Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3 is a solid hot-hatch, but how does it compare to the VW GTI?

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3

This past September, we were fortunate enough to spend a week with the 2010 Mazda3 and were very pleased to say the least. The Japanese carmaker”s compact offering is practical, fuel-efficient, modestly priced, and drives much better than most of its competition. With this in mind, it was with great excitement that we got behind the wheel of the 2010 Mazdaspeed3, a high-performance version of the Mazda3 that competes with the likes Volkswagen GTI, Subaru Impreza WRX 5- door, Honda Civic SI and the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart.

Despite the powertrain being left virtually untouched, the 2010 Mazdaspeed3 sees some significant improvement over the previous generation which improve the hot-hatchback overall. Also upgraded for the 2010 model year however, is the Volkswagen GTI, a staunch competitor to the Mazdaspeed3. We”ll take a look at how the two measure up against each other during our review.

Hit the jump to read more and to view our high-res image gallery (at the bottom of the post).

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3:

2010 Mazdaspeed3 Specifications:

Base Price: $23,945.
Price as Tested: $26,165.
Engine: MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo ““ 263-hp / 280 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: 6-speed manual.
Curb Weight: 3,221 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 6.4 seconds.
Top Speed: 155 mph
Fuel-Economy (city/highway): 18/25 mpg.

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3


The Mazdaspeed3 has always been derived from the Mazda3 5-door hatchback, but this generation sees a bold and aggressive design enhancement that adds a certain level of functionality.

Points of design differentiation on the front of the vehicle include a lower air dam, round fog lights, and an organic, metallic black grille. The hood has been altered to house the intercooler scoop in order to improve air cooling, and the front-end fenders have been flared out so as to make room to contain the wider tires featured on the Mazdaspeed variant.

The rear sees the addition of larger dual exhaust tips, a valance painted with the same metallic black as the front grille, and a larger, roof-mounted rear wing. All pf this sits atop 18 x 7.5-inch aluminum wheels that complete the look.

Mazda outdid themselves in terms of exterior design, as the Nagare-inspired design of the Mazdaspeed3 gives the car a tremendous amount of sex appeal over the competition.

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3


Use of better quality materials and a more ergonomic design signify a dramatic enhancement in interior design as well as exterior. There are not many features optionally available on the Mazdaspeed3; the $1,895 Tech package is the only available upgrade. The package includes keyless entry, push-button start, compact full-color navigation system, Sirius satellite radio (six-month trial subscription included), a perimeter alarm, 6-CD changer, and Bose Centerpoint surround sound.

Don”t panic though, because the car also comes standard with plenty of options; variable intermittent windshield wipers, a roof-mounted aerodynamic antenna, illuminated vanity mirrors, electroluminescent gauges, aluminum pedals, “˜Mazdaspeed” branded black and red cloth seats, door trim, interior trim, floor mats, scuff plates with “˜Mazdaspeed” decoration panel, and dual-zone climate control are all included as standard equipment.

There were only two bones to pick with the interior; the navigation screen is extremely small and fully-controlled through the steering wheel – which made for very difficult operation – and the vehicle is not offered with a moonroof option.

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3


The “10 Mazdaspeed3 derives its power from the automaker”s award-winning MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo which puts out 263-hp at 5,500 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. No automatic transmission is available, and the Mazdaspeed3 comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. As Mazda pointed out themselves, they felt no need to tinker with the engine but instead focused its attention on the more effective harnessing of power.

Mazda has added a hood-mounted intercooler scoop, which improves airflow significantly over the grille-mounted intercooler duct of the previous generation. Gear ratios have also been revised in the compact , three-shaft gearbox; gears 2 through 5 have all been made slightly taller to make better use of the engine”s impressive torque. Mazda”s Advanced Torque Management system is also at play; it minimizes torque steer by adjusting torque output based on gear position and steering angle. The car still retains the significant torque that it has always been known for; it is just better managed and slightly improved.

60 mph comes in about 6.4 seconds; a tad slower than the previous generation, and top speed is electronically governed at 155 mph. Despite the 0-60 time loss and no power upgrades, the 2010 Mazdaspeed3 is an overall higher quality car than previous models.

How does it stand up to the 2010 Volkswagen GTI:

We drove the 2010 GTI back in December and loved every second of it. We described that car as “˜stonkingly fast, fuel-efficient, practical, and affordable.” Lets see how the “10 Mazdaspeed3 stands in comparison to the “10 GTI.

Although the Mazdaspeed3 has significantly more horsepower – 263-hp versus the GTI”s 200-hp, the GTI rides in a much more refined manner, almost like a miniature Audi. Considering the large difference in horsepower, the fact that the GTI reaches 60 mph in 6.7 seconds as opposed to the 3″s 6.4 seconds is also a trait to the credit of the Germans. The handling on the GTI is also far superior to that on the Mazdspeed3.

If you”re the type for burnouts and a ton of noise and torque steer, then the Mazdaspeed 3 is your vehicle, but if you prefer a precise, sporty drive that leaves you with a sense of confidence, you want to opt for the GTI.

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3


The “10 Mazdaspeed 3 comes with a starting MSRP of $23,945. Opt for the Tech Package and that number shoots to $25,840. With accessories such as all-weather floor mats, wheel locks, cargo net, and other options, the 3 could wind up costing you as much as $26,335. The GTI carries a starting sticker of $23,489 and increases in price to $24,089 for the 5 door model, and after a bunch of options can be as high as the low $30k”s. Pricing considered, shop based on your style and choose accordingly.

Review: 2010 Mazdaspeed3:

– By: Omar Rana and Stephen Calogera

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.