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Should I buy a new MazdaSpeed3 ? Opinions?

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Should I buy a new MazdaSpeed3 ? Opinions?

 
Old 06-09-2009, 01:53 PM
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Vet
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Default Should I buy a new MazdaSpeed3 ? Opinions?


EDIT:
10-19-09 - four months later

I pulled the trigger! More info at post #37.



---------------

I love my C6 Vette to death and wish I could drive it everyday...

But now having to care for my 16-month old baby daughter and also having to tote large objects around on a daily basis, I need a four-door car, preferably with a hatch... essentially a small wagon of some type. But I still would like to have FUN driving. SUVs and mini-vans are perhaps the most boring vehicles that exists.

My criteria: manual transmission, excellent handling, four doors and hatch, and hopefully as much power as possible, specifically a good deal of low to mid range torque for a zippy, torquey feel during average street driving. I don't like vehicles where you have to hit redline just to have fun, I'd rather have less maximum top-end horsepower in exchange for more lower-mid-range torque where you can actually USE it without beating the daylights out of the car.

So three cars I discovered that fit the above criteria, at least to a degree... the MazdaSpeed3, the Chevy HHR SS and the Dodge Caliber SRT4.

My first choice was the Chevy because I am a Chevy fan, plus the HHR has a lot more cargo space than the other two. but I test drove an HHR recently (not an SS, just a regular one), and I did not find the seating position comfortable. It felt more like a "van" (which it is) and not much like a sports car (which is more like what I want). I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too. So I am ruling out the HHR because, while I'd love all that cargo space, if the car doesn't truly satify my sports car performance desires, it's not worth me buying it.

The SRT4 Caliber... I did sit in one (did not drive one), and I did feel much more comfortable. I fit nicely inside it. And it has a good deal of cargo space, less than the HHR, but more than the MazdaSpeed3. But there are a lot of negative reports on the net about how this car has very serious torque steer. I know that all FWD cars with big power can have torque steer, but the reviews indicate that the Caliber SRT4 has a very severe case of it. So this makes me nervous, I don't want a car that has power but yet it cannot be used.

This brings me to the MazdaSpeed3... I did sit in one and was impressed. I did not yet drive one. Reviews are generally good. I am nervous about the degree of cargo space, it might just barely be enough for what I need, if I wind up seriously considering this car, I'll have to measure the cargo area very carefully to make sure... it'll be tight. But, the car does seem to be very much a "sports car" and most say it's fun to drive.

BUT... and here's where I need some advise from Corvette people that may have experience with the MazdaSpeed3... I have a lot of experience with large naturally aspirated V8 musclecars (ala Corvettes, etc)... and I love this type of automobile. But I have NEVER driven a small cubic inch turbo-charged sports car. Ok, I do not expect a tiny little engine with turbo to perform like an LS2 V8, and would love to know more about how a Corvette fan would rate the driving experience of a MazdaSpeed3 in terms of power, smoothness, all-around torque in various rpm ranges, etc. After stepping out of a C6 Vette, will the MazdaSpeed3 feel like a little weak noisy piece of junk? Or might it actually come across as truly being "fun" like a lot of magazine reviews would have one believe?

I think, for me, a MazdaSpeed3 (or similar) might turn out to be a "love or hate" kind of thing. I'm either going to find it to be an exceptional handling car (because it is so small), and perhaps very zippy (because it is light), and thus I might dig it. Or, I may feel it is just very cheap, very weak and generally just a toy for kids.

Yes, I know, I should go test drive one. Not easy though, there does not seem to be many or any Mazda places near me that have manual tranny turbo MazdaSpeed3 cars sitting there that can be test driven. Does anyone know of a place that might rent these??? I'd gladly rent one in a heartbeat if available. But, I know that most rental places only have automatic tranny cars. Well, I suppose I'd rent an auto one if available, better than nothing... at least I could experience the engine to a degree this way.

Any other cars you guys might recommend? Again, I need the 4-doors and hatch... I often have 2'X2' boxes I need to carry... so sadly, a Camaro etc will not work out. Also, with the baby, I feel 4-doors is critical. I've been talking the baby around in my wife's Mustang GT recently, oh boy, trying to get the baby in and out of the rear seat in a small 2-door car is VERY painful, my back is killing me, it's really hard... the kid is starting to get heavy now... my bad back can't handle it. But a 4-door car makes this way easier.

Thanks!!!

