Mazda3 Coilovers Upgrade Guide
Zach is a founder of 8020 Media and TuningPro. He’s been repairing, upgrading, tuning, and writing about cars & engines for over a decade. Zach has written over 400 automotive articles and continues to be a lead writer for TuningPro. His passion, experience, and deep technical knowledge make him a go-to resource for readers looking to take their car to the next level.
The Mazda3 and MazdaSpeed3 are nimble, light-weight cars that deliver great handling and fun. Some are still looking for that extra edge, though. Among the best upgrades for the Mazda3 is a set of coilovers. The options with Mazda3 coilovers are endless – lowering/stancing, street performance, or all-out track purpose. It’s truly a great upgrade that has something to offer for just about anyone. In this guide, we discuss the best Mazda3 coilovers, lowering, benefits, cost, and more.
*This guide applies to both the Mazda3 and MazdaSpeed3 for all model years. However, exact fitment does vary so always double check and confirm before purchasing any coilovers.
Mazda3 Coilovers – The Basics
It’s important to understand the basics about coilovers before jumping into the bulk of this article. What are coilovers? What is the difference between shocks, struts, and coilovers? How do springs and/or lowering springs tie into this topic? Often, suspension mods can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. There are a lot of parts and some names are thrown around interchangeably.
As such, we’ll cover some of the basic details about coilovers in the coming sections. Then, we jump into some of the more in-depth topics and what to look for in a Mazda3 coilovers kit. Hopefully this info will provide a good starting point to know what you’re looking for from a set of coilovers.
Mazda Shocks vs Struts vs Coilovers
The main topic here is shock absorbers – also known as shocks. That’s because struts and coilovers are also shock absorbers at heart. A shock is basically a hydraulic pump that relies on fluid to help dampen impacts and rebounding.
A strut is simply a shock with a coil spring collar attached. This allows you to mount the coil springs onto the shock absorber, so the spring is coiling around the shock. Some people refer to struts as coilovers, which is correct in some ways. It’s a spring coiling around the shock.
However, a true coilover design allows for height adjustability. This means you can mount the coil spring collar in different locations on the shock absorber. You can move the spring mounting location up or down to raise or lower the Mazda3. Coilovers also often have different forms of adjustability for dampening and rebounding. More in this in a few moments.
Mazda3 & MazdaSpeed3 Coil Springs
Coil springs are one of the most important topics when it comes to suspension setups. Springs are actually what hold the entire weight of the Mazda3. They’re quite possibly the single most important part of the suspension.
They play a huge role in handling in all sorts of situation. Coil springs control body roll while cornering, braking, and accelerating. They also prevent the car from bottoming out on the bump stops. There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right coil springs for a Mazda3 coilovers kit. As such, this topic shows up in greater depth a couple times in this article.
Benefits of Mazda Coilovers Upgrade
Mazda3 and MazdaSpeed3 coilovers offer a lot of versatility. You can accomplish a lot of various things with the right coilover upgrade. However, it’s important to understand your goals, budget, and needs before buying. There are plenty of benefits of coilovers, but it’s unlikely one single set will offer all potential benefits. A few of the benefits of Mazda3 coilovers may include:
- Adjustable ride height
- Adjustable shocks (rebound, dampening)
- Improved handling, braking, etc.
- Better ride quality & comfort
- Replace old, tired suspension
We’ll tackle the first couple bullets in more depth in sections of their own below. One big reason to upgrade coilovers is for better handling, braking, and cornering. If this is your ultimate goal it’s unlikely you will also get better ride quality. It’s possible with a great set of adjustable coilovers, but it isn’t the norm.
Otherwise, suspension is a wear and tear part. It might still be safe and functioning even after 8-10+ years and 100,000+ miles. However, it’s unlikely old suspension is delivering the same performance and comfort it once did. If you’re suspension is getting old it might be a good opportunity to upgrade to Mazda3 coilovers.
Mazda 3 & MazdaSpeed3 Coil Spring Rates
Again, spring rates are a very important topic when it comes to Mazda3 coilovers. You’ll typically see this stated as something like 350 lbs/in, for example. In this case, it would require 350 pounds of force to compress the spring 1 inch. A higher number indicates a stiffer, more aggressive spring. However, stiffer is NOT always better.
There isn’t a perfect answer for the best spring rates without extensive testing. As such, it’s best to leave it up to the coilover manufacturers to use the appropriate spring rates (or provide the right options for you to choose). So, when do you want stiffer or softer springs?
If you plan to lower your Mazda3 a lot then you’ll likely want stiffer springs. Going too soft may allow the car to bottom out on the bump stops, and make for an uncomfortable ride. Softer spring rates are also ideal for bumpy, less smooth surfaces. Too stiff a spring can unsettle the chassis and actually hurt grip and handling.
Stiff springs are a good option for track cars as those surfaces are often smoother. A stiff spring will help reduce body roll and weight transfer thereby improving grip. Again, that isn’t always the case on bumpier roads.
Mazda3 Ride Height Adjustments
Most MazdaSpeed3 and Mazda3 coilovers will allow for a range of about 0-2.5″ for lowering. You’ll also see some kits that allow for up to 3-4+” of lowering. These are typically intended a bit more for stance and less so for all-out handling. Some aggressive and track coilovers kits may only allow up to 1-1.5″ of lowering.
Point is – pay attention to the height adjustment ranges for different kits. If you’re looking for lowering and stance then you’ll want something with a greater range. Also consider you may need wheel spacers, rolled fenders, and other mods if you want to lower a lot. Those wanting performance setups are likely less concerned about lowering their Mazda3 drastic amounts.
