Archive for March, 2010
So I decided to take the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 on her first road trip to really test out the claims of being surprisingly comfortable despite all the frame and suspension enhancements. I am not talking some 2 hour trip to ocean City, Maryland. I need a real road trip to break her in. Being that it is March why not go to the second largest St. Patty’s Day celebration in the country!!! So off to Savannah Georgia I go.
I use to make the trip from Maryland to Savannah and Savannah to Maryland 4 times a year when I attended college there. It use to take me 9-10 hours in a 1995 Jeep Wrangler soft-top. Now that is slow and uncomfortable. I plan my trip, get my first oil change, pack up some snacks and Redbull, pickup my friend and set off for good ol’ Savannah at 8am Friday morning with a full tank of gas.
One catch to my friend coming along was that she had to work on the way down which meant bringing along her computer. The great thing about the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is all the 12v outlets it has as well as it’s spacious interior. I purchased a power converter/extender from Radio Shack when I use to drive to Florida in my Mazdaspeed Protege. This converter has a USB charger, 2 three prong outlets and a 12v plug. My friend easily plugged up her ipod shuffle, computer and phone into this. The plug she used was the 12v located inside the center console. I was then able to use the 12v plug in the so called ashtray area, which holds my change, to keep my ipod Nano charged while it played my tunes via the AUX plug, and all while I synced my Blackberry Storm 2 to the bluetooth. We had everything we needed and more for a long electronically enhanced, safe road trip.
As we started our trip, we jump onto the highways which are no picnic if you live in the Washington DC area and know the 495 Beltway. The Mazdaspeed 3 has all the power, handling and braking capabilities anyone could need in order to navigate the Beltway unscathed. Dodging and weaving sleepy and obliviously distracted drivers and massive potholes the car handled like a dream. We make it to 95 south in record time!
After 3 hours of driving we pass Richmond and I start looking for a gas station. Then I realize, as I look down, I have barely used a half tank of gas! To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised. This car was getting great gas mileage even with doing extended periods of high speeds and stop and gos on 495 and 95 (the speed limit is 65mph through Virginia). So with this we continue straight through Virginia and head for cheaper gas prices in North Carolina.
By the time we need gas we are long over due for a food and restroom break. While we break I recalculate my gas (no pun intended) budget for the trip and move that money over to the beer column! So far we have been driving about 4 hours and my back, knees and butt are doing great. The seats offer great support and absorb the road vibrations better than I expected. However, Depending on the road conditions and whether it is concrete or asphalt the ride can get quite rough and load at times. The plus and minus to this fine automobile is it’s sensitivity to the road conditions. You feel every bump, grove, angle and turn and I personally love it. I feel like I am driving a car. Even though you feel everything in the suspension and steering, the Mazdaspeed 3 does a great job transfers all of it to you smoothly and with ease. You feel it but you don’t “feel” it.
Eight and a half hours later we arrive in Savannah, yes, I said eight and a half. Due to fewer stops and lots of power, I made it to Savannah in record time! As we peeled ourselves from the seats I saw that I still had a quarter tank of gas left on my second tank. That is just enough gas to tool around Savannah for the weekend and be ready to fill up for the journey home.
When all is said and done, I have to say the trip was much more enjoyable than I expected. 10 times more comfortable and quiet than the Mazdaspeed Protege and Jeep Wrangler. It drove better and got much better gas mileage and had all the amenities I needed for the trip. The trip back home went just as good and I eagerly await my next road trip in my 2010 Mazdaspeed 3!
I purchased my 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 from Fitzgerald Auto Malls in Annapolis, Maryland on October 13th, 2010. I drove up in my 2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege in all it’s modified glory. It was barely running due to the port and polished intake manifold and lack of tuning since the engine rebuild. I was originally planing on going to a Mazda dealer because of the assumption that they may give me a better trade in on it for a new car. I originally went to Carmax and received a quote for better bartering abilities.
