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2021 PP Turbo Polymetal Gray
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had an opportunity today to take our new Turbo CX-30 out on a somewhat twisty country road with mostly worn, noisy pavement loaded with bumps, ripples, and modest potholes -- but we did hit a smooth stretch near town that was repaved just a couple of years ago.

The general impression -- even with the poorly rated OEM Turanza EL440 tires -- was very favorable. The car was pleasantly sure-footed in the bends at speeds well above posted limits, with fairly neutral handling and more steering weight than competitors' flaccid "drive by wire" systems (but still lacking the feedback of old rack-and-pinion systems). But there was plenty of road feel through the taut but hardly punishing suspension. At reasonable speeds on public roads -- say 8/10s or less -- you probably wouldn't even notice the torsion beam rear end except over sharp pavement dips, gaps, and ridges across the whole lane.

The tires were pleasingly quiet at speeds up to 80+ mph on smooth asphalt, but rather noisy on rough, pitted surfaces even at 50 mph. Wind noise, however, was always present -- more than I expected given Mazda's boasts about noise damping. Mazda's final frontier if they want to compete with Audi and BMW, I guess, having successfully tamed cabin noise from the road and engine.

As for the turbo: it's SWEET! It's tuned for smooth, effortless, and very usable power in the midrange, strongest from about 2000 rpm to 4000. It feels more like the torque of a small-block Chevy V8 rather than the sudden gut punch of a typical turbocharged 4-banger. Well worth the extra cost, even if it means having to forgo a few overpriced lattes at the drive through coffee joint!

The engine works very well in conjunction with the programming of the 6-speed auto tranny. I was very pleasantly surprised the first time I used the paddles to downshift entering a corner in sport mode. The computer dropped me right into 3rd gear at about 3000 rpm -- exactly what I would have chosen for that turn and speed with a manual transmission.

Bottom line: This is going to be a great little car, offering 90% of the fun of our GTI together with 90% of the comfortable practicality of our Outback. Perfect for around town, for fun on winding roads, and for road trips without a lot of camping gear. If it holds up with the reliability we expect from their products, then I'd say Mazda has hit a grand slam home run with this little car!
 

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Thanks for the review. Congrats, it's the first I have seen anywhere and a pretty good one at that. Most testers of the N.A. version remark on the absence of wind noise, with a few complaints of road noise. Might there be something amiss with your particular example?
Did you try anything else before purchase?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the review. Congrats, it's the first I have seen anywhere and a pretty good one at that. Most testers of the N.A. version remark on the absence of wind noise, with a few complaints of road noise. Might there be something amiss with your particular example?
Did you try anything else before purchase?
Thanks for the kind words. I tried to be brief while covering what seems most noteworthy about the car. I failed to mention the 8 inches of ground clearance -- one of the main reasons we bought the CX30 instead of a 3 hatch -- that scarcely diminishes its fun factor on paved roads while improving its off-pavement potential significantly.

I doubt the wind noise is anything unusual for the breed. It's not objectionable but stands out only because road and engine noise are virtually non-existent, except on rough pavement where road noise with the stock tires is pretty apparent.

The only other Mazdas we tried were the CX5, the non-turbo 2.5L CX30, and the new turbo 3. We also looked at the new Crosstrek and Audi Q3. Frankly, based on what I've seen personally and via youtube reviews, nothing else ticks all our boxes as well as the Turbo CX30 -- and the fully loaded Premium Plus not only performs better and looks better both inside and out than the competition from Audi, Volvo, and BMW, but it's probably more reliable and costs at least $5000 less than comparable models.
 

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2021 CX-30 GS AWD
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Nice review. My 2021 GS AWD has noticeable wind noise from the mirrors I believe but overall noise level is low.
 

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The only other Mazdas we tried were the CX5, the non-turbo 2.5L CX30, and the new turbo 3.
I have '20 3 hatch and have been considering a Turbo upgrade. I recently tried a 3 turbo hatch and was disappointed with engine roar when accelerating. I think it would be less pleasant on a daily basis than my quieter N.A. 3. The power was nice, but with the hassle and expense of a trade, and considering my experience, I rejected the Turbo 3.
I could not tell any difference in ride quality, though I did feel a little less heft in the steering (turbo too light) though this could have just been the result of tire pressure differences.

Having driven both Turbo and N.A. CX 30, what was your impression on how they compare engine noise wise? Any dynamic differences aside the obvious one?
 

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2020 AWD Select Machine Gray Metallic Mobil 1 0w20
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Congrats. I want to drive the turbo version and turbo 3 as well. I definitely want something with more power next time around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Having driven both Turbo and N.A. CX 30, what was your impression on how they compare engine noise wise? Any dynamic differences aside the obvious one?
Engine noise was/is not objectionable to me with either car. Dynamic differences aside from the obvious slight increase in body roll due to higher CG of CX30 with commensurate slight decrease in feeling "planted" in corners ... hmmm ... perhaps the steering felt a bit quicker (but not lighter) in the CX30, but I'd have to drive them back-to-back to be sure.

Regarding the turbo, I was satisfied with the normally aspirated 2500cc engine. Quick enough for most purposes (roughly 7.5 sec 0-60, IIRC). But it's my wife's car ... and the moment she put her foot down to enter the freeway while testing the Mazda 3 turbo, she was sold on the more powerful engine.
 
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Engine noise was/is not objectionable to me with either car. Dynamic differences aside from the obvious slight increase in body roll due to higher CG of CX30 with commensurate slight decrease in feeling "planted" in corners ... hmmm ... perhaps the steering felt a bit quicker (but not lighter) in the CX30, but I'd have to drive them back-to-back to be sure.

Regarding the turbo, I was satisfied with the normally aspirated 2500cc engine. Quick enough for most purposes (roughly 7.5 sec 0-60, IIRC). But it's my wife's car ... and the moment she put her foot down to enter the freeway while testing the Mazda 3 turbo, she was sold on the more powerful engine.
Thanks. Guess I need to try one. The pp turbo 3's extended front lip would not allow it to clear my steep driveway anyway so I would have been forced to take the base 3, something of a downgrade from my Premium. At least I would not have that problem with the top line CX 30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks. Guess I need to try one. The pp turbo 3's extended front lip would not allow it to clear my steep driveway anyway so I would have been forced to take the base 3, something of a downgrade from my Premium. At least I would not have that problem with the top line CX 30.
The only ones our dealer got in were both PPs. My wife loves all the bells and whistles. I'm surprised by how much I like the 360° view camera -- though, as with most of these new "safety features," I fear getting accustomed to looking at the viewscreen instead of at the world to see where I'm going.

BTW, we've already learned that the keyless entry battery drain from a fob not confined to a Faraday box is disconcerting. Another "convenience feature" that can sometimes prove very inconvenient.
 

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2020 CX-30 GT - Skyactive G - 2.5 L AWD
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The only ones our dealer got in were both PPs. My wife loves all the bells and whistles. I'm surprised by how much I like the 360° view camera -- though, as with most of these new "safety features," I fear getting accustomed to looking at the viewscreen instead of at the world to see where I'm going.

BTW, we've already learned that the keyless entry battery drain from a fob not confined to a Faraday box is disconcerting. Another "convenience feature" that can sometimes prove very inconvenient.
Love the bells and whistles, as far as the FOB no issues here and I have done 23 000 km
 
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