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  • Great engine, nimble handling, great ergonomics
  • Tight second row, cabin noise

8 / 10

Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
by Nadine Armstrong

Energetic, fast and nimble the Mazda 3 MPS is satisfaction guaranteed.

Model Tested:

  • Mazda 3 MPS Luxury; 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, petrol-turbo; six-speed manual; five-door hatch – $43,290*

Nothing screams fun quite like a bonnet bulge. Driving enthusiasts take note, the Mazda3 MPS is a sure thing – smiles are guaranteed.
Since its introduction to the Australian market in July 2006, the Mazda 3 MPS has secured its position as a solid performer on the hot hatch stage. A popular choice for males in the past, the good looks, nimble handling and comfortable, high spec interior of the MPS should see it gather far broader appeal.

The 2.3-litre turbocharged engine in the MPS is an absolute winner. With just 1,470kg to shift, the MPS is energetic, fast and nimble. The Mazda3 MPS has at its disposal, 190kW at 5,500rpm and 380Nm at 3,000rpm. With a top speed of 250km/h, and a sprint from 0-100km per hour in just 6.1 seconds, the MPS boasts some exciting credentials. Add to this a very tight six-speed manual gearbox and you’re sitting pretty.

The MPS leaps to pace from stand still, sucking up every bit of power and torque at hand. Well spread gear ratios allow you to squeeze through the revs with little down time between changes. You feel a part of this car – it’s a team effort. Drive it well and you’re blessed with an exciting and fun drive. The steering is incredibly obedient, it’s a case of point and go. Nimble, sharp, preciseā€¦ those words all come to mind behind the wheel of the MPS.

Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test

Be mindful of torque steer on high speed cornering however, or you may find yourself a little out of shape. A torque-sensing limited-slip differential and new, stiffer drive shafts help in this regard, but common sense must also come into play.

While the engine of the MPS does ring through the cabin quite clearly, it would be a shame to not hear this note. Consider it a not so subtle reminder of what’s under the bonnet. There’s also a bit of road noise to be heard in the cabin.

The MPS gives the otherwise cutesy looking Mazda3 a serious edge, and dash of street cred, too. Mazda has achieved a nice sporty look without breaching the boy racer aesthetic. Side skirts, a large rear spoiler, a low slung grille, 18 inch aluminium alloy wheels and that bonnet air-intake set the scene. Those in the know quickly spy the badge and appear keen to see the MPS in the flesh.

Inside, the MPS is nicely finished. The cabin is snug and the semi-bucket sports seats hold you firm and give good support. The instrumentation and dash are uncluttered and fairly basic in their form. It’s a fairly understated dash arrangement which incorporates some nice textured plastics. The interior trim however is anything but understated. The red pattern on the door trim extends across the dash into the plastic finish, while red stitching is a nice contrast on the steering wheel, seats, door trim and armrest. Keyless entry and push-button engine start are other nice touches.

Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test

The location of the satellite navigation screen in particular is brilliant – in line with and to the left of the instrumentation – it’s very easy to watch the screen while driving. It is however a very small screen at just 4.1 inches.

Cabin ergonomics are fantastic in the MPS. The gear shift sits high and close to the driver, and slips straight into your ready hand. The eight-way electric seats with seat memory offer good adjustability and the multi-function wheel ensures everything is at your finger tips. All instrumentation and controls are clear and in perfect view and reach of the driver. The layout is ergonomically very smart and this adds to the overall comfort of the MPS.

Two second row passengers will be more than comfortable, but three passengers will be rather snug. Seats are low slung and window sills are high, giving a fairly enclosed feel to the second row. Two child seat anchor points can be found on the second row seat backs.

The cabin is rigid and suspension is very firm, bordering on harsh. This stiffness does mean however that the MPS corners near perfectly flat. Steering on demanding roads with tight corners, the MPS excelled.

The audio interface is good, with iPod, MPS and USB connectivity and the ten speaker sound system from Bose delivers brilliant sound.

Average combined fuel consumption (per ADR figures) for the Mazda3 MPS is quoted at 9.9 litres per 100km.

Stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist are standard on the MPS. Driver and passenger front, front side and front and rear curtain airbags keep all passengers well protected.