I walked in to the showroom and saw an amazing RX-8 fully loaded and decked out with all the bells and whistles. It was a thing of beauty but it was about $32,000. I was looking for something a little more practical and less expensive. For a brief, and I mean brief moment, I thought of buying a regular Mazda 3. I mean why not? cheaper gas, better gas mileage, looks the same… Slooooooooow. But I digress.
I was greeted by a salesman about my age, 25-35 and explained my dilemma. I needed a new car and I needed the best trade-in possible. They took one look at my car and said no problem. Really? you ask. Yes, little did they know all modifications were only done to the engine and the exterior looked stock!
So we get to talking about the various packages for the Mazdaspeed 3 and I decide on the one without the Bose® system. Then they ask for the keys to the Mazdaspeed Protege to run it while we go for a test drive. I cringed but handed over the keys. The only Black Mazdaspeed 3 they had on the lot was a fully loaded version so I took it for a test drive. It was amazing as you will read throughout this blog. I was immediately sold, depending on the trade-in and financing of course.
To make a long story short, after a few rounds of bickering about the trade-in and how they came in 500 less than Carmax because of how highly modified the engine was, we finally made a deal. It wasn’t that bad of a process in comparisons to others I have been through in the past. The one catch was they didn’t have the model in the color I wanted. So after comparing the price and what you get for that price I decided to purchase the car I test drove. Hell, less than $4000 more for the fully loaded one… It’s a no-brainer!
I then met with the finance department and began that process which actually went very quickly to my surprise. The representative was highly informative and they even went the extra mile for me in the end. As I sign my soul away, the representative tells me he will be sure to call me if anything better comes in and they will just have me resign the loan. So I sign the current papers at 11% because of the $5,000 in negative equity which caused me to be a high risk loan and grab the keys (remote) and head home in my brand new 2010 fully loaded mazdaspeed 3 with only 44 miles on it.
Happy as a 16 year old getting their first car and pleased with my experience at Fitzgerald Auto Malls, I get a call from them. It is the finance department calling to tell me they had a loan approval come in at a much lower rate. So without hesitation I jump into my new Maszdaspeed 3 and “speed” off to resign.
The staff at Fitzgerald Auto Malls in Annapolis Maryland and the continued efforts of their staff to make me happier and even more happy will keep me as a Mazda owner for many years to come.
I purchased my 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 on October 13th 2009. It was a replacement, or as I like to say, an upgrade from my 2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege (MSP). The Mazdaspeed 3 was definitely an upgrade to say the least. My MSP was nothing more than a protege with a turbo slapped on it, some decent rims, a nice Tokico suspension and a lip kit with a more subtle EVO spoiler. Even with the turbo it was still only rated at 180whp. Other than the handling, the MSP was a disappointment to say the least.
It didn’t take much to blow the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine on the MSP. A few bolt-ons, Unichip piggyback and a leaky waste gate on the stock turbo that didn’t allow for it to sustain more than 16psi and…. BOOM, there went a piston bearing! It was an expensive lesson to learn.
The new 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is a far cry from the MSP. It is the third generation of the Mazdaspeed 3, 4th if you include the original Protege, and it is currently the pinnacle of Mazdaspeed at unbelievable affordability. Boasting 265whp and 15psi 2.5L DOHC DISI Turbo 4-cylinder with VVT and 280lbs of torque right from the factory, this fine machine is everything you need for less than $25,000 fully loaded. I purchased the top-of-the-line model which included:
- Bose® Centerpoint® Surround sound AudioPilot with 10 speakers
- indash 6-Disc CD changer with an AUX pluging for MP3
- Compact Navigation system,
- Keyless entry and push button start system with alarm
- 18″ silver alloy rims,
- Turbo’d and top-mounted inter cooler, with a subtle hood scoop
- and a suspension to die for!
All-in-all for under $25,000 you couldn’t ask for a better or more fun automobile.