Last edited by Vet; 06-01-2010 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:20 PM
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I had a 2.0T MKV 08 GTi - Wonderful little around town car. Nibmle, tq'y and easily parked. Also, I didn't care too much about it getting dinged up.

So the Mazda is a perfect similar car with MUCH more TQ.


I now drive my C6 everyday.
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:28 PM
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I used to own a Mazda Tribute when I had to tow around a shifter kart. I found the car pretty reliable and was very surprised at how it handled, given its an SUV of course. There is something to the zoom zoom, Mazda does attempt to put a sport ride into all their cars.

I test drove a Mazda Speed3 about three years ago and was pretty impressed. It does have a nice, responsive feel to it. Autocrossers seem to have a high opinion of the car. And for a small car I like the way it looks. Sometimes I regret not getting it, except that the Accord allows me more room than the 3 would have. As per the torque thing, though I loved the torque of both Corvettes I used to own, I've also owned shifter karts (high revving two-strokes) and a Honda S2000, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed driving. The lack of torque doesn't personally bother me as long as it handles and hauls.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:38 PM
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Default The speed 3

If the size is okay, you cannot go wrong with the 3. It is head and shoulders above the Dodge and Chevy and has won every contest against GTIs and other more trouble-prone contenders, consistently.

I've had my 89 Mazda MX6 GT turbo for 12 years now and I still enjoy driving it. It is not nearly as strong as the 3speed, but with over 200 lbs-ft of torque, it's no slouch, either. My daughter has an 02 Protege ES and that thing handles about as well as my C5 - lightning fast steering and a definite "riding-on-rails" feeling that is no small tribute to Mazda's persuit of handling perfection.

The 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is due out this year and that may be why there aren't many 09s in stock. If you can wait, get the 2010 version; it'll definitely be better.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:50 PM
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I've learned to appreciate the differences between my daily driver (WRX) and the Corvette. As long as you're getting a fun DD, you'll hopefully end up enjoying the DD for what it is, instead of being irritated for what it isn't (a Corvette).

The Mazdaspeed 3 is a fun little car. But you might want to consider the 2009 WRX. They bumped up the HP, and the ride is more comfortable than most of it's competitors. Plus you'd have all wheel drive in the winters!
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by WAwatchnut View Post
But you might want to consider the 2009 WRX. They bumped up the HP, and the ride is more comfortable than most of it's competitors. Plus you'd have all wheel drive in the winters!
someone told me they are ALMOST as fast as the STI which is thousands more...true?
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by valdeztke View Post
someone told me they are ALMOST as fast as the STI which is thousands more...true?
Most magazine/online tests have the 0-60 times pretty much even (1-2 10th difference at most... WRX faster in at least one test online), and the 1/4 mile times show the WRX behind by only a couple of tenths.

Around a road course it would probably be different as the suspension differences would start favoring the STI.

But for a $7-8k difference, the WRX is the smoking deal right now.

Of course we'll have to see what the next year's STI is like...
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:30 PM
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I too am considering this car. WRX (non-STI) is on the list as well. For a DD, and the money, it's hard to go wrong. Thought about a new Camaro, for $10,000 more, but I know damn well I'd end up detailing that pig EVERY weekend like the vette. Be sure to post up your experiences if you test drive one. I'm interested in hearing what a fellow V8 fan thinks of this turbocharged pocketrocket.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:35 PM
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Like with most factory turbo cars the 3 will benefit greatly from a free flowing exhaust, free breathing intake, and a tune.

It would not be unusual to see 50+ hp gains from these simple mods. One of the car mags got 25 or 26 whp from just the mazda performance parts intake.

Little turbo cars can be tons of fun, just don't expect low in grunt. Actually don't expect much before the turbo kicks in.
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:01 PM
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Great car! I say go for it.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:25 AM
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Although not a hatch, I would say another car to look at is a Lancer Ralliart. AWD and twin clutch, in the same price range as the others mentioned (maybe a little more? High 20's).
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:58 PM
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Yes.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:30 PM
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I had an '06 MazdaSpeed6, which has the same motor as the MS3. The 2.3l is plenty of motor to get you going before the turbo kicks in...and kick in it will. While the 0-? may not impress everyone...what impressed me was the 50-80mph...awesome. And the 3 is lighter, so it can only be better.

Cargo wise I sold a Mazda 3 when I got my Vette...you'll be surprised how much you can carry in the back even without the seats down. Be warned though...golf clubs do not fit very well in the back.