Despite its small proportions, the MPS offers some good usable space. There are a variety of storage options and cup holders in the cabin. The boot capacity of 268 litres can easily swallow a couple of suitcases or a pram, and the split fold seats up the capacity again. I love the button on the rear of the vehicle that allows you to lock the car without the key once you’ve finished loading the boot.

Priced at $43,290*, the Mazda3 MPS Luxury pulls a $3,600 premium over the standard MPS. In exchange you get auto dimming rear view mirror, bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive front lighting system and auto on/off, that premium Bose amplifier and 10 speakers with subwoofer and rain-sensing front wipers.

There is some worthy competition in the hot hatch segment. If you’re after a turbocharged hot hatch, the Ford Focus XR5 Turbo and the Volkswagen Golf GTI put forward two interesting alternatives.

While $43,290* is a significant price tag for a small car, the Mazda3 MPS is a significant car.

*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer.

Mazda 3 MPS Review & Road Test
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  • Mitch

    Do you think the 0-100 is achievable, I’ve heard you need to flat change it to get anywhere near close.

  • The Real Car Fanatic

    yes it’s achieveable, Tarmac Magazine hit 6.1 on the dot without trying, check out their current issue, you’ll see the MPS is one of the few cars they actually achieved the manufacturers claimed 0-100 time in.

  • Sean

    CarAdvice: Is the reverse camera in the right tail lamp or below the badge?

    • Carl

      What reverse camera? Nowhere does it say the car has a reverse camera. The right tail lamp has the locking button.

  • Mad Max

    If only Mazda could build these with a DSG transmission…. I would have one in a heartbeat. But sitting on the M1 every morning and evening driving a manual? No thanks! What a shame.

    • Simon

      Buy the GTI with DSG and be done with it.

    • Fenno

      …and put up with the constant DSG follies – ie jerky at low speed and as reliable as weather prediction.

      • Simon

        fenno have you ever owned a DSG car?

        • Kukuruyuk

          No he hasn’t

    • Baji

      :-) the year to wait for is 2012. I believe this is the year that the new sky engines will be released as well as the new dual clutch gearbox.

  • Baji

    Although i love caradvice, i find that the quality of the reviews somewhat lacking. This is why i still subscribe to Auto magazines like Wheels. Sadly most of the Caradvice roadtests/reviews seem more like brochures. I already know most of the specs of the cars. I want to know how the cars actually drive, how they handle. The technical side of things that you can’t get by just looking at it. A sentence or two on the actual dynamics of the car doesn’t really make a roadtest IMO.

    Anyway that was just a bit of constructive criticism, and merely my own opinion. Others might see differently.

    Keep up the work CA :-)

    • Simon

      I agree whole heartedly Bajji, that is with the exception of the “wheels” bit.
      In addition, being Car ADVICE I would expect more info about running costs and depreciation as well.
      Then the people looking for a new car would find this web site immensely valuable.

      • Joe

        Maybe when CarAdvice starts charging you 10 bucks or so each month to read the site, then you can complain about the lack of this sort of information.

        I reckon CarAdvice is damn good for a free online car magazine!!!!

        • Aleks

          Oh, how awesome would it be if caradvice could tell us the service intervals and how much each service costs, including the major service that most cars need at 60k and 100K. Even ball park figures would make a big difference. Because I know there is a lot of cars I’ve bough that I have regretted and wouldn’t have bought if I simply knew the cost of servicing.

          • Reckless1

            You’d think after the first one you’d learn, but apparently you don’t :)

  • Callous Aussie

    Mazda could teach Toyota a thing or two about how to do an interior. I’d be quite happy in that cockpit.

  • Callous Aussie

    I’d still have to go the Golf GTI for the money though.

    • Martin


    • sammo

      Golf GTi ROCKS!!!

      I would even consider the Clio or Megane Sport over the MPS – good car but not a great hot hatch.

    • Reckless1

      Th GTI is 130kg lighter, and cheaper, and legendary. This is a worthy effort, but I’m not tempted out of my MKV GTI.

      Mine has 188kw and 340NM of torque from 1700RPM – better than 380NM from 3000RPM.

  • Tim

    Bloody hell, the front is a mess of creases, waves, folidings, arrows etc. Way too complicated.

  • davie

    I dont know how this model goes but I did test drive one of the previous model 3 MPS a year ago. I understand that most of the drivetrain is the same in the new one so I would assume performance is similar

    How was the old one to drive? It was simply amazing. Acceleration can only be described as massive.

