2008 Mazda Speed 3, 5 passenger sedan (670)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2008 Mazda Speed 3. By any measure or opinion you can’t argue with the fact that this is a high performance car. You need only test drive the car to be instantly impressed. It is truly a rocket and no matter what cars I have driven and on the highway or racetrack this is among the best handling of what’s available for everyday drivers.

General Info:

Parts – Japan 95%

Assembly – Japan

Class:  – Compact

Cars: – CX-7, CX-9, Mazda 3,5,6 & Mazda 6 Sport Wagon, Speed3, Speed6, MX-5 Miata, RX8, Tribute and Truck.

Handling & Performance:

The real test is always on the mountain curves of Angeles Crest where this Speed3 was right at home. The turbocharged 2.3 liter 4-cylinder 263 hp engine acted like it had a ‘jet assist’ take off module on the sides and literally it will pull the steering wheel (front wheel drive) hard to the right as it slips from your grasp… so watch that when you test it. It reminded me of taking off in a Cessna 150 just as you lift off the end of the runway and you must apply a hard right rudder to compensate for engine torque that causes a pull to the left.

Looking at the high tech steering, brake distribution and stability controls along with the front and rear stability bars it is easy to see why it handles so well. Ok, so this stuff costs money and will help to explain why the price is so high and seemingly more money than you’d initially expect from a compact car where you’d also expect better fuel economy and more economical pricing. If you want performance, however, you’ll overlook the downside effect of purchase price and operating costs. And of course it is a sedan so it doubles as a transporter of up to 5 passengers plus you get a high performance car like one of my all time favorites – the Nissan Z.

Styling:

Non-descript design which is common of today’s cars that are designed on computers that eliminates human emotion almost completely. Yes, gone are the days of wild flairs of design extremes of the 1950s and 1960s when we didn’t have computers and CAD (computer aided design software) systems.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

The purchase price was more than I expected, even after getting past the initial feeling it was a kids car. But it is impressive and comes close to being worth the money. If you’re into high performance cars you’ll love it but if you aren’t don’t waste your time looking at this one unless you are simply curious. The cost is high because it is so capable and you’ll pay for all the high tech stuff – so if you expect an inexpensive transportation or commuter look elsewhere.

Conveniences and comfort:

What you see is what you get… everything is included in the MSRP.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are into high performance cars and still want the convenience of a 5-passenger sedan this is the hot “E” ticket ride. Road racers will love this car.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda Speed 3 $22-24,000, Saturn Ion $12-20,000, Pontiac G6 $18-29,000, Mitsubishi Eclipse $20-29,000, Audi A3 $26-35,000, Dodge Caliber $14-20,000, Subaru Impreza Wagon $17-25,000, Nissan Sentra $15-20,000, Volkswagen GTI $23,000, Scion tC $17,000, Mazda 3 $14-20,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $14-19,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000, Hyundai Tiburon $17-22,000, MINI Cooper $18-25,000.

Good News:

Fun to drive sporty sedan, more than a kids car, very comfy seats and zippy performance.

Bad News:

Fair fuel economy at best especially when you drive to performance potential, 6-speed trans takes a little getting used to.

Standard Equipment:

2.3 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged all aluminum engine, 6-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, torque sensing limited slip differential, 18 inch allow wheels with high performance tires, automatic on/off headlights, fog lights, rain sensing wipers, leather and fabric seats, 60/40 split fold down rear seat backs, Bose audio system with 7 speakers and 6 disc CD player and SIRIUS satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, tilt and telescopic steering column, cruise control, power windows and locks, dual front air bags, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, variable assist power steering, and 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes with electronic brake distribution, dynamic stability control and traction control, climate control, center console, adjustable driver seat with lumbar support, leather wrapped steering wheel, aluminum foot pedals and foot rest, trip computer, anti-whiplash front seat design, child anchor system, anti-theft immobilizer and theft deterrent security system and remote keyless entry.

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. October 2, ‘07

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

20 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,055.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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