Thanks To The Mazda3 Hatchback Turbo, I Finally Understand Car Mods And Tuning


I don’t quite understand the appeal of modifying and tuning a car. After all, automakers spend hundreds of millions of dollars designing to deliver every aspect of their cars, which are typically focused on performance, reliability, usability, comfort, driving dynamics, and practicality. It is a proper blend of and is meant for some yokels to grant some wishes. com ruin it all with aftermarket parts.


I’ve always had the mentality that if you buy a car that’s slow, sluggish, or ugly, you have to live with it. There is a risk that the whole will be greatly deteriorated.

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Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In-house tuning companies such as AMG, Nismo, BMW M, SRT and Ford Performance are adept at extracting all the performance from products manufactured by their parent company Bean Counter. On the other hand, external tuners such as Shelby, Novitec, Mansory and Manhart have a rich history of providing extra power, eye-catching looks, or both.

And while they offer professional-grade products, people who install big turbos on regular sedans on the street usually have the engineering skills to paste wallpaper. not. But then he spent a week in the 2023 Mazda 3 Turbo Hatchback.

Related: 2023 Mazda3 Hatchback Review: A Fun Drive With Lots of Chutzpah


Mazda3 is a great hatchback with power issues

Joe Parker/Top Speed

2023 Mazda3 Turbo Hatchback parked near a lake

The Mazda3 is a little gem of a hatchback. It has a handsome and beautifully sculpted design despite the clumsy C-pillar. It offers the type of ‘feel’ that enthusiasts crave, and brings a genuine connection to the twisty roads. Its ride is very comfortable on your daily commute, but even when you hit a few corners it stays firmly planted with plenty of grip. It feels luxurious. It has enough technology and equipment to start and is affordable.

But there are flies in the ointment, and that’s the standard engine in the Mazda3 hatchback. His 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 191 horsepower, a five-horsepower increase over the 2022 model and 186 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are not trivial. Mazda is clearly more powerful than Honda Civic, Hyundai He Elantra, Toyota Corolla and Subaru Impreza. But when you combine that with the Mazda3’s excellent “Zoom-Zoom” driving dynamics, it feels as if the hatchback could growl a little more. And thanks to his turbocharged Mazda3 hatch introduced for model year 2021, he receives plenty of the power he needs.

RELATED: Here’s why the Mazda 3 Turbo could be a better replacement for the 2023 Acura Integra

Turbo engine gives Mazda3 the power it deserves

2023 mazda 3 turbo hatchback red rear
Joe Parker/Top Speed

2023 Mazda3 Turbo Hatchback Rear View

Whether hatchback or sedan, the Mazda3 Turbo produces 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque from a 2.5-liter unit, boosting the pony by a whopping 59 horsepower and nearly doubling the torque of the standard ‘3’. When you hold the handle, the difference is clear. The standard engine feels peppy on initial acceleration but runs out of steam quickly, while the turbocharged engine drops its added power with enthusiasm and seemingly does so all the way to the red line.

Turbo gives you extra power to make the most of the incredible feel from the Mazda3’s steering wheel and the ample communication the suspension sends to your back. And while it’s questionable whether this luxury small family car will find its way into drag racing competition at the grocery store, the turbocharged engine cuts his 0-60 from 8.2 to just 6.1 ticks by over two seconds. To do.

Now, it should be noted that the improved 0-60 times and a livelier feel in the corners aren’t just about the engine. Turbo-equipped Mazda3 models are available with all-wheel drive only. And these cars are by far the most expensive.

The base turbocharged model ($32,450 without destination) costs just under $6,000 more than the fully-equipped Preferred model ($26,550) with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter and front-wheel drive. Again, the Turbo model (Standard or Premium Plus) comes equipped with a longer list of safety features, creature comforts, and luxury specs that subjectively make it worth the price of admission.

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Thanks, Mazda: car mods make a little more sense

Mazda3 turbo hatchback red
Joe Parker/Top Speed

2023 Mazda 3 Turbo Hatchback Front Fascia

Putting a turbocharger in your Mazda3’s 2.5 liter is like giving the whole car a triple shot of espresso. It transforms a hatchback with excellent dynamics into one that stands out for the sheer driving pleasure it brings. And I think that’s what I’ve been missing all along when it comes to tuned and modified cars — the goal of improving the car you already love.

But the Mazda3 Turbo’s hatch also shows that moderation is key to modding. The Turbo 3 is still fully configured and no snail blows his 2.5 liter out of Mazda’s long hood. It’s a serious improvement in power while doing it in a mature, grown-up way.

I once went to a car meet and struck up a conversation with the owner of what I thought was a Ford Focus ST. and it soon became clear why. No, it was all smoke and mirrors.

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The engine, suspension, seats and everything else was a run-of-the-mill focus at Bog Standard. So this guy spent thousands of dollars creating an “ST” that has neither the power nor the performance of his true ST. And for all the money he spent modifying his Focus’ appearance, he could have easily bought the real thing. Is there an opposite term for Sleeper?

Trying to squeeze 500 hp into a $500 Honda and not getting 250 hp to run properly, or trying to modify the car with anything other than the top-of-the-line parts installed by a regular mechanic, or this type of modification. cannot understand. I know somewhat about improving performance. But thanks to the hatch of the ’23 Mazda 3 Turbo, I could at least understand the underlying theme of his modified car culture.

Still, a car with “stance” or extreme camber is always stupid. And there is no car in the world that would change my mind about that.


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