Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Mazda Mazda3speedThe 2013 Mazda Mazda3speed has a new interface and some racing aspirations, but not the new Mazda3 engine. CNET's Antuan Goodwin goes for a test-drive.
-Now, the standard Mazda 3 got a pretty a big upgrade for 2013. We're talking a new Skyactive engine that's more efficient, a new visual upgrade, and a bunch of interior upgrades that made it a much better car. Now, the Mazdaspeed 3, it's a performance version here, is pretty much unchanged for its 2013 model here. With one exception, it's got a new tech package that pretty much modernizes what's arguably the best hot hatch that you can in America. I'm Antuan Goodwin with cnet.com. Let's take a look at the 2013 Mazdaspeed 3 and check the tech. Now with the standard Mazda 3 is available in sedan, the Mazdaspeed 3 is only available as a hatchback. Now, you can tell it from a standard hatch by its more aggressive spoiler. Its bigger 18-inch wheels with their much more aggressive brakes. Our model is also equipped with the adaptive front lighting system. It's a high intensity discharge lighting system that steers a little bit when you turn your steering wheels. So, you kind of see around turns when you drive at night. All right, from the driver's seat of the new Mazdaspeed 3, we can see one really big change right away, and that's this new touchscreen navigation system that's powered by TomTom. Now, where the previous Mazdaspeed 3 and the Mazda 3 units used to hide their navigation up in this little tiny 3-1/2-inch screen. Now, you've got a really big touch screen that gives you a lot of real estate for sort of pulling around with, hitting buttons, and also viewing the map. You got AM/FM with HD radio decoding. You got your Sirius XM satellite radio, Bluetooth for handsfree calling and audio streaming. Now, if you've got a Bluetooth paired smartphone, Android or iOS, and it's running Pandora, you can actually reach up right here and hit one button, and actually have your phone launch the Pandora app, automatically switch over into an accessory mode that will lock you out of your phone, and transfer all of those Pandora controls right over here into the Mazdaspeed 3's dashboard. You get all of your audio information about what's playing, who's playing, get all your stations right here, so you can browse through those. Now, let's get over to the nav because this is interesting. It's basically what they have done, has taken the TomTom navigation unit boiled down to just its data, put it on an SD card somewhere in this dashboard, and then giving you the read out here. So, the interface is exactly what would see on a modern TomTom navigation device. You've got your maps here. You can tap anywhere and bring up the familiar TomTom menu, where you can search for destinations, get traffic and what not. It's all here. Now, you spent that navigation system. These 2 displays up here on the eyebrow, still remain the same. One of them pretty only displays your climate control information, and the other one is pretty much relegated to just showing your instantaneous fuel economy and range in miles. You've also got brand new in the Mazdaspeed 3 a blind spot information system. You hit a button on the dashboard, and whenever is something in your blind spot, you get a little light in the wing there. There is no backup camera standard on this vehicle, and I don't even know if you can get one as an option, probably needs one. Lift the hood of the Mazdaspeed 3, and the first thing you'll be greeted with is this top mount intercooler. Now, the purpose of this thing is to cool the intake charge coming in from that hot turbocharger and fed cool air by this actual functional hood scoop on the hood. Now, underneath this, you will find the 2.3-liter turbocharge engine that's gonna output 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Now, all of that is going to the front wheels by way of a 6-speed manual transmission. That's a lot of torque. So, you wanna make sure that steering will point nice and straight before you drop the hammer. Torque steer is gonna be a bit of a problem. Fuel economy is rated at 18.25, but let's be honest, I'll be lucky if I can get 10. It makes pretty good sound for that, you know, basically a turbocharger ports under-- It's really easy to [unk] engines to end up sounding like weed whackers or lawn mowers or something like that. This has actually got a pretty good sound because Mazda spent some time tuning in the exhaust. Power is good too. You know, I've complaint the first time I got an opportunity to drive this car. It was a couple of years ago and it was at night and in the rain and 280 pound-feet of torque at night in the rain in the front-wheel drive car as you can imagine is kind of scary. On dry roads, it's not actually that bad, and that's helped partially by the fact Mazda's engineers have limited the total torque output in first and second gear so that you get less torque steer. Now, I know a lot of people have probably also turning their [unk] by the fact that this is a front-wheel drive car, but before you go get your [unk] talking about front-wheel drives bad, rear-wheel drives good. There are a lot of really good front-wheel drive cars out there. This is arguably one the best one that you can by. The suspension tune is firm but not punishing. You definitely wanna avoid potholes and any sort of like drainage grates on the side of the road though because it is a bit of a rough ride, but it's not punishing. You don't really have to dodge joints in the roads and it's firm so that you get a lot of good feedback through the steering wheel and through seat in your pants. Other than that, highway speed, you don't really get a ton of road noise. You do have wired tires from the suspension on this vehicle and you would have on your standard miles [unk]. So, there is a bit of a road noise, but it's not so much that you can't really hear the Bose audio system that we've got on this vehicle. Now, the Bose audio system sounds pretty good, but I had to double check that it was actually premium audio because it doesn't sound premium good. It's just alright. Expecting your 2013 Mazdaspeed3 couldn't be easier, based at 24,200 bucks, and there's only one option you want that's the all encompassing tech packages gonna add the navigation, the blindspot monitoring, the adaptor front lighting, all of that for $2,485. Add in a couple of small dealer installed options and our destination charge to reach our as tested price of 27,955 bucks. That's probably the sweet spot for the Mazdaspeed 3. You really can't get a better deal for a high performance hot hatchback on the side of a Subaru WRX, sort of Mitsubishi Ralliart Sportback.