Mazda3 Coilovers – Rebound/Damping Adjustments
Adjustments to rebound and compression damping are two important factors for Mazda3 coilovers. Those keen to set it and forget it probably don’t care too much for adjustment. However, it’s a great option to dial in different settings for different uses. You can change the characteristics of the shock absorbers completely.
Compression damping controls how the suspension absorbs bumps and irregular surfaces. Rebound then helps the shocks return to their normal position. The effect here is similar to spring rates. Stiff is good for smoother surfaces like race tracks. On the other hand, moderate or softer settings help with comfort and handling on less smooth surfaces.
Being able to adjust these settings allows for a lot of flexibility. Show up to the race track or go out in the canyons and you can stiffen up the shocks. Then, adjust them back to moderate levels for daily driving and street use. As such, if you want versatile Mazda3 coilovers then you’ll want an option that allows adjustments.
Best Mazda3 Coilovers Kits
Now that we’re past that info hopefully you have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a set of coilovers. In the rest of the article, we will discuss a few of the best Mazda3 coilovers for various budgets and goals. Please note – this is far from an exhaustive list. Tons of great Mazda3 coilover kits exist, and we don’t have time to cover them all.
Rather, we’re focusing on a few of our favorite options for each price point and goal. We believe these kits all offer a great balance of price, quality, and performance. That said, let’s jump right in and discuss some of the best MazdaSpeed3 and Mazda3 coilovers.
*Always verify fitment before purchasing any coilovers. Some links we provide may direct to specific pages for certain model years of the Mazda3.
1) Mazda3 Raceland Coilovers
Tier: Entry Level Street & Stance
Buy Here: Raceland Mazda3 Coilover Kit
First up is one of our personal favorite options for all sorts of different cars – not just the Mazda3. Raceland makes some quality coilovers at an unusually cheap price point. No, they’re not going to be the best coilovers for comfort or handling. However, the Raceland coilovers are do exactly what they’re meant to do.
They are quality, entry-level coilovers at a great price from a company that has great customer service and stands behind their product. You really can’t ask for anything more at this price. Unless you want aggressive street or track coilovers and jump closer to the $800+ price point it’s tough to beat Raceland.
Raceland Mazda3 coilovers are available for all years of both the Mazda3 and Speed3. For about $419 you can get the Classic coilovers which allow for lowering of 1-3″. Then for an extra $30 you can get the Ultimos for 2-4″ of lowering range. A few models receive the Primo coilovers for adjustable damping at $519.
Anyways, there isn’t much else to say about Raceland. They’re truly great Mazda3 coilovers for the price. We don’t recommend them if you’re looking for the ultimate handling package. However, if you just want a small upgrade, want to lower your car, or replace old OEM suspension then Raceland is an awesome choice.
2) Mazda 3 Rev9 Damping Adjustable Coilovers
Tier: Entry-Mid Level Street
Buy Here*: Rev9 Coilover Kit For Mazda 3
The Rev9 kit is a little bit of a wildcard on this list as we aren’t too familiar with the brand. However, at $532 it’s a good option for 32-way damping adjustment. Outside of the Raceland Primo coilovers this is about as cheap as it gets for adjustable coilovers. This kit also comes with the top hats and camber plates. Camber plates are a whole different lengthy topic, but they’re a good addition to improve handling.
For just over $500 they may be worth the shot to get the adjustability and camber plates. Still, those looking for the ultimate handling will likely find themselves spending more money on higher-end kits. That said, we’ll leave it there for Rev9 and move onto one of our favorite options for all-out street/track handling and performance.
3) MazdaSpeed3 KW Coilover Kits
Tier: Top-Tier Street & Entry Level Track
Price: $1,679 – 2,489
Buy Here: Mazda3 KW Coilover Kits
KW is a huge name in the coilovers space. They’re well known for good reason. KW coilovers offer multiple kits ranging from moderate street to all-out track setups. However, you do pay a bit of a premium to get KW coilovers for their decades of proven, high-quality kits.
There is one primary option for the Mazda3 – the KW Variant 1 (V1) coilovers. These offer height adjustability of about 1.2 to 2.2″. They don’t offer any rebouding or compression damping, though. At $1,679 it’s a lot to spend for a non-adjustable kit, but these are still the real deal. They’re pre-set after extensive testing for a great balance of sport and comfort.
MazdaSpeed3 owners will find they have another option in the KW V3 coilovers. They run for $2,489 so you’re definitely paying to play here. These KW V3 Mazda3 coilover kits add compression and rebound damping. It’s a top-tier street kit that also functions very well for track use. Ultimately, if you’re willing to pay the price, KW V1 and V3 coilovers deliver excellent performance.
Mazda 3 Coilovers Upgrade Summary
The Mazda3 is an awesome car that delivers a sporty feel and great handling. Speed3 variants are also very capable with a few simple engine bolt-on mods. However, one of the best all around mods is likely a set of Mazda3 coilovers. There’s a lot of versatility and options with coilovers.
Whether you’re looking for better handling, performance, lowering, or simply replacing old suspension a set of coilovers is a great way to go. Consider spring rates and damping as they’re important factors depending on your specific goals. Once you know what you’re looking for there are tons of great options on the market.
Among our favorites for stance or entry-level street performance are Raceland Mazda3 coilovers. It’s really hard to beat their quality and customer service at this price point. Rev9 also looks like a promising budget option that also adds in some adjustability. Otherwise, those looking for ultimate performance should consider the KW V1 and V3 coilover kits.
What’s your experience with Mazda3 coilovers? Are you considering some?
Leave a comment and let us know!