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Mazda3 SP25 (2009)
The SP25 is the top of the Mazda3 food chain (until the hot MPS arrives), being dearer, bigger engined and better equipped than its Neo, Maxx and Maxx Sport siblings.
As such, it invites loftier expectations. After a week in its company, were prepared to say that, here, the SP25 delivers.
Although nearly 50 kg heavier than its well-regarded SP23 predecessor, the SP25's extra 7 kW and 22 Nm cancels out this handicap, proving responsive in all going.
In keeping with Mazdas slick shifting manual gearbox tradition, our test car swapped cogs glidingly.
With the SP25, Mazda has reached a workable compromise re driving dynamics. The handling is balanced rather than edgy; the steering well weighted; the ride firm but not uncomfortable.
These good drive vibes are not at the expense of fuel economy, either, with the SP25 returning 9.6-litres/100 km on test just 1.0 outside its ADR figure.
With reach/tilt steering, well spaced pedals and plenty of seat adjustment, the SP25 is as comfortable and accommodating to drive as it is in delivering dynamic response.
Now 90 mm longer overall, the interior is up to that of of a mid-sized hatch, while the cargo capacity is the same as before.
Irritations are few. Basically, noise intrusion, while improved, is still prevalent and a full sized spare would be nice.
Engaging drive, build quality, safety, equipment level
Space saver spare tyre, some noise intrusion
Dual-zone climate control, six-stack CD, cruise control, tilt/reach steering, fog lamps, power windows and mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports body kit
Six airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, traction control, active head restraints
||Small Under $35,000
|Price when new
||$30,690 (hatch and sedan) MLP
|Current price range
$ - $
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||2.5-litre DOHC four-cylinder
||122 kW @ 6000rpm
||227 Nm @ 4000 rpm
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.