    It was extremely quick in 1st and 2nd gear (where the computer limits the amount of torque/boost) but once in 3rd gear it just exploded forward. I have never seen a speedo needle move upwards so fast.

    I homestly did not notice any torque steer, however many reviews do seem to mention that it is evident.

    In my opinion, it handled (non bumpy) corners like on rails without any real understeer or oversteer.

    it had a stupid 260km/h speedo which was very difficult to read. the 100km/h measure was only a 1/3 of the way round the dial and all the speed increments were very close together. I believe that 100km/h should always be at the top of the dial.

    I also thought the “premium” stereo wasn’t really that special.

    I dont have the money for one of these but If I did I would definatley consider the new MPS, the styling has really grown on me.

    Incientally, Ford is advertising 09 plate Focus XR5’s for 34K drive away at the moment. Thats almost 10k cheaper than the MPS…

    • Andrew M

      Maybe its just me, but I think the “premium” (Bose) stereo system does give pretty good sound. The only way increase it would be to add a woofer, but im not a doof doof person so maybe thats why I rate the current one

      • Philthy

        It has a sub in the that sits inside the spare wheel šŸ˜‰

  • http://www.topspeed.com/ Arnold Galtine

    well Mazda 3 is rated as the Fastest FF car on it’s class it even out rank the Ford Focus RS, the interiors are almost the same as the old model, but the dash and the console are different, also the older version of MPS3 is way better looking, the new one is like a face that has a big mouth…

    • Joker


      Maybe the MPS outranks the XR5 for power but not the RS.
      Chip the XR5 ($900) and you have a 200Kw 410Nm Beasty šŸ˜€
      At 34990 On the Road, another 900 bucks is still a far cry from 43K. Even with Leather (a 2k option) you’re still making a great saving…and those Recaro’s in the Focus are some of the best I’ve ever sat in.
      Styling is questionable for the Mazda 3 but I quite like the MPS in grey.

      • Shak

        he never said it outranks it for power. Just straight line speed. And also dont talk about chipping anything. Because the facotry car is what you buy. I could put any number of additions on a barina and make it better than the XR5, but if you want what the factory can offer go GTI.

        • Joker


          You would need to spend a LOT on a Barina to make it faster than an XR5.
          I am talking about just changing the Way the ECU works…that untaps a lot more power out of the engine, no other mods needed.
          You can also chip a Golf and unleash more power. The Pirelli edition apparently uses a different engine (think S3) to the Standard GTI and it’s figures when re-tuned are apparently insane.

          Back on topic though Shak, I think you’ve misunderstood my argument. One $900 modification makes it a very quick car. That’s $35,800 for a car quicker than a 42K MPS and a 42K GTI… simple BFYB calculations there :)

      • Fasthonda


        I understand what you saying.For sure a chip would easily uprate the power & torque of the XR5,however this is the same argument that GTI owners use……..A LOT ,but hardly necessary for a XR5 :)

        • Philthy

          you can chip an MPS too, then they REALLY go :)

          • Reckless1

            Yes, but the torque steer becomes deadly…….

  • Technofreak

    Having owned one of these for about 4 months now I can say this review is spot on the mark :)

    I will also agree with ‘Mad Max’ about the manual gearbox…it’s def not something that likes stop-go traffic.

    And yes the design is busy, but it does grow on you and it is refreshing compared to all the other cars out there with their Ford/Honda/Kia look-alike shapes.

  • http://caradvice.com.au V DUBBED

    Volkswagen Golf GTI for me thanks oh i already have one lol

    • Reckless1

      Me too, haha. The Mazda fanbois are all voting negative, but what do they know. They’d vote positive for a Corolla too.

      • http://caradvice.com.au V DUBBED

        They are voting negative cause they realise they spent $42.000 on mazda mps and when they got home to park the car in there drive way some random guy walked up and ask if they would like to sell it for $18.000 depreciation is a killer lol.

        • Hung Low

          At least it will still be reliable and faultless by the time it has depreciated, unlike a VW!