The one thing I did not like and the reason I got rid of the 3 instead of keeping it as my second vehicle was the rear leg room. Just wasn't any for my 13 and 15 year old.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:15 PM
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Of course, how much knee room that is available is directly dependent upon the height of the driver and kids. When my daughter drives her Protege, a 6 foot 2 person can easily sit in the back. On the other hand, when my 6 foot 2 brother-in-law drives even a Lexus sedan (anything smaller than a 460), there is not much room in the back.
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:42 AM
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I'd look for a one or two year old one. They made it ugly with the most recent design. It has a huge "smile" that is awful.



http://www.autoblog.com/2009/04/13/f...nside-and-out/
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lionsfan5454 View Post

I'd look for a one or two year old one. They made it ugly with the most recent design. It has a huge "smile" that is awful.
Yeah, I know. What were they thinking? I'm not one to be bothered too much by aesthetics, but this new "smile" grille looks obnoxiously silly. Perhaps you could paint the black grill area the same color as the body to help camouflage that goofy smile.

Gee... how can things like this get past the execs. I thought the goal was to sell cars? I will seriously consider trying to find a left-over `09 if I decide to buy one of these. I'd be a bit embarrassed to drive around with that big "smile".

I have noted that a lot of new 2010 cars (Japanese specifically) have very bad styling changes. Don't know what's going on here.

But... actually, the C6 Corvette has a hint of a "smile" too... looks like a vicious shark smiling because he just found dinner, and is about to rip your legs off... that type of smile is ok. The Mazda looks like a little girl smiling because she was just handed a lollipop.

Every time I want to buy a new car they screw it up. Actually, the C6 Vette is probably the only car I've ever purchased that I was 100% in love with and still am.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:55 PM
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Unfortunately for 09-lookers, the 10 is a better car in every way. That's the price you pay for not liking the smiley face. I agree that it looks goofy, but painting the grill the same color as the body should help quite a bit.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave68 View Post
...the 10 is a better car in every way...
What aspects of the 2010 model have been improved over the 2009? I thought I had read that the car was going to be pretty much the same except for the smiley face...? Any notable mechanical improvements? Engine, tranny, handling...? Please specify. Thanks.
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:52 AM
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Target launch is the Fall, but according to a MotorTrend article about its European debut,

It's also more efficient, returning 26 mpg combined on the Euro-cycle, an improvement of nearly two mpg over the old car despite a 0.01 increase in the drag coefficient from 0.31 to 0.32. Mazda has also beefed up the frame around the front cowl and rear suspension to stiffen the car up and improve the handling. They even took it out to the Nurburgring to sort out the suspension and make it more stable in turns and especially over broken or wavy pavement. Wider tires on new 18-in wheels no doubt help the cornering performance as well.

The biggest changes, though, are skin-deep. The new Mazdaspeed3's Nagare-style grinning grille remains largely the same up front, but features reworked air intakes that feed passing air to the brakes more efficiently. Also of note on the front clip is the deletion of lower ducts set below the fog lights. More aggressive side skirts continue the Mazdaspeed theme along the flanks and to the rear, the enhancements culminate with a blacked-out rear diffuser sporting a dual exhaust. A more pronounced wing also perches above the five-door's hatchback. Bolder fenders house the larger wheel and tire setup, while the bulging hood features a gaping scoop to feed the intercooler.

CLICK TO VIEW GALLERYThe Euro-spec and U.S.-spec Mazdaspeed3 aren't identical, but the Mazda3 MPS should give us a pretty good idea of what to expect from the U.S. model. Though the U.S. car is more powerful than the Euro model, turning out 263 hp and 280 lb-ft, it looks as though we may not see a power increase either. Mazda has also put to bed rumors of an AWD Mazdaspeed3, telling Motor Trend that the AWD system that would fit the car takes up too much space and wouldn't stand up to the HP.
So most likely, you won't get more power. However, better handling is big plus and THAT is a given.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:47 PM
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Default Go for it!

I drive a '07 Mazdaspeed 3 as my daily driver. I now have 45,000 mile on it and I love it. Only problem that I have had was an oxygen sensor that was replaced under warranty. It has plenty of low end torque when you get lazy with the shifter. It is great in the snow with winter tires.

The Vette is still my preference (especially for longer distance trips) but the Speed 3 is a different kind of fun.
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