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Historically, the Mazda3 has always been a visually appealing car. And it’s always been pretty refined in top trim levels & an overall engaging chassis to drive. 

But it was gutless. The car never had enough power, unless you got the rowdy Speed3… which Mazda lamely quit making. 

And that left the Mazda3 with no real reason to stand out & make you want it. There was no clincher. “May as well get the CX-5” is what I always said. I’d been complaining for yeeeears that the Mazda3 needed a turbocharger to play ball. And this one – has boost! 

mazda3 turbo

The engine in this Mazda3 is a turbocharged 2.5-liter making 250hp and 320tq!

Finally! Those aren’t bad numbers! And the Mazda3 is all-wheel-drive! So it’s not a tire-spinning, under-steering hockey puck like you might imagine.

mazda3 turbocharger

All in all – The Mazda3 Turbo AWD feels good.  

It’s quick. It grips. It feels light & direct. The cabin is noticeably quiet from the outside world. The Signature LED headlights are impressive. Mazda also does a great job with ergonomics, and creates a very driver-centered experience that connects you to the car. And that differs from other brands who are making… distractions. The Mazda3 Turbo AWD is a nice package! It gives you a sense of driver awareness. I wouldn’t call it a sports car or a tuner… but it’s not some basic appliance either. 

mazda3 interior

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

And personally – I like the Mazda3’s appearance. I’m impressed with Mazda’s attention to detail, with the way the tail lights & headlights seem eclipsed & a little sinister, and with Mazda’s overall fluid/wet design. I think many of us would agree that Japanese manufactures are pumping out a lot of ugly cars these days. I have no idea what happened there. But thankfully Mazda has not followed down that road of abrupt/awkward/disturbing body lines. With the right aftermarket touches, the Mazda3 could really turn heads in my opinion. Although it’s worth noting that Hunter mentioned it looks like a giant fist dented the door in… and now I can’t unsee it lol. It seems especially obvious in this curve-accentuating Soul Red. 

mazda soul red

All that said, the turbo Mazda3 turbo is still not an all-out enthusiast’s car…

But it’s a car that enthusiasts won’t hate. And in this day & age… hell I’d chalk that up to a win lol. The Mazda3 turbo left me raising an eyebrow saying “Pretty good honestly.” But the fact that it’s soooo close, makes me want just a little more. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I wish Mazda would make a version of the 3 that takes it to the next level. Do it for the glory days. For the sake of Mazda’s brand image & for the enthusiasts… and for all the racetracks across the world with Mazda logos all over their paddocks & bridges. Bring back that fire Mazda.


Price: From $30,000

Horsepower: 250hp / 320tq (93 octane)

MPG: 27 combined

Weight: ~3,300-3,400lbs

mazda3 review

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