          • http://caradvice.com.au V DUBBED

            Hung Low take it easy mate and have a deep breath, i’m only taking about the mazda mps ok not a mazda 3 or 6 or anything else and i reckon the mazda 3 is a very good family car. As i said u drive it home and it depreciates and even if you wanted to buy it 4 or 5 years old its the same, why cause you know that some young guy has owned one and its been trashed tunned raced ect ect but a VW golf GTI’s owners are in the age from 26 years old to 55 years old and i have seen a husband and wife in there 50’s driving them . The GTI is for everyone where the mps is not ! That’s why its called the GTI CODE and everyone is trying to get the code right and they have been trying for 34 years now and i’m waiting to see who will as i’m interested to see as which manufacture will it be . And now manufactures can have a rethink till 2016 be4 the mark 7 comes out and lets see if some one can get to the number one spot.

      • veksta

        owned gti now own mps : gti great car took 80,000km of me driving it hard most of the time and motor stayed loyal through the punishment transmission far from loyal though. oh sorry my wife now owns mps (i braught it for her if she agreed to never ask to drive my ve r8 clubsport again) I think both cars are winners in there own way. mps would leave gti way behind in straight line and you can feelĀ the more exposive power in mps. it slighty lags untill 2500rpm then pulls strong to 5700 then power tapers down. mazda huge mistakeĀ in there clutch choice hereĀ i dont feel confident in driving itĀ like the gti causeĀ i thinkĀ within a few hours i would have a broom around my head from miss,s say,nĀ why is my clutch desinergrated.Ā around hilly bendind areas gti would be outĀ in front and site in no time but in saying that i would notĀ likeĀ to come up against eitherĀ gti or mps in the hillsĀ in my r8 clubsportĀ 

        • Dave

          How do illiterate people get to own MPS’s, GTI’s and Clubsports ?

          • Trav

            Driving trucks at the mines for 180k a year?

    • Ignorance is not bliss

      What Mark is it? 6 I hope.
      Compare the GTI’s fuel consumption of a corolla to this thirsty MPS.


    loved it in every way until the price bit….

  • ZoomZoom

    Best bang for buck hot hatch out there IMO =D

  • MK

    Focus XR5, $35 000. No contest.

    • Fasthonda

      I just bought a XR5 a week ago with leather and tint.One of the best,albeit very few,financial decisions I’ve made.
      Comfy,powerful,torquey,lovely gear shift(quite suprised),.I was able to get it cheaper than the $35,000(with the leather and tint),because my dad used to work for Ford and was able to get an “employee bonus”.
      The ride is very good indeed.I’m really impressed with the car!
      In my case,I would be looking at an extra $10,000 to $13,000 to buy say a WRX,Golf(GTI)or Mazda MPS.

      • Al Juraj

        It only lacked cruise control, but hopefully the new model will get it standard. The new Focus is worth waiting for.

        • Simon

          Ford need their own take on a DSG just like Mitsu did with SST Evo.

          • Hung Low

            A conventional manual is fine by me, no need for a jerky, clunky DSG! I like the KISS principle for a sporty hatch!

      • Matt

        I love the employee pricing at Ford. Through my uncle got a FG XR6T with ZF auto, premium sound, bluetooth, etc for $42700 driveaway šŸ˜€

  • sammo

    Does anybody else find steering wheels with a million different buttons slightly off-putting and distracting?? The wheel of the MPS is littered with buttons, and quite frankly I think it looks a mess, why can’t manufacturers just design a clean, minimal but sporty steering wheel that just is what it is..

    • http://www.betweentwopoints.com Andy

      That’s the first thing that went through my head when I saw the wheel. It reminded me of going to high school and dealing with a scientific calculator… all those buttons, and I’ll rarely use them…

      I can understand the reasoning behind it, but surely they can pare it back a little? Maybe phone, cruise, info and possibly volume control. Everything else I think can be done when stationary.

    • AAA

      I like :)

      But the exterior is fugly ~

  • Joker


    You would need to spend a LOT on a Barina to make it faster than an XR5 (not to mention nicer inside and out).
    I am talking about just changing the Way the ECU works…this untaps a lot more power out of the engine, no other mods needed.
    You can also chip a Golf and unleash more power. The Pirelli edition apparently uses a different engine (think S3) to the Standard GTI and it’s figures when re-tuned are apparently insane.

