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2010 Mazda 3 ATX - Power Pages

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The ’10 Mazda 3 2.0L motor wasn’t bred to produce massive amounts of power, but to get you from point A to point B with the occasional C, without having to sacrifice a full tank of gas. With an average 33 EPA mpg and factory-rated 116 hp at 113.9 lb-ft of torque to the wheels, an affordable price tag, and a loyal Mazda community, it’s hard for the average tuner to pass this car up, especially with the deals Mazda is throwing out there. The Mazda 3, one of the best-selling compact cars in the United States, makes for an excellent choice and has a high trade-in and resale value. The car itself is very agile with a very aggressively tuned stock suspension; so while the horsepower might be low, the car itself is still very fun to drive.

The base-model Mazda 3 2.0L is never going to be a sport compact car enthusiast’s first choice, but it’s often the only one they can afford. There is a steep $5K price tag difference between the 2.0 and 2.5L models based on package, but even higher is the preferred Mazdaspeed 3 hatchback, which puts it slightly out of reach of most affordable sport compacts. The Mazda community is very large and has plenty of support in aftermarket parts. However, the non-Speed3s are quite limited on the power upgrades available.

CorkSport Performance Power Series Intake

Multilayer silicone coupler, dry-flow filter, pipe, aluminum MAF housing, clamps, and instructions

Tools 8, 10, and 12mm sockets, ratchet, Allen key set, screwdrivers

Installation time
45 minutes

The CorkSport intake is well built, looks clean, very sturdy, and polished with its billet machined housing. After removing the stock intake, installation was fairly straightforward and easy. To our surprise, the intake alone added 7.5 hp and 4.6 lb-ft of torque at its peak, making it really worth its value.

This isn’t directly related to the product, but Mazda’s MAF sensors are very sensitive and even CorkSport has gone out of their way to build a system that caters to those needs with its own housing. The first installation might throw a check engine light due to the MAF sensor. To fix this problem, simply open it up, reseat the gasket, and try again.

CorkSport has recently released a cold-air box available for this product on all non-turbo Mazda 3s. The box covers the intake and shields it against hot air from the engine.

Corksport Performance Power Series Exhaust

Race Slip Fit pipe, gasket, exhaust

10, 12, 14, and 17mm sockets, open-end wrenches, ratchet, WD-40

Installation time
60 minutes

The fully polished 2.4-inch stainless steel piping not only allows the engine to breathe better but also produces good power and eliminates extra weight in comparison to the OEM exhaust system. With a low grumble at idle to a nice deep sound on acceleration, the exhaust with dual resonators won’t get overly annoying and drone at higher rpm. Combined with the intake, the exhaust produced an extra 5.7 hp and 4.5 lb-ft of torque overall.

You will need some extra help to get the stock exhaust off. It’s best if you can get access to a lift, but if not, have proper jacks and jackstands in place.

This installation was done using the race pipe provided by CorkSport. You will need to request for this item at the time of purchase if you want to run a more aggressive setup.

MSDS 4 to 1 Header with Flex Downpipe

Two-piece header

12, 14, 16, and 17mm sockets, swivel, ratchet, open-end wrenches, extensions, breaker bar, WD-40

Installation Time
120 minutes

Installation of this header made for a lot less backpressure on the system and increased horsepower and torque throughout the entire band. The header fits nice and snug in the engine bay and comes with two sets of O2 sensor bungs for easy sensor installation and fabrication if needed. Once we got a reliable run, the header came through with an extra 4.5 hp and 4.3 lb-ft of torque.

The gasket that was shipped with the system did not fit with the CorkSport exhaust, so we had to find another one to fit. Getting the stock header out is a lot of work: We found it necessary to loosen part of the front crossbeam so we had room to pull the stock piece out. Our horsepower numbers varied from each dyno run; we suspect there was a possible exhaust leak due to the gasket, but we couldn’t confirm if that was the issue.

By removing the last remaining stock resonator off the car and installing the header, the car’s exhaust tone changed dramatically and was most noticeable at higher rpm. The car will throw a check engine light based on the new readings in the sensor. We opted to use Vibrant Performance’s Anti Spark Fouler kit or contact MSDS directly for their fix.


Our final testing shows an overall gain of 17.7 hp from 116.8 to 134.5 hp and an increase of 13.4 lb-ft of torque from 113.9 to 127.3 with the largest peak power in the 6,000-rpm range. With proper ECU tuning, these basic bolt-on upgrades could produce twice as much power. Mazda has a very intelligent ECU system, which resulted in the car running leaner air/fuel ratios, so a proper tune is needed. We will have a follow-up article with a DP Tune regarding their flash of the Mazda 3 ECU in hopes of making additional horsepower.

Conclusion HP +HP TQ +TQ
Baseline 116.8 - 113.9 -
Intake 124.3 7.5 118.5 4.6
Intake + Exhaust 130.0 5.7 123.0 4.5
Intake + Exhaust + Header 134.5 4.5 127.3 4.3
Final 134.5 17.7 127.3 13.4

Corksport Performance Power Series Intake $179
Corksport Performance Power Series Exhaust $399
MSDS 4 to 1 Header With Flex Downpipe $375
Total $953

Speed Factory
2207 70th Ave W
University Place
WA  98466
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