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Thread: New member, currently looking at first MPS

  1. Default New member, currently looking at first MPS

    Hi Everyone,

    Just come back from working in Canada for the last 3 years and now it's time to get a car. One of my colleagues in Calgary had a Mazda Speed 3, when I first saw it I scratched my head... I had no clue that Mazda made the 3 with a turbo. After riding in it I instantly fell in love. Unfortunately due to insurance restrictions I was unable to drive it.

    Now I have returned to the home country I am in search of a new car and well thought why not, I'll get a MPS! I have searched the forums and while a lot of it has been really helpful, I am still a little overwhelmed.

    I am currently looking at a Gen 1 3 MPS from a local dealer. A few issues I have is,
    1. The car has 128,000 kms on the clock - the general vibe I get is not to touch anything over 100,000
    2. The car has MRT stickers on it, upon asking the dealer the modifications he hasn't got a clue what has been done to it. Anyway of finding out?
    3. Any major things to look at? It has a strong service history with every service performed and last service at 126,000 kms
    4. The feel of the gear box. As stated before I have never had the chance to drive one of these before, and first thing I noticed on the test drive was changing gears. Not sure how it should feel, currently driving my old 2010 KIA Rio work car which is super easy to shift so maybe I am just too used to that?

    Due to just coming back to the country a lot of money is tied up, so my budget isn't terribly huge, I've look at Gen 2's but can't really find any in the budget.

    I'm looking forward to joining the community and getting involved. More so I am looking forward to getting in my own MPS!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Down South


    Re the mods, have you looked under the bonnet? Could see if it has aftermarket intercooler, intake, maybe short shift plate. If it has mrt stickers it could be ecutek tuned but not sure how you could find that out without taking it to them.

    Good luck with the search, only other suggestion I would have is to test drive at least one more so you can compare handling, shifting etc

  3. Default

    Yeah I had a check under the bonnet, no visible signs of anything really. Dealer informed me previous owner had a BOV which they removed due to legal issues. It was a short throw between gears so maybe a shift plate has been installed.

    So a car with that many KM's, is that ok? Going off the average km's done yearly it is definitely below what it should be.

  4. #4


    I have 120k on mine and it's pretty much fine. Really depends how it was taken care of.

    Grab some pics under the bonnet maybe? Look for a downpipe too (you can get a reasonable pic from the drivers side behind the intercooler). What about the exhaust tip- does it look stock?

    It's got aftermarket wheels and looks a bit lower, so maybe grab a pic of the springs and shocks. You can also check for an upgraded sway bar between the rear wheels.

    Gearboxes on these cars are not nice and smooth (but they are very strong) so it sounds normal. You can check for a short shifter under the airbox, but that's easily removable if you don't like it, so not a deal breaker.

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  5. Default

    It is a bit lower, sitting on coil overs. It isn't stupidly low and rides pretty nice. Nicer than a stock Kia RIO haha.

    If my memory serves me right I think the tip might be slighter bigger than stock, however I can't really compare. There is a picture of the rear where you can see the exhaust. Might help? The car has a slight note to it but nothing loud.

    How many KM's can you generally expect to get out of these engines before anything major needs attention or even until failure. It's going to be my daily and plan on keeping it for 3 or 4 years (more would be better). Don't really have much knowledge with boosted cars, only thing boosted I owned are waverunners and I always sell them at the end of warranty periods.

    Appreciate the help.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013


    If the VVT hasn't been done then there's a good chance you'll have to do that at some stage. Excessive engine clatter or slack in the chain which can be felt through the oil filler with the engine cold can be a give away, but no way of really knowing unless there's some sort of documentation to say it's been done. And IMO the only true way to know the engine's condition would be with compression and leakdown tests. Also, letting it sit and idle for 10 mins with the A/C off might give away a smokey turbo. Quoting the rego or VIN to MRT might reveal what they've done to it too. You can find these engines anywhere from stuffed with less than 100k to perfectly fine with well in excess of 100k.
    Last edited by DD3; 01-03-2016 at 01:19 PM.
    - 2006 BK MPS 3 -

  7. #7


    Unless you have a good history of a modified MPS, I'd keep looking to be honest unless it's a really good price. Usually modified cars are sold with good knowledge of what has been done, or the mods are parted out and the car sold stock. This seems to have a mixture of both (uncertain mods, removed mods, existing tune??), which sounds a bit dodgy, and it obviously has been traded in for ? problems.

    Many/most Gen 1 MPS are kicking around with 150km+ and as long as the engine mounts and VVT are done prior to this, oil replaced regularly, you can expect some good years of trouble-free motoring.

  8. Default

    I will try to go in today and have a closer look. I will also contact MRT as well and see if they can help me out. Dealer is asking $14000 which I will obviously negotiate on.

    What would be the rough costs to get the VVT and engine mounts done? Anyway of checking engine mounts?

  9. #9


    From a stealership, VVT ~ $1500 and engine mounts $400 - 600 for OEM passenger side engine mount, rear mount $100 (used) to $300 (new). Check for leaks around the side and rear mounts, and chain slack on the VVT chain when the engine has warmed up (check Youtube on guides how to check for slack, wear gloves!)

    $14K is at the high end of a non-sports pack MPS. You expect a pretty pristine model for this price, and it's clearly not.

  10. Default

    Ok wow, not really what you would be wanting to pay after spending so much purchasing the car first.

    I'm surprised about the price. Looking around I've seen them go for $9500 with over 200,000km and as high as $16000 with 100,000km. So what would be a fair price to offer?

    Just the vibe I'm getting from this and I best to just steer clear of the Gen 1's and wait for a Gen 2?
    Last edited by mickey; 02-03-2016 at 01:57 PM.

  11. #11


    When I bought my Gen 1 @ 145K a three years ago (high km then, but now evening out) it definitely had a mild VVT chain noise which only became concerning recently @ 165K - in other words you don't have to replace the VVT in a mad rush. If yours has a strong service history, you might be lucky and find it has been done, but unlikely @ 128K unless it has been driven hard.

    My take on Gen 1 vs Gen 2 is it all comes down to looks, both are basically the same car with different sheet metal exteriors - only very minor differences under the hood. My MPS has been the most reliable trouble-free car I've ever owned, and will keep it for a good while because of this.


  12. Default

    Thank you for the advice and notes of things to keep my eye out for.

    I love the looks of the exterior of the Gen 2, however the interior of the Gen 1 gets me, since I will spend most of the time inside so I figured the Gen 1 would be the way. That and budget.

    The cars "seems" pretty solid, but I will definitely get my hands dirty and look through it thoroughly.

    I will keep everyone posted on the outcome.

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