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Vancouver Auto Chat 2016 VAC Community Head Moderator: Raid3n

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Old 07-29-2016, 07:51 PM   #1
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Revscene Reviews Member's Rides: 2013 Mazda MazdaSpeed 3

When people talk about the Mazda Mazdaspeed 3, it’s generally about how much torque steer and how it can literally rip your arm off, but those are stock cars and with some aftermarket modifications could it help and make it a bargain Focus ST?

In for review this week is my friend’s Speed 3, it’s lightly modified to help the overall balance of the car. Let’s start with the basics the Speed 3 came from the factory with 263hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s not too bad in terms of raw power, but unlike modern cars the speed 3 is more “old school” in the way its turbo-charged. The power builds slowly at lower rev range, and it’s not until 3000 rpm when you get full torque and the surge of power. Because of this driving the car everyday might feel like just a regular Mazda 3, and respond with decent fuel economy if that’s something that you are concerned about. This particular Speed 3 has a few upgrades that can aid the car’s overall response starting with a bigger CPE top mount intercooler, Cobb intake, inlet, and Accessport v3. Power has been increased to around 300 at the wheels and 340 Torque, one might think the car really didn’t require any more power with its torque steer problems but with the upgraded H&R springs, rear engine mount, and Tanabe strut bar it wasn’t really a problem. The car tracks straight during hard acceleration, when merging on the highway we did some pulls and the steering wheel didn’t kick as I expected, as the roads were smooth the Speed 3 pulled nice and straight. At just shy of 3000 rpm you get pushed back into the Bride Zeta 3 all the way up until red line. Boost does die off near the top as expected with smaller turbos but it still gives the driver a feel of a boosted surge.

With the aftermarket upgrades the car is more enjoyable however some might find the ride a bit stiff, with just the springs upgrade and lack of aftermarket dampening adjustment the ride was a bit harsh, but the owner assured me that it performs well at autocross and its still a comfortable during long journeys. Personally I think dedicated coil-overs or better struts would be a next upgrade just to have a better ride.

Overall the car feels amazing for the price, $20,000 for a un-modified version off craigslist a couple of bolt ons can really transform this car to be much more enjoyable. Best thing it's still practical, at the end of it the Speed3 is still a hatch with lots of room in the trunk to fit all of life's things and with the seats folded it's basically a mini wagon. Comparing the Speed3 to it's rivals, the Speed3 has a few things that stands out. Starting with ease of use, the dash layout simply makes sense the radio controls, climate control, everything falls into hands nicely without distracting the driver from the job of driving. Secondly is support, there's a pretty big following for Mazda3s in general. There's plenty of forums, site that dedicate pages upon pages of aftermarket add-ons and maintenance.

Is this a car for everyone? I would say not, the car has some great points but it's more focused on cheap speed then comfort or luxury, and the interior is a place where you can tell. The interior panels are made from a patterned fabric which makes the car feel a bit cheap, along with large amounts of shiny plastics it doesn't scream upscale and to add to that the leather seats in the car feels more leatherette then leather. BUT if the interior is not a huge factor and you want a car that can easily hit 155mph then the Speed 3 is worth a look. To answer the initial question yea the Speed 3 is cheaper then equivalent Focus ST and will deliver a similar feel, of a spirited hatch with good driving dynamics with out compromising on space.

These headlights have a lot of detail inside and it looks pretty good, illumination was good with the standard HID

Words and Photos by: Jimmy Mak
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