The 2021 Mazda3 Turbo is not an all-out hot hatch (nor did it ever claim to be), but as Doug DeMuro recently discovered when testing the hatchback, it is a great car.
When designing the high-performance version of the Mazda3, the automaker could have tried to make a rival to the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai i30 N, and Renault Megane R.S. Instead, it decided to go in a different direction, fitting the car with a turbo’d 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 250 hp and 320 lb-ft (433 Nm) of torque while mating it to a six-speed automatic transmission.
It would have been nice for Mazda to also offer a manual transmission but the six-speed auto seems to do the job. Unlike traditional hot hatches, the Mazda3 Turbo is all-wheel drive and this helps it off the line, hitting 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.7 seconds.
When discussing the car, DeMuro says he isn’t a fan of the overall look and shape of the Mazda3 hatchback, although we think it’s fair to say he’s in the minority. To our eyes, the Mazda3 is the best-looking hatchback on the market and by some margin.
One aspect of the car that we agree on is the cabin. As Mazda looks to establish itself as more of a luxury automaker, it has outfitted the interior of the Mazda3 Turbo with all manner of soft-touch materials to give it a really premium feel. DeMuro also comments positively on the steering and handling of the compact model.