    Back on topic though Shak, I think you’ve misunderstood my argument. One $900 modification makes it a very quick car. That’s $35,800 for a car quicker than a 42K MPS and a 42K GTI… simple BFYB calculations there :)

  • peter

    I love the mazda gearbox and they are really well put together, but I’d go c30T5 over this. More room (though nuisance with only 2 doors), better badge, handles well, same engine as XR5, only tiny bit slower, nicer interior, nice exterior (especially in R-design package), better trim. Nothing against the Mazda, I really enjoyed having an astina in about 98/99 I think, but for similar $$, the volvo would be my pick.

    • Andrew M

      Even the 5sp Auto mazda boxes are bloody good boxes.
      They hold gears perfectly on down hill runs and uphill acceleration.
      Plenty of zap, and always in the right gear

    • VBE

      The MPS, C30T5 and XR5 are all the same car built on the same platform.
      Ford uses Volvo’s 5, but I’ve been told that the Volvo has a stronger crankshaft and other reinforcements.

      • peter

        They are built on the same platform (as is t s40T5) but they are miles different in interior space. I dont know why, but the volvo is huge against the mazda, no sure about the ford

  • Neo Utopia

    In my opinion this car is almost as good as the GTI, and thats a big complement! Better interior than the WRX, more flowing than the XR5, more dependable than the sporty Meganes, more practical than the Evo and not as bubbly as the Type R. Some nice work Mazda!

    • Callous Aussie

      I agree NEO. I only dismissed it against the Golf beause it only just falls short. I actually like the styling and if you buy a car like this you want the world to know it is a little bit special. I think this car achieves that. It’s just that the Golf is something truly special. Why settle for 9 out of 10 when you can score higher for the same money. if the Golf wasn’t in the hunt this car would be on top in this class.

      Truth be told it is perhaps more reliable than the Golf based on what I have read lately, but then maybe it’s not. The Golf just won wheels car of the year (the full range) and they summed it up nicely. A great range of cars that wins at every price point right through to the GTI. The interior of the GTI is immaculate. the styling isn’t as over the top as the Mazda but still sporty in a more classy sort of way.

      I’d be happy with either but the Golf would just get the nod.

      I have to agree on the interior .It kills the Subaru.

      • ZoomZoom

        Everyone thinks the GTI is the same price as the MPS but have you ever asked what it cost drive away. The price sky rockets and if you try to match the equipment standard on the MPS your looking at an extra $10k more than what you would pay for the MPS.

        • Simon

          True, and imagine the premium asking for the R20!

  • Nightshifter

    Can’t wait to see how the new Renault Megane 250 fair with this.

  • Sam 300TD

    XR6 Turbo for that money.

  • yawn

    I’d take the Mazda anyday thanks

  • AAA

    Can I say fugly?

    • Philthy

      You could, but then what are you comparing it to? At least its a bit more interesting to look than a GTI or an S3.

      • Simon

        Purely WRT looks:
        I think the GTI is sexy. The MPS looks fat and I don’t rate the WRX scoop except on a WRX. Still hate the Mazda grin. Glad different cars appeal to different people!

  • Ryan Bane

    Test drove the new MPS and the XR5 a couple of weeks back. Although the interior of the XR5 is like a time warp (the front seats are fantastic though), and the spec is poorly thought out (heated seats, but no cruise?), it is by far the better car to drive – better ride/steering, less torque steer. The Mazda has that one-trick pony feel, i.e. straight line mumbo. I didnt expect to like the Ford, (a big Mazda fan), but it is just so nice to drive compared to the MPS.
    In NZ both same price new, (although discounted the XR5 will be cheaper). $10k cheaper in Oz? – that’s a steal.

    • Devil’s Advocate

      You would expect a 3MPS to torque steer more than an XR5 considering how much more power/torque the MPS has! šŸ˜‰

      • Classic

        You would, but then that shows that you (along with probably every other naysayer here) haven’t driven one. Go on, I dare you (particularly you guys with the Golf GTI) go on a test drive in one of the MPS’s and you will be blown away at just how well Mazda have done with this. I know, it’s just easier for you to not believe that anything could be better than your beloved VW’s.

        • Classic

          Again, have you driven this or the previous model MPS?

        • Golfschwein

          I most certainly have not! But don’t take me seriously. I was in an impish mood and thought that one provocative statement deserves another in response.

