Mazdaspeed 3 Review

Looking for the most fun you can have involving four wheels and a five-figure price tag?

You just found it.

The Mazdaspeed 3 has been a hot ticket for quite a while...but they keep making it better and better...and the new 2010 model just pegs the fun meter all the way.

Turbocharged. Intercooled. 263 horsepower...96 more than the stock Mazda 3.

Put your foot in it and hang on.

Best of all, Mazda's not only making each Mazdaspeed 3 faster, but more civilized.

You might expect a punishing ride. You'd be wrong.

You might expect bargain-basement surroundings (or else how could they sell so much power for $23,195 base?). You'd be wrong.

The Mazdaspeed 3 is so well equipped (18 inch wheels, halogens, cloth & leather seats, killer audio system, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control) that you could buy it absolutely stock and have a winner.

As it was, the test car only had one option...the Mazdaspeed Tech Package...an audio system upgrade, navigation, alarm and keyless start for $1895. Anything that gets nav alone below 2 grand has to be considered an advancement.

With delivery charges, $25,840...and a bargain in every way.

EPA estimates: 18 mpg city/25 highway. Five star crash ratings, except four for side crash rear seat. Four star rollover.