IntroductionWhen it comes to hot hatchbacks, there’s always been an 800-pound gorilla in the room. Actually, it’s more of a 3,100-pound gorilla. We’re referring of course, to the beloved Volkswagen GTI. Since the original Rabbit GTI hit the states in 1983, it has been the benchmark hot hatch. Over the years, challengers have come and gone, but few have offered the price-performance punch of the Mazdaspeed3. When it debuted in 2006, this five-door hatch wasn’t hot; it was scalding—a 263-hp turbocharged hellion that instantly won over enthusiasts with its visceral appeal and sub-$25,000 sticker. Billed as “all new,” the 2010 Mazdaspeed3 is actually significantly refreshed. Besides its very obvious facelift (smile!), this fiery five-door is also more well-mannered. But has this maturity dulled its bratty charm?
Photos courtesy of Mazda.