          Obviously, the MPS and GTI sit highest in the small hatch performance tree. Either would be immensely enjoyable, but the GTI has scored highest with the motoring press so far.

        • Classic

          Finally, someone with a sense of humour on this website! Where have you been???.

        • Devil’s Advocate

          Sorry to disappoint you Classic, but I HAVE driven a 3MPS. In fact, I have covered over 27,000 faultless km in one since July 2006 and it is still parked in my garage to this day. Yes, I was one of the early adopters of the car and have loved every moment of it. If you noticed I didn’t say it did, I only said you would “expect” it to torque steer more!

          Don’t worry classic, I think a similar thing whenever I read any comment/article about the 3MPS and it’s supposed ‘horrific’ torque steer tendencies. It is either they haven’t driven one, or are not driving it properly. Yes, the car can torque steer, but mostly when the road is heavily rutted under full power or the driver is not smooth/respectful with the throttle in a corner. Note this doesn’t happen all the time. How is this ‘respect of the throttle’ any different to a high powered RWD car going through a corner? Give too much too soon in a RWD and the rear end will want to swap ends with the front. How is that less dangerous than the wheel tug you ‘may’ get by opening the throttle too early/fast. Like all cars, RWD, FWD and AWD, you need to drive to the characteristics of the vehicle. A properly driven 3MPS is insanely fast. How else could it finish 10th outright and 1st for a production car in it’s first Targa Tasmania. Not to mention setting the 5th fastest time on the WETTEST stage of the event beating many highly modified AWD cars.

          To close I will use an example of a demonstration on Top Gear when they had the Astra VXR as well as some other high power FWD cars. It shows Jeremy taking his hands off the wheel on the smooth test track under power and shows the steering wheel move violently up to a 1/4 of a turn in first and second gear. This is a good example of torque steer. Now during the driver training day that came with the car held on a race track, I tried a similar thing. The steering wheel DID NOT move. Sure, it is not perfect, but it is not as bad as many people seem to make it out to be. Considering the power and torque that fantastic MZR-DISI engine puts out, I thought the torque steer was very well controlled and no worse than something like a Corolla on a damp road. However I must say, the car does deserve a lot of respect in the wet. But what high powered FWD/RWD car doesn’t?

          • Kukuruyuk

            Why would you want to buy a car that requires the driver to compensate for flaws made by the engineers who design the car.

    • davie

      I just dont understand the interior of the XR5. It means well but just comes off looking nasty and cheap, with lashes of flat shiny stuff which somehow makes it even worse.

      As for the hard Impreza interior… to use a Gen-y statement: Fail.

      • The Other Brad

        Doesn’t look too bad with the leather option.

  • http://ozmpsclub OzMPSClub

    Well done Mazda its a great little car and I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch last year….if I didn’t love my modded Mazda 2 Genki so much I would have a MPS in a flash…and as for an auto or a nancy boy DSG……Mazda don’t….

  • Andronicus

    I just dont like that smile. Annoys the hell outta me.


    I bought one of these 3mths ago, and after 12,000km I still get a smile every time I drive it.
    Yes – there is torque steer, but you can work around it.
    Yes, the gaping smiling mouth is not pretty (choosing black subdues it a touch).
    GTi: Timing wise, I could not wait until the new GTi was released, and to get items that I had become accustomed to in my previous car (Xenon, SatNav, Elect drivers seat + memory, higher end sound system) were all expensive options in the Golf.
    XR5: didn’t even have cruise control, and was missing that extra wad of torque that adds makes the MPS fun. The interior looks very cheap.
    WRX: Coming from a Subaru (’07 Liberty 3.0R) I would have loved to have maintained AWD … but that interior, and boring exterior. (I was not going to stretch to STi … though was very tempted.)
    The MPS fitted the needs for now … I will see what gets my attention in a couple of years! Oh, and the buttons on the steering wheel, I thought it was overkill, but they fall to hand really well and don’t take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.

  • Falcodore

    Was at a VW/Mazda dealership recently and had the opportunity to check out this and the Golf GTI back to back. First sat in the MPS and it brought an instant smile to my face. The layout of the dash and the quality feel of the whole interior just made me want to push that start button and drive the wheels off it!

