2010 Fall Car Guide
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Cheap and speedy: 5 fast cars for a song

Mazdaspeed3
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Mazdaspeed3

Starting MSRP: $23,340

Mazda's resident frugal fast car is a version of its popular Mazda3 compact. But instead of the Mazda3's standard fuel-injected, four-cylinder engine, Mazda engineers shoehorned in a bigger turbocharged and intercooled, direct-injection four-cylinder found in the automaker's CX-7 SUV.

The engine produces a rip-snorting 263 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque through your choice of a manual or automatic transmission. That power is enough to propel it to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds and up to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. To keep that power under control, the Mazdaspeed3 gets bigger disc brakes and a stiffer suspension than its Mazda3 sibling.

The result is a fast car with seating for five and the cargo flexibility of a hatchback that's fun to drive, whether you're weaving through traffic on your daily commute or blasting through a curvy country road.


 

 

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