The 2021 Mazda3 Turbo Is the ‘Hot Hatch’ for Grown-Ups

Over the past few years, Mazda has been injecting a healthy dose of luxury into its vehicles and the compact Mazda3 is no exception. Since its 2019 model year redesign, the Mazda3 provides a well-appointed interior that matches well with its sleek exterior styling, but what it made up for in looks it lacked in power, until now. Enter the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo is a stellar performer

The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo is a new trim level for the 2021 model year and while its main draw is a significant increase in horsepower and torque over its base trim powertrain, there’s more to it just larger numbers on paper. The base Mazda3 is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, but the addition of the turbocharger increases those numbers to 250 and 320, respectively (when 91 octane is used). To top things off, the new Mazda3 Turbo can be purchased with either a front- or all-wheel-drive setup but only a six-speed automatic transmission can be selected.

2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda
2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda

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Truth be told, you won’t really miss not having a manual transmission as I found that the automatic shifts quickly and smoothly and its gearing is matched well to the turbocharged engine’s powerband. Sure, you might miss the clutch and shift feeling of driving a manual, but I’m willing to bet that the automatic transmission can click off the gears faster than you can. And there are paddle shifters, too, but no one ever uses those.

In terms of performance, Motortrend was able to click off a 5.9-second 0-60 mph time in the 2021 Mazda3, which is impressive. To put it into perspective, it’s about as quick as the 2020 Honda Civic Type R we drove a few months back, although, the Mazda is far more refined in its operation and power delivery. If you want a more mature hot hatchback, then this is the one to get.

2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda
2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda

The Mazda3’s elegant interior never fails

Going back to the car’s interior, sitting inside the Mazda3 for the first time might confuse your brain a little. I say that because it’s a compact car that competes with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but it’s premium feeling seats and soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels are from a class way above.

2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda
2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda

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Sit in any new Mazda, and you’ll likely agree that they hit a massive home run with this new design language. Run your fingers over all of the surfaces around you and take in the subtly sophisticated styling and you’ll almost feel like they should be charging you more for the car. Yes, it’s that good.

And it’s quiet, too. I made sure to drive on the most uneven pavement I could find, including dirt country roads, and I felt like I was in a Toyota Avalon. Sure, there’s some jumpiness from the suspension (it’s supposed to be sporty, after all), but it was well-muted by the addition of whatever insulation Mazda installed in the car. It works surprisingly well and I wouldn’t mind taking Mazda3 Turbo on a long drive to nowhere.

2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda
2021 Mazda 3 Turbo | Mazda

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The Mazda3 should give rivals a run for their money

When comparing the Mazda3 Turbo to others in its class, I would say that it brought an AK-47 to a knife fight. Given its exterior charm, interior refinement, and potent forced-inducted engine, the Mazda3 Turbo places itself way above any of its competition. It’s no wonder it’s priced comparatively with a Civic Type R, however, the Mazda 3 Turbo is much more refined than that car.