    I then sat in the GTI and while the interior had a quality feel to it, it was just so boring. I actually found myself yawning! They say the Golf is the slightly better all-round car but i dont think i could live with the blandness everyday.

    Was also in my mates WRX STI today. And while the car goes like stink, the dash layout was even more boring than the GTI. Also the quality of the plastics used was more befittng of something made in China.

  • The Realist

    There are many 2nd hand RWD and AWD options better than this.

    • Classic

      Let me guess, like the BMW 130????

  • Shane

    would be a fantastic car…..if the golf gti didnt exist!

    • http://caradvice.com.au V DUBBED

      Thats what mazda dreams about everyday . If only they could win a World car of the Year award or engine of the year or wheels car of the year but you only get that when your the best so i guess you will never see that from mazda. so to the mazda fan boys please go buy this car please cause i really don’t want to see on this side of the fence

      • MazMagic

        Well, I thought the Mazda2 won World Car Of The Year? Engine of the Year – RX8? Even the 2.3 in the MPS made it to the top 10!? MX-5 and RX8 WCOTY – not to mention 626 and 323!? Unless I am wrong!

        Well, the 3 MPS (and perhaps the whole 3 range) would be a fantastic car if it used a shrunk down version CD3 platform (Mazda6 platform).

        If the 6 can manage \’runner up\’ in Wheels Active Safety Award – let down by its size, image what a MPS3 on the 6 plaform could achieve. Or even better, MPS3 on the RX8 or MX5 Platform (would be RWD too).

        Would love to see the look of those \’other\’ fans!

      • Hung Low

        Did it ever occur to you that the great marketing machine and advertisement budget of VW is enough to sway a few votes and opinions their way? They obviously have you fooled enough to think that a Golf is the poor man’s S Class! Back to your rusty dak dak badge snob!

        • Shane

          Mate I have driven an MPS and own a GTI. The MPS is a one trick pony, nothing more.

  • Al

    Just traded in my Mazda 3 Maxx Sport for an MPS today. I tested the Golf GTi (great car) and the Focus (limited satisfaction but still a good car) but nothing compares to this – in this price range. If you want better then it’s off to the Mitsu EVO but is that really worth an extra $16k? Not really, even if it is 4WD. The EVO would obviously be better on snow, gravel, ice, dirt (at 100kph+) but when are you ever going to be in that position?

    BTW: I tested the MPS in the city with a couple of clear runs to let it open. 90% of the test drive was city traffic and I had absolutely no problems with it. This car has got a sensitive clutch but it can more than handle city traffic IF you know how to use the clutch properly.

    If you can’t….buy an automatic and live life wondering. Or, learn to drive a manual car properly.

  • trowta

    having driven all the cars I would have to say I was really disappointed in the Mazdas interior not even a leather option…I actually put down a deposit for this car before it arrived in Aust only to be gutted when it did….So a did heaps more research and bought a ….. GTI, DSG with 18’s..awesome.. just did a 5.9sec 0-100 time….

    • No time for retards

      A standard GTI doing 0-100 in 5.9? Must have been down the side of a mountain!

  • Lukaas

    I dont care if this car could tow a train, its very feminine looking and I love me ladies, but I like my car manly.

  • Neo Utopia

    Ah, I myself don’t at all think this car looks feminine.

    Its the small subtle details of the GTI which add to its uniqueness, like for example the red stitching on the steering wheel and nice optional black LEATHER seats. The interior is almost as thoroughly thought out as the GTI, take for example the interior door grab handles, on both cars they are angled at 45ā° for a more comfortable ergonomic close.

  • Neo Utopia

    If only the GTI did not exist, I would buy this!

  • Autoboy

    From an MPS Gen 2 owner:

    1. Yes ā€“ hard (but not impossible) to lauch cleanly and get the ponies to the tarmac from standing start. 380nm through the front hoops!
    2. Rolling acceleration very, very quick.
    3. 80-120 scary!
    4. Please Mazda do not ā€˜refineā€™ this car. Its hard,fast, audible,and that just the
    way we like it.

  • SB

    I just got a 2010 MPS Lux with 8000km on it for $33,500 driveaway. Laughing all the way off the lights! 3rd and 4th gear acceleration is just insane from 80 – [over 110…] šŸ˜‰ Test drove a GTi, Golf R and then the MPS and could not believe how much better the MPS handled. It’s raw and I love it. Dual clutch in Sydney traffic would be nice, but manual is always good anyway! I’m going to go for a drive….

