Last year, the 2009 Mazda MAZDASPEED3 earned third place in Motor Trend’s “Small, Fast, Fun” comparison, and apparently Mazda wasn’t happy with that. For 2010, the MAZDASPEED3 underwent an extensive redesign and styling upgrade that resulted in improvements to the transmission, suspension, and electronics, as well as fresh and functional aesthetic changes.
Just like the rest of the Mazda line, this front-wheel-drive hatchback gets the Nagare treatment, a Japanese word translating to “flow,” resulting in a new lower air dam and hood scoop bookending the new smiley-face grille. Following along the side, new side skirts lead the eye around the vehicle, showing off the larger-diameter dual exhaust tips, a larger wing, and wheels that have increased in width by half an inch.
The big changes happen under the skin, specifically in the suspension. Stiffer springs and increased damping improve both the MacPherson front strut and multi-link rear suspension, and thicker sheetmetal in high-stress locations results in what Mazda claims is a 2% increase in torsional rigidity.
The six-speed manual transmission has also been reworked with taller gearing for all but first and sixth. This, in conjunction with a larger hood scoop producing increased airflow and a new intake duct, was applied in an effort to increase overall efficiency. Braking and steering have been similarly reworked, ditching the respective mechanical and hydraulic systems for electronic units that provide an unevenly progressive ratio for the steering and an assist system for the braking. Mazda also added a torque-sensing conical limited-slip differential and a re-engineered torque-management system to deal with all the power put out by the direct-injected, 2.3-liter, turbocharged, 263-hp four-cylinder engine.
A unique interior shows off its namesake, with a MAZDASPEED3 emblem and red stitching on the bucket seats, as well as an LED boost gauge in the otherwise standard cluster, a first in the MAZDASPEED3. For those who want a bit of luxury, grab the optional Tech Package to add keyless ignition, a 5-channel Bose 6-CD satellite radio, and a navigation system with alarm.
With all these upgrades, it looks like Mazda is aiming for first place this time around. The 2010 MAZDASPEED3 won’t be released until November, however, so we’ll have to wait to see if they got it right.
|Air Conditioning||Air filtration · Automatic climate control front air conditioning · Dual front air conditioning zones · Rear heat vents|
|Airbags||Dual front airbags · Passenger airbag deactivation: occupant sensing deactivation · Front side airbags · Front and rear side curtain airbags|
|Audio System||Antenna Type: mast, diversity · Auxiliary audio input: MP3, iPod/iPhone integration, jack · Single disc in-Dash CD · MP3 player: CD MP3 Playback · AM/FM radio · Satellite Radio: ready · Speed Sensitive Volume Control · 6 Total Speakers|
|Brakes||ABS: 4-wheel · Braking assist · Electronic brakeforce distribution · Front brake diameter: 12.6 · Front brakes: ventilated disc · Power · Rear brake diameter: 11.0 · Rear brakes: disc|
|Child Safety||Child safety locks · Child seat anchors: LATCH system|
|Comfort Features||Cargo area light · Door sill trim: scuff plate · Door trim: cloth · Floor Mat Material: carpet · Floor Mats: front and rear · Foot pedal trim: aluminum · Parking brake trim: urethane · Reading lights: front · Shift knob trim: leather · Steering wheel trim: leather|
|Convenience Features||Ashtray: with lighter · Assist handle: front and rear · Bottle holders: front and rear · Cargo cover: hard · Center console: front console with armrest and storage · Cruise control · Cupholders: front and rear · Glove compartment: light · Multi-function remote: controls doors, trunk, panic alarm, keyless/illuminated entry, keyless, illuminated entry and panic alarm · Power outlet(s): two 12V · Power steering: variable power-assisted steering · Remote fuel filler door release · Steering wheel: tilt and telescopic · Steering wheel mounted controls: audio and cruise controls · Storage: door pockets - front, front seatback, accessory hook|
|Doors||Liftgate window: fixed · Rear door type: liftgate|
|Driver Seat||Active head restraint|
|Drivetrain||Axle ratio: 3.53 · Limited slip differential|
|Engine||Alternator: 110 amps|
|Exterior Features||Door handle color: body-color · Front bumper color: body-color · Grille color: grey · Mirror color: body-color · Rear bumper color: body-color · Rear spoiler: roofline spoiler · Rear spoiler color: body-color|
|Headrests||Adjustable rear headrests: height adjustable · Front headrests: height adjustable · Number of front headrests: 2 · Number of rear headrests: 3|
|Instrumentation||Boost gauge · Electroluminescent instrumentation · External temperature display · Fuel economy display: MPG and range · Multi-function display · Tachometer · Trip computer · Trip odometer: 2 · Warnings and reminders: maintenance reminder, lamp failure, low fuel, engine oil, coolant|
|Lights||Door courtesy lights · Front fog lights · Headlights: Halogen · Spoiler brake light|
|Locks||2-stage unlocking: remote · Auto-lock · Power door locks: remote|
|Mirrors||Exterior mirrors: power, integrated turn signals, manual folding · Inside rearview mirror: manual day/night · Vanity mirrors: dual illuminating|
|Passenger Seat||Active head restraint|
|Rear Seats||Type: 60-40 split bench|
|Safety||Body side reinforcements: side impact door beams · Energy absorbing steering column · Impact absorbing bumpers · Safety brake pedal system|
|Seatbelts||Front seatbelts: 3-point · Seatbelt force limiters: front · Seatbelt pretensioners: front · Seatbelt warning sensor: driver and passenger · Second row seatbelts: 3-point|
|Seats||Front seat type: bucket, reclining · Upholstery: leather/cloth|
|Spare Tire||Mount Location: inside · Size: temporary|
|Spare Wheel||Rim Type: steel|
|Stability and Traction||Stability control: electronic · Traction control|
|Steering||Steering ratio: 16.2 · Turns lock-to-lock: 2.7|
|Suspension||Front Arm Type: lower control arms · Front Shock Type: gas shock absorbers · Front Spring Type: coil springs · Front Suspension Classification: independent · Front Suspension Type: MacPherson struts · Rear Shock Type: gas shock absorbers · Rear Spring Type: coil springs · Rear Suspension Classification: independent · Rear Suspension Type: multi-link · Stabilizer bar(s): front and rear|
|Telematics||Phone wireless data link: Bluetooth|
|Tires||Tire Pressure Monitoring System · Type: all season|
|Wheels||Rim type: alloy|
|Windows||Front wipers: variable intermittent · Illuminated power window switches · One-touch windows: 1 · Power windows: front · Rear defogger · Rear wiper: fixed intermittent, with washer · Side window defogger|