a greater level of practicality. The cargo area provides 17 cubic feet of space with the rear seats raised and expands to 42.8 with them lowered.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.75 out of 5 stars
Performance and Luxury for 27k
Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Traded in my 2007 MS3 for a 2012 w/ tech package. Even though many shun from the new "smiley" look, the added features of the tech package will make you overlook the car's questionable design. Even though the older MS3 felt more aggressive, the new one has longer 1st and 2nd gears with a lot less torque steer. Gas mileage stays the same (19-21 city; ~30 hwy). Road noise is somewhat loud but tolerable. Nav screen is too small and more difficult to use compared to the nav in the older models. The hood scoop looks amazing and gives the car that POWER look. This car definitely gets a lot of looks, more than the older model for sure.
4.75 out of 5 stars
10,000 Miles In
Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Cross shopped WRX, Ralliart, GTI. None offer as much equipment for the money. I've deemed third gear the yellow light gear as its the one to go to in order to blast from 35 ish to 65 or so. Merging is a joke, even in Philly where no one moves over (I'm a burgher), simply engage the yellow light gear and go. Constant 75 mph on Pa turnpike for 300 miles yields 28 mpg as calculated at the pump. Even in sixth you easily pass any car with vigor. Exhaust is very quiet at highway speeds. Seats are comfortable but if you're anything other than slim to medium weight (I'm 5'10 and 175 on a fat day) they will most likely be to form fitting for you. Overall, very pleased with the purchase
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Darkness has enveloped me
Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Just got my MS3 in black, I've put on a heftier rear motor/transmission mount and a heftier rear sway bar (for autocross), Strange sensation to have all that power and control (particularly with the mods) and for such a low price, the dealers can't sell them because of the manual transmission, I kid you not, I test drove one that had a dead battery, it was sitting in a back lot, covered in dust, surrounded by mazda3 automatics, quite forlorn, but I got a really great price on the car! An amazing driver's car, simply fun and well sorted. Couldn't recommend it more. You'll run out of courage before this car runs out of a capability.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Best purchase i have ever made
Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I traded in my 04 Mazda 3 5-dr for this. I test drove it, drove it home. Everyone at the dealership was mad because they didn't get a chance to drive it before it got sold. lol The clutch takes a little getting used to as it catches very early. Also ride is a little harsher than my 3, but i attribute that to 18" lower profile tires and better suspension. I take turns going twice what i did in my old car. Stock tires are only summers so make sure you get a set of winter tires(+seperate wheels, it will save you money in the long run) if you live anywhere that gets anything more than a flurry. The bluetooth is great, good stereo. Torque steer is not that bad. Overall, would buy it again.

More about the 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3

Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Overview

The Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 is offered in the following submodels: Mazdaspeed 3 Hatchback. Available styles include Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M). The Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2012 Mazda 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 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Touring is priced between $14,495 and$14,495 with odometer readings between 96507 and96507 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. 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.

Which used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2012 Mazdaspeed 3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,495 and mileage as low as 96507 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3.

Can't find a used 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 for sale - 5 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,868.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $17,299.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 for sale - 5 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $18,205.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 4 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $10,282.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mazda lease specials
Check out Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 lease specials