The final time the Mazda 3 had a turbo stuffed beneath its hood, it was a performance-oriented scorching hatch—dubbed the Mazdaspeed 3—that fans in comparison with the likes of the Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX. It was loud, crude, and stored you in your toes with unpredictable torque steer, nevertheless it was oh so enjoyable. The 2021 Mazda Three 2.5 Turbo is just not that automobile. And actually, it should not be a shock to anybody listening to the automaker’s pivot to a near-luxury model.
To that finish, the brand new Mazda Three Turbo packs efficiency, nevertheless it delivers it in a extra mature and polished means. And in comparison with the common non-turbo Mazda 3, the turbocharged model makes it a way more convincing competitor to the entry-level German luxurious makes just like the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and BMW 2 Series, all of which additionally pack turbos.
Underneath the hood is identical 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Mazda makes use of all through its lineup. Output is rated at 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane gasoline. These numbers drop to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft with common 87-octane gasoline. A six-speed automated and all-wheel-drive system spherical out the drivetrain for each the sedan and hatchback physique kinds (neither front-wheel-drive nor the handbook gearbox is obtainable with the turbo). All in all, it is a respectable leap in energy in comparison with the non-turbo 2.5-liter 3, which is available in at 186 hp and 186 lb-ft.
Talking of which, I occur to be the caretaker for our long-term, naturally aspirated Mazda 3 hatchback. Its mixture of FWD and handbook gearbox forestall an apples-to-apples comparability with the turbo-powered hatch we examined right here, however the further horses and torque do quite a bit to enliven the chassis. Energy supply off of the road is linear and satisfyingly easy whether or not you are in a rush or taking issues simple. The engine be aware is good and deep beneath wide-open throttle, although the audio system play somewhat half in enhancing what you hear. The six-speed auto is an outlier in a world of eight-speeds and CVTs, nevertheless it’s responsive and largely does its job imperceptibly.
The turbo feels a lot faster than the usual 3, and our take a look at numbers definitely affirm that. Sprinting from zero to 60 mph and thru the quarter mile took 5.9 seconds and 14.5 seconds, respectively, which is 2.2 seconds and 1.7 seconds faster than a non-turbo 2020 Mazda 3 AWD sedan we tested. These instances are additionally on par with a few German counterparts Mazda aspires to compete with. A 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4Matic, for instance, ran to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, and a 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe did it 6 seconds flat.
We now have but to weigh a typical Mazda Three AWD hatchback, however in comparison with the aforementioned AWD sedan, our hatchback turbo tester was simply 84 kilos heavier (3,374 kilos). To counter the added weight, Mazda elevated the entrance spring charge by 15 p.c and stiffened the dampers a tad. The steering arm was additionally beefed up, a change that can make its means into non-turbo Mazda 3s, as nicely.
Fortunately, these slight tweaks have not had a destructive impact on dealing with. Steering really feel is much like that in its non-turbo counterpart—barely numb, nevertheless it reacts nicely to inputs. Street take a look at editor Chris Walton put down a figure-eight time of 26.Four seconds and had fun doing so. “It is unbelievable how the turbo actually woke this automobile up,” Walton mentioned. “It does an excellent job of placing the additional energy down for the skidpad exits. There’s solely a slight tendency for mid-corner understeer however I used to be additionally capable of rotate the automobile off-throttle.”
The checklist of gripes is not lengthy and largely mirrors my expertise with our long-term Mazda 3. For starters, it does not fairly masks potholes or pitted pavement in addition to the luxurious makes do (or the Civic, for that matter), and the rear passenger space is sort of tight. Mazda has additionally caught with the piano black inside trim, which hasn’t held up nicely in our long-termer.
That mentioned, the inside remains to be a reasonably good place to be. Our take a look at automobile was a Premium Plus mannequin, which incorporates new tech for 2021 together with a 360-degree view monitor and Visitors Jam Help, which handles steering, throttle, and brake inputs at speeds beneath 40 mph. Different goodies embody a house theater-worthy Bose sound system, a head-up show, LED headlights, and a heated steering wheel. Fairly spectacular for an inventory value of just below $35,000.
So though the Mazda Three turbo is probably not the automobile fans had been hoping for, it’s miles from a bore behind the wheel and is filled with luxuries that may persuade you that rising up is probably not so dangerous, in spite of everything.
|2021 Mazda Three AWD SkyactivG Turbo|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$34,820|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||2.5L/227-hp/310-lb-ft* turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,374 lb (62/38%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||175.6 x 70.7 x 56.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.5 sec @ 95.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH||123 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.85 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.Four sec @ 0.65 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||23/31/26 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||147/109 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.75 lb/mile|
|*Output rises to 250 hp/320 lb-ft on premium gasoline|