2010 Mazda 3 MPS 2.3 turbo
A new benchmark for turbo'd fun
This car is a great all rounder.
It's fast, practical (5 doors with a good size boot) and reasonably economical when you want it to be.
The looks are subjective. After 1 year of ownership it still turns heads. I like the look of it. It's different and rare to see, so people look.
I get the full use of this car as it was intended, as I live within 5 minutes of the German autobahn, so I get fast fun out of it.
It's great to see much bigger and more expensive cars having to pull over to me at 230km/h, but at that speed this car can drink, but it's the smiles-per-mile that's important here.
Around town it's docile. I can get the book average economy of 9.5L/100km (29.6mpg).
Longer journeys above 20km I get around 7L/100km (40mpg).
Driving this car is exciting. I read reviews about how sudden the turbo is, but it's only a shock the first time you test drive it. I'm sure it's worse in some of the turbo'd super cars.
At 3000rpm the fun starts with the rush of 400Nm, and even at the top end of the speed curve in 6th gear, there is still pull all the way to the speed restrictor.
I'd love to know what the top speed would be without restriction.
Good points are that it's comfy, roomy, clear dashboard, good level of basic equipment. Groovy blue pedal, door and ceiling lighting, great build quality for the price, spacious enough for a 6 footer like me.
Technical details like chain cam engine and hydraulic clutch appeal as servicing costs can be expensive for such cars, but it means there will be no 1000 Euro bill for a cambelt service here, or clutch cable to snap like 99% of other cars on the road these days.
The price is a killer (low) in comparison to the rest of the market for what you get.
Bad points are that the clutch is a nightmare to get used to, there's really no room for errors here. You either go or stall it, but practice makes perfect. I don't know if this is inherent to the model or just mine.
The rear spoiler is a bit flaky. Mine rattles a bit with slow bumpy roads now, but it's nothing major.
The electric windows are not amazing. They work, but they're not exactly the best I've ever used, especially after only 1 year of ownership.
They forgot to put the temp gauge in. OK, so it's something else to worry about, but to me it should be part of the basic dials.
Lastly, fuel needs to be minimum 98RON. I use Shell V-Power 100RON as it gives me more kilometers, so the cost is worth it to me, but you pay the price for a high-pressure turbo engine.
Overall the car is great. It's not got the full quality of a Golf, but it makes up for it if you want to have fun in a fast way.
You learn where the speed cameras are with this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th August, 2011