The hot hatchback segment is a growing market in the U.S., leaving the Mazda Mazdaspeed3 with plenty of competition now and likely even more in the future. The biggest competitor on the Mazda’s list is the 2013 Ford Focus ST, which features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed transmission. The Focus ST stays close to the MAzdaspeed3 with its 252 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque, but it’s an all-new model with little real-life experience. The Volkswagen Golf R also comes in as a competitor with its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps out 256 horsepower, but its $33,990 base price puts is well above the Mazdaspeed 3’s range. The Subaru WRX hatchback is a worthy competitor with its time-tested 265-horsepower 2.5-liter boxer engine and all-wheel drive, but its five-speed manual transmission comes up one gear too short.
The Mazda Mazdaspeed3 may not be quite as fun to drive around as a Porsche 911, but it certainly provides plenty of driving fun combined with a lot of functionality.