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  • jasonericbell

Saying goodbye to the BRZ and welcoming a hidden gem: the Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback

About a month ago I did something that broke my heart: I said goodbye to a car I loved -- my Subaru BRZ.

The BRZ was my daily, and my two kids, almost six and three years old, had grown out of every last inch of the minuscule back seat. As sad as I was to see it go, my son was distraught. I have never seen him so wounded as he was watching his beloved “Blue-R-Z” drive away for the final time. As it pulled away, he dropped his umbrella (it was raining) and ran after it, barefoot, down the street and around the corner as it left my neighborhood.

Heart. Broken.

I get it! The BRZ was a special car. Not fast, but so fun to wring out and chuck around corners, and it looked cooler than its $30,000 price tag suggested.

Taking some of the sting out of the sale was the satisfaction of selling for $2,000 more than I bought it for brand new. Crazy.

I’m sure I’ll have another light sports car someday, perhaps a new GR 86 or Miata RF, but for now, I am grateful for the experiences we had in our “Blue-R-Z.”

Moving on after heartbreak

Soon after the sale was complete, I was driving past the Mazda dealership when I, out of the corner of my eye, spotted what appeared to be one of the new Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchbacks on the lot. Flipping a U-turn, I pulled in, you know, because it just might have that awesome, red leather interior -- and to my delight, it did!

Not one to waste time, I asked the owner, MJ, if I could take it out for a spin, and boy, I was immediately impressed. For $34,000 this car was everything I could want in a daily driver: stylish, well-built, safe, fun, powerful, luxurious, feature-rich, practical, and more.

I took it home for the afternoon and knew I wanted to buy it. So I did -- and even got a great deal despite unprecedented market conditions.

Living with the Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback

As an owner, what are my impressions after 2,600 miles?

Simply put: the Mazda 3 Turbo is the perfect daily driver, and everyone should have one. I can’t think of any serious flaws with the car. The seatbelt chime is annoying. The gas tank is small. I wish it had rear air vents and cooled seats. All minor annoyances. Other than these? The Mazda 3 Turbo is awesome. Mazda engineers and designers knocked it out of the park with this little hatch, and every time I get in I feel I’ve discovered one of the great hidden gems of the car market.

Since buying it I’ve seen two other Mazda 3 Turbos on the road. TWO. I’m not sure what the rest of you are driving, but I know what you should be driving: the Mazda 3 Turbo.

“But it doesn’t have a manual transmission!” whines the internet. So what? This is the first automatic I’ve purchased in eight years, and the car is so good I don’t miss the manual at all.


Everything about this car is well-executed, making for a superb driving experience around town and on the freeway commute. I can hammer the 320 lb-ft of torque, make good use of the car’s finely-tuned AWD system, average 30 mpg, and enjoy all the luxury and tech I could want for under $35k. I don’t know of any other new car that offers this cocktail of fun at this level of refinement at this price point.

The Mazda 3 Turbo punches above its weight, and If you’re not driving one yet as your daily, you should. Then there would at least be four on the road.

About the author: Having owned everything from a 1981 DeLorean to an E46 BMW M3 and a 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker, and social media manager. Contact him at for comments/questions or to say "Hi."

The views and opinions expressed here are my own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.

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