2007 MAZDASPEED3 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda3 changed the way people thought about compact cars when it was launched as a 2004 model. This is a premium automobile, exciting to drive, styled adventurously, and fully equipped with luxury features. There's nothing austere, basic or cheap about it.
For 2007, Mazda has upgraded the appearance of its s-model sedan and s-model five-door hatchback with a body-color grille, a redesigned front bumper with square foglights, and a new look for both the 16- and 17-inch, cast-aluminum wheels. Detail changes also improve interior appearance, and leather is now optional for all s-models, both sedan and five-door hatchback. An auxiliary audio input with 12-volt power outlet is now standard for all models, making them iPod-friendly.
Upgrades for 2007 also include some changes to improve the driving personality of the Mazda3. Reinforcements to the body shell improve overall chassis rigidity. The front dampers of the MacPherson strut suspension have been retuned to quicken steering response and reduce understeer, while the dampers of the multi-link rear suspension also have been retuned to match. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist are standard equipment for all s-models and optional for the i-model sedan. Traction control and stability control are now available for both the s-model sedan and five-door. All models are front-wheel drive.
The Mazdaspeed3 joins the model lineup for 2007. A true high-performance car featuring a 263-hp, turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, the Mazdaspeed3 joins a group of extreme sports sedans that includes the Honda Civic Type S, Mitsubishi Evo MK IX, and Subaru Impreza WRX.
The Mazda3 is built in Japan, yet beneath the skin you'll find evidence of engineering from around the world. Volvo developed the body. Ford contributed the suspension design and sophisticated electronics. And Mazda engineered the four-cylinder engines and then tuned the complete car at its test track in Japan.
As a result, the Mazda3 has the personality of a true world car. It's space-efficient and exciting to drive like a European car. It's practical and economical like a Japanese car. And it's available with a surprising list of comfort and luxury features just like an American car.
The sedan and hatchback versions look quite different. The sedan has the traditional appearance of a four-door, five-passenger car. The five-door hatchback is like the high-fashion station wagons from European manufacturers, offering the practicality of the five-door configuration with an emphasis on a premium driving experience, which means plenty of luxury features plus plenty of driving enjoyment.
The Mazda3 sedan comes with three levels of available equipment: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The entry-level i-model is available with a fuel-efficient, 148-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the sporty s-model is equipped with a sophisticated 156-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder.
The Mazda3 five-door hatchback comes standard with the 156-hp 2.3-liter engine. The five-door also comes in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim.
Safety features that come on all Mazda3 models include front airbags and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Side airbags and head-protection curtain airbags are optional. Electronic stability control and traction control are available on uplevel models.
The Mazda3i Sport sedan ($13,895) comes with the 2.0-liter engine with five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. It comes with 195/65HR-15 all-season tires. It does not come with power windows or power door locks, yet it includes audio controls mounted on the steering wheel for the standard AM/FM/CD audio system.
The Mazda 3i Touring sedan ($16,255) adds air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, power-adjustable outside mirrors, an upgraded six-speaker audio system, and 205/55HR-16 all-season tires. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional.
The Mazda3s Sport sedan ($17,190) features the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine plus 205/55HR-15 tires. A five-speed automatic transmission is optional. Air conditioning, power windows and door locks, and an upgraded audio system are standard.
The Mazda3s Touring sedan ($18,425) adds high-performance 205/50VR17 tires on cast-aluminum wheels, electronic stability control and traction control. Side-impact and head-protection airbags are standard. The Mazda3s Grand Touring sedan ($19,895) adds high-intensity headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic climate control, a trip computer, and a theft-deterrent system.
The Mazda3s Sport five-door ($17,680) comes with the 2.3-liter engine and a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The 205/50VR17 all-season tires on cast-aluminum wheels are standard, as are anti-lock brakes with brake assist. Power mirrors, windows, and door locks are all standard. Side airbags are not available, but head-protection airbags are standard.
The Mazda3s Touring five-door ($18,425) adds stability control and brake assist. Side- and head-protection airbags are standard. The Mazda3s Grand Touring five-door ($19,895) adds automatic climate control, high-intensity headlights and fog lights, an upgraded audio system, a navigation system and theft-deterrence.
The Mazdaspeed3 five-door comes with a 263-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, stability control and 215/45YR18 tires. There are two versions of the Mazdaspeed3, Sport ($22,340) and Grand Touring ($24,055), which adds rain-sensing windshield wipers, high-intensity headlights, upgraded audio, and an optional navigation system.