Sometimes you need stability in life over fun and enjoyment - Mazda

The performance hatch segment is one of the hottest markets right now. There are a plethora of options to choose from, for instance, Honda Civic Type-R, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS, and so on. However, this one particular automaker from Japan is adamant on not launching a performance version of its hatch for some reason. The Mazda 3 is a perfect hatch that could be launched with a supplement of steroids. But the automaker is steering clear from this fat-profit segment. This is pretty sad considering that Mazda has the means and the tools to launch a pocket-rocket that can give stiff competition to the existing players.

Mazda Is Still Finding Its Feet

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen
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Mazda has the stuff needed to make this a proper hot hatch, but has no intentions of doing so. Mazda’s Global Development and Product Planning chief, Hiroyuki Matsumoto, said that “We [Mazda] are capable of creating an engine to answer such demands for more power, but at the moment we have no plan to do it.” Why not? Seriously, why won’t you just go ahead and do it?

When the latest-gen Mazda 3 was about to be launched, media had asked the Mazda boss, Akira Marumoto, whether there will be a Mazdaspeed 3 or not.

Remember, the first two iterations of the Mazda 3 had it. But Marumoto replied in negative as the company is planning to make the Mazda 3 look like a premium product for now, and making a performance-oriented version will dilute that. He said, "Mazda is a small player, and if [you are asking whether] that segment has a high particular priority for Mazda, my answer would be no. Therefore we are not planning for MPS in the future".

The Mazda 3 Is An Adorable Hatch That Has No Haters

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen Exterior
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Firstly, the Mazda 3 is one of the best looking hatches available today. The clean, understated looks without lots of cuts and creases will make sure this car ages gracefully. In terms of features, Mazda offers the hatch with a seven-inch touchscreen system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rearview camera, and keyless ignition.

Space is not exactly an issue, but you don't have plenty of it to fit five people comfortably.

The rear legroom is on the shorter side, and even the cabin quality screams ’budget’ all around. But if you are an enthusiast and are looking for something that can be ripped around in city limits, the Mazda 3 is the best car for you.

There’s Always A Silver Lining

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen Exterior
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Mazda’s stance to establish itself as a genuine premium carmaker comparable to its European rivals rather than expanding is based on its standing now. Despite having some adored models and a rich heritage, Mazda has not really tasted the success that other mainstream automakers have, such as Honda and Chevy. Going against the tide, Mazda also declared that it is not working on fully autonomous technology, or an electric sports car.

This is quite surprising, given that these two things will become a necessity moving forward.

The chief views autonomous technology differently. He said that adding autonomous capabilities would serve to bring the car to a safe halt in the case of an incapacitated driver, instead of doing the driving.

“I don’t want to make such a car, I prefer the smell of gasoline,” Marumoto said. It seems baffling, but in the hindsight, Mazda is catering to the purists by offering combustion engined cars on which they’ll have complete control.

You’ll Never Get Fully Autonomous Cars From Mazda

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen Exterior
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Mazda is planning a demonstration of its autonomous technology in 2020, ahead of a full-scale roll-out by 2025. However, instead of offering a complete driverless technology, the Japanese brand is instead focusing on an assisted technology. The company chief said "We’d like to do a demonstration program in 2020, and we’d like to introduce that technology to market in 2025. But Mazda is a company that delivers driving pleasure, so we’d never build a car without a steering wheel,". "However, in the instance where a driver feels sick and can’t continue the driving, the autonomous technology will override and take over the controls and pull the car over in a safe place. We call it Mazda Co-Pilot Concept".

We Miss The Mazdaspeed 3

2010 Mazdaspeed3 High Resolution Exterior
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Speaking of the Mazdaspeed 3, the automaker introduced it in 2007.

The second-generation model came out in 2010 and lasted for three years before being banished.

The Mazdaspeed 3 was a fun hatch that could be thrown around easily, thanks to its sweet handling and abuse-friendly nature. It came packed with a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that churned 263 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque. The engine was so ridiculous that it was listed in Ward’s 10 best engines for three years straight. That is why Mazda decided to retain it for the second-gen as well. Power was sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual. Yes, a manual! Sounds like a luxury item these days, right? The first-gen zoomed to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.4 seconds, while the second-gen save 0.1 seconds to do the same. It is a pity that Mazda has no plans to revive it.

We Hope The Powerful Mill Comes Soon

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen Drivetrain
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Although the Mazdaspeed version of the hatch may not be happening, the Japanese automaker has not ruled out the possibility of a bigger engine. Mazda informed that the 2.5-liter, turbocharged SkyActive-G engine fits into the new Mazda 3’s header.

The automaker will monitor the demand and then take a call if it wants to plonk this engine or not.

It churns out 250 ponies and 310 pound-feet of torque. We believe this engine will make its way into the Mazda 3 because it justifies the introduction of an all-wheel-drive system. Not to mention, this ‘monitoring’ is what led to Mazda introducing a turbo engine on the Mazda 6, the CX-5, and the CX-9.

Mazda 3 specifications
Engine 2.5-liter, SkyActiv-G four-cylinder mill
Power 186 horses
Torque 186 pound-feet
Drive Front-wheel-drive setup
0 - 60 mph 7.8 seconds
Top Speed 132 miles per hour

Final Thoughts

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen Exterior
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The Mazda 3 is an elegant, sophisticated car that drives well, but leaves a lot to desire. The hatch has the potential and the company has the technical know-how to get it done, but it doesn’t see it as a financially viable option and wants to strengthen its base first before focusing on serving the enthusiasts. Currently, the Mazda 3 is offered with a starting sticker price of $23,600. Hypothetically speaking, if Mazda had a hot hatch version, would you choose it over the Civic Type-R, Golf GTI, and the Focus RS? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Further Reading

2019 Mazda 3
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Read up on our full review of the 2019 Mazda 3 Hatchback

The 2019 Mazda 3 Finally Hits the Mark with Spark Controlled Compression Ignition Exterior
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Check out our full review of the 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan!

2012 Mazda3 MPS Tamura and Venture Editions High Resolution Exterior
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Read up on the 2016 Mazda 3 MPS

2019 Mazda3 Skyactiv-D hatchback - Driven
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Read our full review driven review of the 2019 Mazda 3 Skyactiv d

Source: Cars Guide

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