  • Simon B

    I just ordered a black one, lessens the smile factor. Test driving this car was soo much fun, I can’t recall looking at any of the features whilst driving but when at lights you find yourself always checking everything in the cabin… Very enjoyable indeed.

  • you lose

    after reading most of the comments on here they are mostly rubbish, If you havn’t had a decent drive of an mps then your comments are worthless that is presuming you can actually drive a raw performance car , the GTI is nice but ppl who own them have to be checked every day to see if they still have a pulse on the other hand the mps is for the real driving enthusiast It rewards skill & commitment it will hurt you if you lack the attributes already mentioned ,for example Brendan Reeves finished 4 th outrite in a stock showroom mps ahead of all the showroom 4wd’s & all but 3 of the more expensive exotic supercars .
    I have a 2007 MPS fully modded with 300hp atw & 627 nms of torque with coil-over suspension , 8 x18 rims & dba brakes ,neova r spec tyres with to many other modds to mentionI can play with EVO’S PORSCHE GT2’S SUBI STI’S in the twisties on the straights or on the track for 60k now that is unbeatable.

  • http://caradvice Hiroshima

    I’ve owned a mark1 MPS for 2years now(and 10 other Mazdas so far) – what an underrated car! Also,I keep wondering where all the criticism comes from; surely they can’t be talking about the same car I’m driving! Torque steer? Sure it’s there alright,but you just get used to it – simple! I have a few simple mods(220Kw 480Nm) and all I have to do is respect the car. Try pushing that power through your GTi chassis(if you can get there of course without blowing up) and you will see the same flaws you critisize the MPS for revealed. It amazes me how you GTi fans are all so easily rattled…? It’s like you’re not convinced by your own product and are afraid you’ll be found out – I’m not sure and frankly I don’t care. I know what I know and I’m all the better for it. These are performance hot hatches;All I can say is not once did I ever lose to a GTi – the problem is that it isn’t even close! Please don’t ask me what my opinion is of a VW as you won’t like it-unreliable, overrated pieces of %:@,but unlike most of you I won’t bash a GTi unnecesarily as NeswflasH!…this website is about giving your opinion on the MPS, not to justify why you spent your hard earned cash on a GTi-this is not about you! In my opinion the GTi6 is the best one yet and overall a better car than the latest MPS,but the MPS is a beast,the GTi a well-groomed athlete – you choose.My white Mark 2 is on order…

  • arnold

    Zoom zoom mps sport 2007 i love the old design the best car i feel good in it. just looking forwad for the latest model. whats new upgrade are on a new one besides the entiorior gargets.

  • Drive One !

    You simply can not comment regarding FWD performance in the MPS 3 if you have not driven one.

    I had an FG XR6 Turbo. Traded it on a Mazda 3 MPS becuase the MPS was a MUCH better performance car AND it slaughtered the Falc’ for fruit, build quality, etc, etc.

  • Rossfoulkes

    I had the offer of one of these (luxuryMPS)Ā for 25k from a friend who has moved back to the UK. I took one look and decided it was not the car for me.
    I decided to take it for a spin anyway and found the following.
    Pros. Comfortable and decent handling(with one gripe listed below), 0-100kmh is very easy and 50km to 120kmh is a little too easy on suburban streets, great punchy little motor,Ā all the bells and whistles you could need and cheap if you buy a year old one.
    Cons. Ugly, unrefined interior, useless nav, heavy on petrol even when you drive it like miss daisy, did I mention ugly, over half a meter longer than it needs to be, poor delivery of power to the road and an absolue pig to throw around a corner under power, seats are budget and it could be a little quieter in the cabin (although the radio fixes that).
    Overall it’s a fun car to drive but it really misses the mark in too many of the important bits. The torque steering is unforgivable IMO and should not be this bad in a modern car.

  • Tom

    Why can’t they make the steering wheel banana shape?

Mazda 3 Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$12,320 - $14,000
Dealer Retail
$13,780 - $16,390
Dealer Trade
$9,800 - $11,200
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
360Nm @  1800rpm
Max. Power
110kW @  3500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:900  Unbrake:550
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Centre Eng Bay Scuttle
Country of Origin