It just goes to show what happens if you read Consumer Reports and “Car and Driver”: and try to find a car that both the practical folks at CR like and the sporty folks at C&D like. The only crossovers are the BMW 328i and the Mazdaspeed 3. I have never even thought about buying a Mazda before, but it makes some sense when you think about it. The Mazda 3 was called the Protege and really saved that company. The Mazdaspeed 3 itself has 260 horsepower on a very light 2500 pound chassis, so it just flies at 5.7 seconds 0-60 and it is just $25K. That’s kind of an amazing value. And it has really gotten some good reviews. The car won Car and Driver 10Best this year and last year and over a “couple”: of reviews including this month where it won the “hot hatches in the roaring 20s”:

There is a “2008.5”: model refresh that happens in January. The big ones are that Sunlight Silver and Cosmic Blue (I actually like that color) are being discontinued, instead you can now choose Black mica, True Red, Crystal White Pearl Mica and Metropolitan Gray Mica (hey that’s is that means Blue and Silver are gone and you now get Black, Red, White and Gray :-). Also they are taking all the Dark Gray trim out and replacing it with Black.

The main competition looks like the Subaru Impreza WRT and the Mitsubishi EVO. Both are $5K more expensive since they are all wheel drive and the Mazda is larger in the rear seat so more practical.

Why does it work so well? The chassis is actually developed by Volvo and is the Ford C1 global platform. It is what is used in the Ford focus and the Volvo S40. Ford owns 30% of Mazda so that makes sense. and is inside the 40 series cars, so it has a European like ride. The rear suspension was designed by Ford and is an E-link multilink suspension. The transmission is borrowed from the RX-8. The car is made in Japan and has a 2.3 liter, turbocharged engine and comes with a six-speed manual for the old fashion folks like me. Outside of America, it is called the “Axela”:

Only thing to note is that in 2009, there will be a redesign coming which will be sportier and the 2.3L will become at 2.5L with photos at “”: That means btw about 30hp more for the 2009 model.

“”: seems to be the place that Mazda types hang out.

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