Minggu, 07 Maret 2010

2010 Mazda Speed 3

2010 Mazda Speed 3

It's easy to dismiss Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom" tagline as insufferable marketing frippery. Unlike other automakers who relentlessly cling to past motorsport achievements or well-worn brand imagery, with Mazda, there's an overwhelming sense that its U.S. arm is made up of tried-and-true enthusiasts who put a premium on driver involvement and revel in their status as The Little Guy.

Each of Mazda's products – from the divine MX-5 to the oft-overlooked CX-7 – embodies everything we want in a vehicle, regardless of size, capacity or utility. They just deliver. Steering, handling, balance – it's all there. And like every other automaker, we know they occasionally leave something on the table, but it never comes at the expense of the car/driver connection. Here's even more evidence: the 2010 Mazdaspeed3.

When the team began development of the new Mazdaspeed3, there was talk of boosting output to over 300 horsepower and adding all-wheel drive. But as Mazda learned the hard way with the FD RX-7, going overboard with complexity and sending the price into the stratosphere takes its toll on mechanicals and consumers alike. Even so, Mazda looked above and beyond its direct competitors, benchmarking vehicles like the Mitsubishi Evolution IX for steering feel and handling prowess. As you'd expect, the result is evolutionary. But we suspect when current MS3 owners take a spin in the 2010 model, they'll be more than tempted to trade up – assuming they can get past the styling.

However, leave the track, get on your favorite macadam road and prepared to be amazed. Regardless of the DSC setting, blasting down an undulating stretch of tarmac in the Mazdaspeed3 delivers one of those rare gearhead-affirming experiences each of us craves. Linking bends over pockmarked pavement, the MS3 becomes your surefooted best friend; a trust-worthy confidante that will keep you honest and engaged. The brakes are up to the task, the LSD dolls out the grunt, and finger-tippy steering and rhythmic pedal inputs generate one of the most consistent and rewarding front-wheel driving experiences on the market.

Needless to say, we're smitten all over again. What the 2010 Mazdaspeed3 lacks in on-track exhilaration, it makes up for on the open road. And since that's where most of us spend our time, it's tuned to suit. If you're a dedicated track-addict, your circuit-ready ride awaits you on the weekends. For the days in between, the Mazdaspeed3 fends off the cravings.

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