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A Slight Change to the Suspension Makes the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback Slightly Less Fun to Drive

When it comes to hot hatches, the Mazda3 is one of the most popular and fun-to-drive options. That said, Mazda is always changing its cars, usually for the better but sometimes for the worse. Here’s a look at how a small tweak to the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback has made it less fun to drive.

The 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback at a glance

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The 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback starts at just over $32,000, MotorTrend reports. That’s a steep, roughly $12,000 premium over the standard model. However, for that amount of money, Mazda throws in a lot of good stuff, with the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four engine being the big one. This engine harnesses 227-hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, significantly more power and torque than the regular Mazda3.

MotorTrend clocked its Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatch zipping from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. That’s a great split for the segment. This car is no slouch in other areas either. It boasts an all-wheel drivetrain and a high-quality, high-tech cabin featuring a head-up display and other luxury amenities that make it worth the price.

However, Mazda changed something else. And MotorTrend isn’t enthusiastic about it. 

The Mazda3’s suspension change

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Another tweak to the 2021 Mazda3 hatch involves its suspension. The current generation, which the automaker introduced in 2019, has a rear torsion-beam suspension system. That’s different from the independent rear suspension on prior-gen Mazda3s. According to AutoGuide, Mazda made this change for several reasons, but it has hurt the car’s performance. 

A rear torsion-beam suspension is an older design. It’s also simpler than an independent rear suspension. There are two main benefits of a rear torsion-beam suspension, and they’re both practical. First, because this suspension is smaller, it gives the Mazda3 more cargo space. Second, it’s a cheaper suspension.

The main con, however, is diminished performance. Mazda readily admitted that changing the suspension system makes the Mazda3 worse on the track, AutoGuide reported. So, for all intents and purposes, that’s a step in the wrong direction for a high-performance hatchback.

This hot hatch is still great, but it could be better

Though the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback indeed has more power, it feels “unrealized” thanks to its suspension change, MotorTrend reports. MT also knocks the car for its “mushy” brake pedal and “unsettled” sensation when traveling over small bumps.

Because of those performance issues, the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback drives like a standard Mazda3 with a more powerful engine, MotorTrend reports. If power and speed are all you want in a hot hatch, this model is a great option, all things considered. But it certainly could do better. 

Regardless, MotorTrend admits the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback is actually a great car for day-to-day driving. It just isn’t as good as it could be if you took it to the track.