2013. That was the last time you could order a brand new Mazda3 with factory-installed boost infusing its engine. Since then, the spritely hatchback has both grown and matured to become a handsome compact in either saloon or hatchback trim, and it’s gained all-wheel-drive in the process. Sadly, the high-performance Mazdaspeed variant never returned, but it looks like a turbocharged option could be nigh for 2021.

This tantalising tidbit of information comes from Jalopnik, which cites an anonymous source as providing North American dealership-eyes-only screenshots of upcoming 2021 model codes. Among the alphanumeric soup was a mention of a Mazda3 turbo, available for both saloon and hatchback models. A further investigation suggested the boost would only be available for all-wheel-drive models, which sounds like all kinds of fun. However, the deeper dive also suggested such models would only be offered with an automatic transmission. Ouch.

Of course, this is just a rumour right now. The source is allegedly a reliable one, but Mazda is mum on the subject. We asked the automaker point-blank about a turbocharged 3, and though we didn’t get a denial, we didn’t get confirmation either. Specifically, there’s nothing to confirm or announce for the US market at this time.

There’s no denying that a Mazda3 with more power wouldn’t be a bad thing. With Ford and GM exiting the saloon and hatchback arena, there are few options left for US buyers wanting something small, practical, and fun-to-drive. The Hyundai Veloster fills the void for hot hatch lovers, not to mention the Honda Civic Type-R, though it gets rather pricey. The next-gen VW Golf GTI will be here soon, and Toyota has all but confirmed a GR Corolla. If Mazda hopes to keep a foothold with its impressive 3, now is certainly the time to give it some extra grunt.

Gallery: 2019 Mazda3 AWD first drive