2021 Mazda 3 Turbo First Test: Power Move

2021 Mazda 3 Turbo First Test: Power Move

The last time the Mazda 3 had a turbo stuffed under its hood, it was a performance-oriented hot hatch – dubbed the Mazdaspeed 3 – that thrilled compared to the Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX. It was loud, rude, and kept you on your toes with unpredictable steering torque, but it was so much fun. The 2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo is not that car. And really, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to the automaker’s pivot to a near-luxury brand.


To that end, the new Mazda 3 Turbo delivers performance, but delivers it in a more mature and refined way. And compared to the regular non-turbo Mazda 3, the turbocharged version makes it a much more convincing competitor to German entry-level luxury brands like the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 2 Series, which all also turbo pack.

Under the hood is the same 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that Mazda uses throughout its lineup. The output is rated at 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on 93-octane fuel. Those numbers drop to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft with regular 87 octane fuel. A six-speed automatic system and all-wheel drive complete the drivetrain for sedan and hatchback body styles (neither front-wheel drive nor manual transmission comes with the turbo). All in all, it’s a decent power jump over the 2.5-liter non-turbo 3, which puts out 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft.

Speaking of which, I happen to be the long-term caretaker of our naturally aspirated Mazda 3 hatchback. Its combination of front-wheel drive and manual gearbox prevents an apple-to-apple comparison with the turbo hatch we tested here, but the extra horsepower and torque does a lot to liven up the chassis. Offline power delivery is linear and smooth, whether you’re in a rush or taking things easy. The motor note is nice and deep under full throttle, although the speakers do play a small role in improving what you hear. The six-speed automobile is an outlier in an eight-speed and CVT world, but it’s responsive and mostly does its job imperceptibly.

The turbo looks a lot faster than the Standard 3, and our test numbers certainly back it up. Sprinting from zero to 60 mph and through the quarter mile took 5.9 seconds and 14.5 seconds respectively, 2.2 seconds and 1.7 seconds faster than a non-turbo 2020 Mazda 3 AWD sedan that we tested. These times are also on par with a few German counterparts that Mazda aspires to compete with. A 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4Matic, for example, hit 100 km / h in 6.2 seconds, and a 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupé did so 6 seconds flat.

We haven’t weighed a standard Mazda 3 hatchback yet, but compared to the aforementioned all-wheel-drive sedan, our hatchback turbo tester was only 84 pounds heavier (3,374 pounds). To counteract the extra weight, Mazda increased the stiffness of the front springs by 15% and stiffened the shocks a bit. The steering arm has also been reinforced, a change that will also make its way in non-turbo Mazda 3s.

Fortunately, these slight modifications did not have a negative effect on handling. The steering feel is similar to that of its non-turbo counterpart – slightly numb, but it responds well to inputs. Chris Walton, editor-in-chief of test drives, clocked an eight of 26.4 seconds and had a great time. “It’s amazing how the turbo really woke this car up,” Walton said. “It does a really good job reducing the extra power for the skidpad exits. There is only a slight tendency to understeer in the middle of the turns, but I was also able to spin the car off the accelerator.

The list of complaints is not long and primarily reflects my experience with our Mazda 3. For starters, it doesn’t quite mask the potholes or the pitted cobblestone as well as the luxury made (or the Civic, d ‘elsewhere), and the rear passenger area is quite narrow. Mazda also stuck with the Piano Black interior trim, which didn’t hold up well in our long-term model.

That said, the interior is still a pretty nice place. Our test car was a Premium Plus model, which includes new technology for 2021, including a 360-degree view monitor and traffic jam assist, which manages steering, throttle and brake inputs at lower speeds. at 40 mph. Other perks include a home theater-worthy Bose sound system, head-up display, LED headlights and a heated steering wheel. Quite impressive for a list price of just under $ 35,000.

So while the Mazda 3 turbo might not be what car enthusiasts were hoping for, it’s far from a boredom behind the wheel and is packed with luxuries that might convince you that growing up just might not be. not be that bad after all.

Mazda 3 AWD SkyactivG Turbo 2021
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront engine, all-wheel drive, 5 passengers, 4-door hatchback
ENGINE2.5 L / 227 hp / 310 lb-ft * turbo DOHC 16-valve in-line
TRANSMISSION6 speed automatic
WEIGHT ON BOARD (F / R DIST)3374 pounds (62/38%)
Length x Width x Height175.6 x 70.7 x 56.7 inches
0 to 60 mph5.9 seconds
QUARTER MILE14.5 s at 95.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH123 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT26.4 s at 0.65 g (average)
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD147/109 kWh / 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB0.75 lbs / mile
* Power reaches 250 hp / 320 lb-ft with premium fuel

Mazda 3 Turbo first test after 2021: Power Move appeared first on MotorTrend.

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