2007 Mazdaspeed3
2007 Mazdaspeed3; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase

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2007 Mazdaspeed3

While the Mazda3 was an instant hit with compact car buyers when it debuted in 2004, it wasn’t until 2006 that Mazda gave it the go-fast treatment, by creating the MazdaSpeed3 for the 2007 model year.

Based on the Mazda3 Sport hatchback, the MazdaSpeed3 used the same 2.3-litre, direct-injected-and-turbocharged four-cylinder engine that the Mazdaspeed6 (introduced in 2006 and discontinued after 2007) used. In the smaller Speed3, the engine generated 263 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, and was mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission.

The main thing missing from the Mazdaspeed3 was the Speed6’s all-wheel drive system, but the Speed3 uses an electronic torque management system that reduced power in the first two gears; this and a limited-slip differential are there to help get the engine’s big power to the ground.

2007 Mazdaspeed3
2007 Mazdaspeed3; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption ratings for the Mazdaspeed3 were 11.8/7.6 L/100 km (city/highway) in 2007, and these figures remained the same through 2009.

While the Mazda3 lineup has proven fairly reliable, the Mazdaspeed model’s brawny drivetrain makes it a much different car, both in performance and durability.

The left-side motor/transmission mount is prone to breaking, and the unfortunate result is an engine/tranny that drops several inches and can take the driver’s side axle shaft with it. This thread at Mazda3Forums.com is an anecdotal list of many of the known failures of this part that have been documented on Mazda forums around the web. This thread offers some more details on some of the cars that have experienced mount failures.

This sounds similar, but not identical, to a problem suffered by MazdaSpeed6s, where rear differential mounting brackets and rear-wheel drive axles are a common trouble spot. In the case of the Mazdaspeed3’s motor mount problem, though, a Transport Canada recall should ensure that most, if not all, used versions have had an upgraded driver’s side mount installed.

This thread at Mazda3Forums.com talks of a noise that might be linked to a bad serpentine belt tensioner.

2007 Mazdaspeed3
2007 Mazdaspeed3; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

Read here for a possible solution to an annoying rattle from the base of the windshield. This thread details a potential solution to the noise.

Blown engines appear to be an issue too, if this thread at MazdaSpeedForums.com, and this one at Mazdas247.com are any indication. Note, though, that several of the cars in question were heavily modified, and many fitted with aftermarket turbo and engine control systems designed to increase turbo boost. This is the perfect example of why used cars that have been modified are best avoided.

Consumer Reports gives the Mazdaspeed3 an average used vehicle rating. They note interior squeaks and rattles as a common problem, and some minor transmission and engine issues, but nothing to suggest that the blown engine issue is a problem outside of cars driven by the tuner crowd.

This thread at Mazda3Forums.com is a good go-to resource for common trouble spots with these cars.

2007 Mazdaspeed3
2007 Mazdaspeed3; photo by Justin Pritchard. Click image to enlarge

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have specifically tested the Mazdaspeed3 for crash safety. However, their tests of standard Mazda3 models should apply. That means decent, though not class-leading, crashworthiness.

According to Canadian Black Book, used values range from $22,000 for a 2007 model, to $25,225 for a 2008 (2009 values were unavailable at the time of this writing). That makes a Mazdaspeed3 at least $4,000 pricier than the next-down-the-ladder Sport GT model, but still a good deal considering the performance the Mazdaspeed version offers.

Like the Mazdaspeed6 that preceded it, the Mazdaspeed3 is a great performer and decent value, but comes with its share of reliability issues. This is a car that I desperately want to recommend, and while I wouldn’t write it off completely as a used car choice, I would suggest shopping very carefully for yours. Look for one that hasn’t been modified (these are the cars most likely to have been driven very hard) and comes with maintenance records. Also, avoid cars without any factory warranty left, and have prospective purchases checked over by a trusted and competent mechanic.


Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) August 2009:

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Online resources
  • The Mazdaspeed3 forums at Mazda3Forums.com and the Mazdaspeed3/6 section at MazdaSpeedForums.org are terrific sources of information on these cars. Other places to look include MSProtege.com, Mazdas247.com, MazdaWorld.org and Mazda3Club.com


    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007235; Units affected: 870

    2007: On certain vehicles, the No. 4 engine mount (left side) bolt may loosen as a result of repeated sudden/rapid acceleration. The engine mount bolt may pull out or break, allowing the transmission to be out of position. In extreme cases, the driveshaft may become detached, causing the vehicle to lose propulsion and therefore increasing the risk of a crash. Correction: Dealers will replace the No. 4 engine mount bolt. In addition, the No. 4 engine mount rubber and bracket will be inspected and replaced, if necessary.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007048; Units affected: 63

    2007: On certain vehicles, the Mazda all-weather floor mats, sold as over-the-counter accessories, could interfere with the accelerator pedal. The pedal may get stuck behind the floor mat, which would prevent the vehicle from properly decelerating when the accelerator is released, leading to increased stopping distance. Correction: Owners will be notified of the defect and instructed to return the floor mats to their dealer. When modified all-weather floor mats are available, they will be shipped directly to vehicle owners.

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

    Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

    For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

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