Is Turbo for the 2021 Mazda3 Really a Good Thing?

We’ve heard the hype and entertained the rumors. Mazda may be giving its 2021 Mazda3 and its hatchback version a turbo option. If anyone has wondered what might make the Mazda3 and Mazda3 hatchback better, there is a good chance they thought about turbo power. Turbocharged makes everything better, right?

Not always. Let’s speculate a bit on whether or not the 2021 Mazda3 benefits from a turbo option. They can be less reliable and provide lower fuel efficiency. But faster is fun and often worth the sacrifice––depending on who you ask. The new turbocharged hatchback is expected for the 2021 Mazda3 lineup.

Does the Mazda3 have turbo?

The new Mazda3 generation released as a complete redesign in 2019. And it has generated some major excitement. Not only has the 2020 Mazda3 won prestigious awards, but it earned the praise of some of the front-running publications like Car and Driver and MotorTrend.

The Mazda3 is agile and plush enough for its price to get most people excited. But many have wondered if a turbo option would hit production. Especially for the thrilling manual transmission Mazda3 hatchback. It looks like the answer to that question is yes. But is that really a good thing?

A general view of the Mazda3 is seen onstage during the L.A. Auto Show
The Mazda3 Hatchback | Victor Decolongon/Getty Images for Mazda Motor Co.

The 2021 Mazda3

According to a report from Jalopnik, the 2021 Mazda3 will actually get a turbocharged engine for the upper-level trim hatchback as well as the sedan. The dealer codes were leaked by a trusted source. Now, Jalopnik says we will see this update to the 2021 model of the Mazda3 in the coming months.

The big news is that, as seen in screenshots of Mazda’s dealer system sent to Jalopnik, it appears the 2021 Mazda3 will be offered with a turbo trim on the sedan and hatchback bodies. It will only be available with all-wheel drive.

Justin T. Westbrook
a gray Mazda3 Sedan in motion on a scenic dirt road
2020 Mazda3 | Mazda

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However, evidence shows that the Mazda3 will not get this option for the manual transmission. Only for the automatic transmission. Unfortunately, we won’t see it for the one version of the Mazda3 hatch that would arguably be the most exciting to pair with a turbo engine.

Turbo might not be better, anyway

While the thought of a turbocharged engine is fun, there are some compelling reasons some still prefer a naturally aspirated engine. The turbo lag, for one, can create a space with a waiting period without added torque during acceleration. Additionally, there are some workings of a trubo engine that result in lower efficiency as well as reduced reliability.

a gray Mazda 3 hatchback parked in an industrial area, which may be getting turbo for 2021
2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback | Mazda

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The high fuel to air mix that is used during engine operation may decrease fuel economy. Plus, because of increased pressure and other stresses, the engine cost more to build and are therefore typically an added cost to the price of buying the vehicle. Turbo engines are sometimes said to be less reliable than their naturally aspirated counterparts.

It’s all down to preference

Perhaps if the turbo option could pair with the manual hatchback it would be more of a no-brainer. But with the limitations on this release of a turbo powered Mazda3 we are thinking it may all crack up to hype. The Mazda3 as is has been lauded for its agility and ease of handling.

The turbo is undoubtedly exciting. But it may be wise to weigh in on why you really need (or want) a turbo engine before upgrading. It’s definitely not a bad thing––I mean who doesn’t love options, right? Still, turbo for the 2021 Mazda 3 may not be all it’s cracked up to be, either.