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Test Drove CX-30 as Possible Replacement for Audi A4

4999 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Navii
My wife and I are both now retired and thinking of replacing our very nice and dependable A4 with something a bit more economical as our retirement vehicle. We are looking for something with a bit more ride height and some utility that’s comfortable and fun to drive. It can not have a CVT!
I’ve been following this forum as well as others for M3 and CX-5 (drove both as well) so knew what to look for. The CX-30 seemed to fit so took one out for almost 3 hours.
Here are my observations:

— I had 2 big concerns going in. One was the CD and reports that it was intrusive. I found it to be completely seamless. In fact it hardly seemed to activate at all and I tried at various speeds using routes that will normally be used. According to the monitor it mostly came on when coasting and off when slowing down. I took it on the highway but didn’t use CC and the monitor showed all cylinders active the whole time. Granted it was only for a few minute. Does this seem right?
— The other big one was power and I quite liked the turbocharged CX-5 but thought the car itself was a bit bigger than we wanted. Well I found the 2.5 to be more than enough for spirited driving. Not an issue at all.
— I enjoy music and found the Bose sound to be excellent. At least equal to the B&O in the Audi and in some ways better.
— The infotainment puts the CX-5 to shame. My phone paired almost instantly and everything was fast and intuitive. I especially like that I can control it much like I’m used to. I want to avoid touch screen.
—It’s quite jittery on very uneven surfaces but very composed on most roads and takes potholes well.
— My Audi is over 6 years old but interior and exterior look like new with no noticeable paint chips And very little wear inside. While the Mazda comes closer than any other car that I’ve seen I can still notice subtle differences in quality. Of course one must keep the price point in mind and I take very good care of our vehicles.
— Heated steering wheel is great. Just wish it was all the way around. My only other wish in this car is ventilated seats. Don’t have them now but liked them in the CX-5. Can live without for sure. It would also be nice if the passenger seat at least had height adjustment.
— I prefer not to have the all the safety features but have no choice. I’m told they can be turned off and hope that’s true. Big concerns here are trust and cost of repair. It might be the one thing that gets in the way of purchase although most Japanese cars are going in this direction.
— I expect that past rusting issues are no longer a concern.
— Quattro AWD is absolutely excellent. I expect that the Mazda will be at least adequate. We get lots of snow but our area is plowed regularly and since we don’t work we can stay home.

To summarize, this car ticks nearly all the boxes and I can see myself not missing the Audi too much. We’ve been mostly VW/Audi for many years but there’s nothing yet that fits other than a Q3 which is much more than we want to spend at this stage. We did own 2 Miatas and and 2 Proteges many years ago and really liked them so there is that.

I hope this wasn’t too long but wanted to share my thoughts and hopefully get some feedback.
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The Mazda cx30 is our 4th Mazda and our 35th car o_O..we have never had the same marque of car consecutively... We have had Audi ford , vw , rover , name a few ..until 2015 we had never had a Mazda, Toyota car... Mazda have surprised us ESPECIALLY with the CX30...when you look at the spec of the cx30 compared to other marque's .. you get alot for your money....I think the customer experience of the dealership also a big part.. our family run dealership always go the extra mile with customers....I had many out of hour email chats with the owner regarding the Cx30 before it arrived.. I can't comment on engines as here in the UK we get the short straw of 122G or 180x engine.. not even the new 150G which is the 122G remapped..but for our crowed roads the cx30 performance is fine.
From my experiences I can't see you missing the Audi.
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OK, the CD activation thing is bothering me so I did some research and found that in the energy flow monitor all pistons lit means normal mode (no CD), 2 pistons means CD is on and none are lit when decelerating. I thought I'd seen that in the forums but I don't recall just 2 pistons lit up at any time, just all or none. I didn't have the monitor up all the time but made sure it was visible when driving at constant speeds. I didn't notice any vibrations while the monitor was not displayed so I guess that's good but I'm trying to understand better how this works and if it's really an issue. I may have to drive it again and focus more closely.
I've seen posts that say vibration when CD kicks in is so bad that shakes the car violently. I didn't experience anything like this in my extended test drive but I don't want to buy the car and discover it later.
Just come in from a 40 mile drive ... The cd was active throughout the journey.. never felt any vibration .. didn't notice anything other than how nice the drive was...:cool:
Crusader - this is from the owners manual (you can download a pdf copy from the Mazda Canada website to find out all the details of the vehicle)
TIP: fill out your location and drive info in Account Settings)


if you are worried about this feature you could get the GS AWD model with the Luxury Pak, which does not have the CD feature.
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Crusader, after reading your post I took my CX-30 out for a drive to monitor the cylinder activation. While driving normally the display shows 4 cylinders, when you are coasting or going down a grade with no throttle input, the display shows nothing. When cruising down the highway on a level grade, so steady throttle input, the display shows only the center two cylinders are active, if you increase your throttle input it goes back to four cylinders. The switch between 2-4 cylinders is completely butter smooth, there is no jarring or shaking, if someone has that issue I would say head back to the dealer ASAP. I also have CD on my CX-5 and it is seamless as well.
As for your other observations:-
  • The Audio system is hit and miss I find. It largely depends on the content and quality of the source. Some is remarkably good, some mediocre.
  • Turbo - none issue to me
  • Infotainment is great, a big improvement from the previous generation. It does indeed make the CX-5 system look inadequate. Fortunately I have Carplay in my CX-5 so that helps ease my disapointment when I come back to it from the CX-30.
  • I agree 100% in your assessment of the car feeling quite jittery (that would be my choice of words exactly) on rough or unpaved roads. I believe that this is due to the torsion beam rear suspension. It is one fault to this car, but I wouldn't consider it a deal breaker - at least it wasn't for me.
  • Value for the money is HUGE on this car and the interior fit and finish does rival Mercedes, Audi, BMW and others.
  • Heated steering wheel is useless for me since it is only in the middle section of the wheel and I am not a two handed driver (unless required) so my hands are not in the heated zone.
  • Ventilated seats are not an issue for me, I have had them but never used them. Perforated seats help in this regard as well.
  • I know that you can turn SOME of the safety features OFF however I think some would only reset themselves back ON when you switched off the vehicle and restarted.
  • I have had at least one Mazda since 2012 and have not had any issues with rust. This was a concern of mine when I first looked at Mazda with the release of the first gen CX-5. I decided to lease at that time so that I could see how it went and not be stuck with the vehicle if it was a lemon. It was a good car with no issues so at the end of the lease (3 years) I purchased another Mazda. I have had 4 to date, two CX-5's, one CX-3 and now the CX-30 all to this point have been reliable cars.
  • Coming from Quattro, one of the best all wheel drive systems there is, you will notice a difference with the Mazda system but I don't believe you will be disappointed. The AWD system combined with I-active and G-vectoring is quite good. It is also predictable as to how it will work so that you are never left wondering what the car is doing by limiting throttle input like some other systems.
In short, I think you will be hard pressed to find a better choice for a well rounded car in this size category with the features it provides at the price and with the style it has.
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Thanks MAZman for the detailed feedback. It helps validate my experience so far.
Yah I haven't noticed much difference with the CD.

My stock stereo (non Bose) sounds good enough too. I think this might be the only upgrade I'll make one day to the car once the audio installers get enough practice with these cars.

I found the suspension also a bit wobbly on some uneven surfaces. I haven't tired the car on a gravel road yet.

I've had emergency warnings pop up when the car thought I was about to hit something. It was never the case and I hope the car will never try to brake in these situations. I don't want to think what will happen.
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