- mazda is reportedly adding a turbocharged engine option to the mazda 3 lineup for 2021.
- rather than a performance-oriented mazdaspeed hot hatch, this version will simply be a more powerful take on the 3's top trim level.
- the 3 will also add an entry-level 2.0-liter inline-four that should lower the car's base price.
mazda hinted to c/d last year that a turbocharged mazdaspeed version of the 3 hatchback was possible, but it appears that we're getting the next best thing. according to a dealer document sent to jalopnik, the 2021 mazda 3 hatchback will offer a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine—sadly only with an automatic transmission. a report from hagerty adds that this new model will be called premium plus, suggesting that it will simply be the 3's top trim level, similar to the mazda 6 and cx-5 which offer a snazzy signature trim level with the same turbo engine.
we can't really complain about a mazda 3 hatchback with 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, which is what this 2.5t engine makes in those other mazdas. but we admit to feeling a little disappointed when we heard that this new turbo 3 would be offered only with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. no more of that crazy torque steer that made mazdaspeed 3s of old so raucous and fun.
on the other end of the spectrum, the 2021 mazda 3 is also rumored to add a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four to slot in below the current base engine, a 2.5-liter four. this less powerful motor should lower the 3's base price somewhat from its current $22,445 starting point. we expect the non-turbo 2.5l hatchback's premium trim level to remain the only version that offers a six-speed manual transmission. a 100th anniversary special-edition is also slated to arrive for 2021.
we reached out to mazda to see what it had to say about these 2021 updates, and a spokesperson responded that the company "hasn't announced or confirmed any of the details speculated." we should hear more official word about the 2021 mazda 3 later this year.