We really like the Mazda 3. It’s by far the best-looking family hatchback and it drives really quite nicely, too. But even with the trick Skyactiv-X engine it’s… not a fast car. Since day one we’ve been lobbying Mazda to bring back the 3 MPS (or Mazdaspeed 3, for you Americans) but so far our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
It looks like someone at Mazda might have been half listening to us, though. The company’s US division will soon start offering the 3 with a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making a handy 250hp and 430Nm. Sounds interesting. Especially with standard all-wheel drive.
Downsides? Who knows if we'll get the engine in Singapore. Moreover the 2.5-litre petrol is only available with an automatic gearbox, and Mazda doesn’t appear to have done anything to the chassis or suspension. This is not the Mazda 3 hot hatch we long for, merely a more powerful version of the standard car. Which is a shame.
Come on Mazda. A hatchback that looks this good deserves a proper hot version. While this is a start, we want more. You with us, Internet?
STORY Tom Harrison