2008 Mazdaspeed3 Review – Mazda Go Zoom-Zoom

Expert Reviews Mazda

“ZOOM-ZOOM” read the placard where the rear license plate should have been. Boy does this car zoom. Mash the throttle, get the revs over 3500 rpm, and you’re in the power band. Keep it above 3500 and you’ll be grinning from ear-to-ear. Maneuvering through mountain highways in 3rd or 4th allowed me to effortlessly motor past slower traffic or maneuver quickly into small openings. The direct injection engine throttle response is excellent with an associated crackle from the single-tipped, oversized exhaust. Roll the windows down at a stop light, tap the accelerator pedal, and enjoy the symphony. Braking is very good, but not stellar (as compared to the brakes on the Volvo S80). The 4-wheel disc brakes confidently scrub off speed, but I expected a little better for a car this light. Heavy braking produced only minimal dive and never any brake fade.

Having a fun car for the weekend warranted a Saturday morning to visit our favorite coffee shop in Capitola, which is only a short 45 mile drive from home. To those of you unfamiliar with the SF Bay Area, you must traverse the Santa Cruz mountains on twisty and narrow Highway 17. Effortlessly accelerating up the steeper sections to pass cars, I found myself driving faster than I ever have (in any car). The car tracks well through turns and remains flat. Some of the bumps (in turns) unsettled the firm suspension, but the tires quickly regained composure and we proceeded without incident. Feedback from the steering wheel is very good with little lash. An endorsement of the cars handling and suspension came from my girlfriend: “I feel safe in this car.” Translated, it meant she was confident the car was not going off the road during the twisty sections of Hwy 17. I concur, and even when I pushed the car on off ramps or sharp turns, the MS3 remained composed. However, everyday driving of the stiff suspension may draw complaints as even small bumps are transmitted to the occupants.

2008 Mazda Mazdaspeed3

There are a few body styles that I’ve appreciated over the years: Porsche’s 944 and 928S4, Lexus’ late 90’s GS300, and now the MAZDA3. The shoulders that start at the hood and flow over the front quarter panels are beautifully extended to the rear quarter panels. Although not the most aerodynamically shaped vehicle, it nonetheless looks like it could easily pierce the air with ease with the rather wide yet well-integrated roof spoiler taking care of air at the rear.

The honeycomb grill cover and the floating fog lights differentiate the Mazdaspeed version from the standard 3, and make the car look more performance oriented. One thing I did appreciate was the “give me a ticket now” Mazda True Red color … luscious! On an inexpensive mass produced car, the paint job is excellent with a red depth that usually requires several coats of Zymol. Very impressive Mazda!

The MS3 is a good blend of performance, usability and cost. Its a solid 5-door hatch with an awesome motor and a price tag less than $25k. The trunk area can be expanded by folding down the 60/40 split seats and cargo can be cinched down to the various factory installed tie down rings. The expanded space gives it added functionality compared to a 4-door sedan. You never know when you may have to transport a small dresser from Ikea. Compared to other cars that can reach 0-60 in just under 6 seconds, the Mazdaspeed3 doesn’t have many extras. It has the basic comfort features that you would need but the emphasis was towards performance while keeping the overall cost low. What you get is a car that will give you 18/26 city/highway mileage in a package that will outrun or out dance cars costing $5-10k more. Not a bad deal.

2008 Mazda Mazdaspeed3

“EVERY FAMILY HAS ONE… THE WILD CHILD” … that’s the tag line on the Mazda USA homepage for the 2008 Mazdaspeed 3. I’m not sure if it is really a wild child as all of the various aspects of the car are well refined and integrated producing a car that’s easy to drive and easy to own. Overall, I loved driving the car under all conditions and all of the cockpit controls were easily adjusted from the driver’s seat. The firm suspension may get a little old after a while, but you could remedy that after the warranty is over by getting adjustable Koni’s, Tokico’s, etc.

Would I buy this car? … it would definitely be at the top of the list of cars to consider. The Subaru WRX starts at $25K, the VW GTI 6-speed around $23k, and the Honda Civic Si at $21.3k. All of the competition is disadvantaged when it comes to power, and the Subie and VW would quickly zoom past $25k with additional packages. That leaves the Honda and Mazda. For a few extra thousand dollar, I’d lean toward the Mazda with a more functional design and better looking body.
















www.mazdausa.com – Official website of the Mazda Motor Corporation

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  • derek says:

    Mazda plans to recall about 514,000 vehicles worldwide to repair power-steering systems because of the risk that they could lose power steering without warning.

    The recall will affect the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 5 manufactured in Japan from 2007 to 2009. Currently, Mazda has filed recalls for 215,000 vehicles in the United States and more than 10,000 in China. The recalls will also extend to Europe and Australia.

    The recall comes about a year after Mazda started fixing vehicles in Japan for the same problem. But Mazda told the NHTSA that since the “occurrence rate was low” in the United States it issued only a technical service bulletin to dealers telling them how to fix the problem.

    So far, three accidents related to the defect have been reported in the United States. None of these accidents resulted in death or injury.

    Mazda says the problem is that rust can form inside a high-pressure pipe in the power steering system and allow particles to enter the motorized power steering pump, causing it to shut down to prevent the pump from overheating.

    The automaker said it would begin to notify affected owners of the recall in September and send notices to all owners by February.

  • pedro says:


  • dhiyaa says:

    iwant to by spear prts for zoom_zoom year2004,2005 online

  • Brian Smith says:

    “Zoom Zoom” best describes the Mazdaspeed3. I bought my ,08 last month and installed a $300 MSCAI(cold air intake) adding an extra 20-25hp and…… Holy Cow!!! Just for reference sake, my previous car was a Mustang GT Bullit so I am used to performance(not easily impressed). This is a good solid buy for under $25K, I HIGHLY recommend.

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