Mazda made some very minute aesthetic updates to the Speed3 for 2013 -- blacked out mirror caps, wheels, and rear diffuser -- but most important is the sole interior upgrade: a new navigation system. The new head unit contains the same touchscreen-based system used in the CX-5 and the 2014 Mazda6, complete with TomTom navigation. Compared with the old, steering-wheel-controlled navigation system and its teeny-tiny screen, the new system is a welcome upgrade. However, with the addition of the new unit, there are now five different screens for the driver to pay attention to: the new infotainment one, the trip computer one, the climate display, the boost gauge, and the odometer/trip odometer. Even with the plethora of places to look for information, they’re all very well placed. The boost gauge is between the large tachometer and the speedometer, and the odometer sits below. Mounted atop the center stack, just below the windshield, are the trip computer and the climate screens; just below the upper dash vents is the new navigation unit.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor
A big thumbs-up to Mazda for all the small changes made to the 2013 Mazdaspeed 3. The contrasting black wheels and mirrors make the hatchback look sportier than ever, and the TomTom touchscreen navigation is far easier to use than the old button-based system. The rest of the car is the same 263-hp package we've known for several years, and that's a good thing. The turbocharged 2.3-liter engine is very strong and pulls steadily in every gear, forcing the small digital boost gauge up toward 15 psi. The shifter is stiffer and more numb than I like, but the burly exhaust note and firm suspension prove that the Mazdaspeed 3 is a real performance car.
The Mazdaspeed 3 does exhibit some torque steer -- when you accelerate hard, the steering wheel sometimes wrenches from side to side as the tires hunt for grip -- but it's not a big problem. You quickly learn to grip the wheel extra tightly when accelerating, and overall the Speed 3 is predictable and easy to control.
Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor