It is certainly no secret that the Mazda3 can be built into an impressive little sports car that can absolutely scream down the straightaways and hug those hairpin turns. In fact, it meets all the right criteria for building a lightweight racer…but what about drifting?
As you’ve probably heard dozens of times already, front-wheel-drive sports cars simply cannot drift in the most technical sense. Suggesting any difference will often get a good laugh from a serious drifter that’s spent a small fortune on the proper setup because rear-wheel control is essential to the game. They will claim that even when drift-like movements are accomplished in a vehicle like theMazda3, it is nothing more than a power slide from locking up the rear wheels and over-steering into a tight turn.
But the question at hand is not really about hardcore drifters, nor is it about technicalities. All we really wanted to know is, can a Mazda3 successfully drift or not?
And let’s tackle those “expert philosophies” first- drifting is purely about getting your vehicle sideways and hanging on for dear life as you accelerate and steer through a turn. With the right road conditions, that can be achieved in a Mitsubishi Eclipse, a Cadillac Escalade, or even a bright yellow school bus. So let’s not buy into the hype just yet that only certain vehicles can properly drift; anyone who has driven on an icy road knows differently.
Instead, let’s turn our attention specifically to the Mazda3.
As you can see in the above video, that’s a Mazda3 sort of drifting through a tight turn, and the driver accomplished it with a good bit of oversteer, jerking the parking brake and giving it just enough gas to remain in forward motion. Since the driver’s speed was completely lost in the process, however, then it is not difficult at all to say that we didn’t witness true drifting.
The problem is not necessarily the driver in that video either, because he is asking his vehicle to do something that it was designed to avoid at all costs. That’s like expecting a cat to jump out of a tree and land on its head. While it’s not impossible, it very rarely happens due to the physics at play. So without inclement weather conditions, the best you could probably hope for in a Mazda3 is some serious sliding.
Then again, there are some low-technology ways to make a Mazda3 drift under normal road conditions, although we certainly would not recommend for you to try it at home. Take a look at Canadian Snowboarder Sebastien Toutant in a promotional video he made with his sponsor Mazda.
With the emergency brake engaged and the wheels comfortably resting on snowboards, there is little doubt that Sebastien is drifting a new 2015 Mazda3 with ease. Take note, however, that he begins with over a dozen custom snowboards in the back of his car and quickly wears through them, so this would likely turn into a pretty expensive venture for just a couple of minutes of enjoyment. Others have replicated this process by using those plastic serving trays that you see in buffet restaurants or similar objects to brace under the rear wheels, and those Mazda3’s seemed to drift just fine as well (for a minute or two, anyway).
So back to the original question. Can you drift in a Mazda3? Absolutely! Not easily but definitely possible.