Mazda CX-3 Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

Long time lurker, first time poster here. I've fallen completely and utterly in love with the Mazda CX-3. I'm counting down the days until I can purchase what is essentially my ideal car. In the meantime, I've got a question for current owners and prospective buyers alike.

I am in Australia and lucky enough to have access to all five engine and drive-train variants of the CX-3 (FWD M P, FWD A P, AWD A P, FWD A D & AWD A D). In a way this is a gift as I know a bunch of you guys in the US are holding out for a manual variant, but it's put me in quite a predicament; I don't know which to choose!

I've only ever driven a manual car and came into the market set on another manual transmission - didn't even consider cars that didn't have this option. However, after my extended research into the options, I'm now leaning towards an AWD diesel variant as I feel this might better suit my needs. I do a lot of towing for work; 150-200 kilometers every week (only light <500kgs) and consistently do lengthy road trips around the country. The car would also be used for daily commutes of about 15 minutes each way.

I've read so much on the differences in fuel efficiency, servicing costs, purchasing costs, resale value and facts and figures about the specifications of Petrol vs Diesel, and FWD vs AWD, but you know what, nobody ever talks about the driveability of the variants.

That's why I would like to ask, if price wasn't a factor and you could choose freely (or choose again); which engine and drive train variant would you choose and why? What is your variant like to drive?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
272 Posts
AWD Petro GT trim. I have been driving manuals for the last 10 years. Don't miss it one bit in this auto tranny. very responsive and comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
You have answered your own question. AWD diesel turbo automatic covers all of your needs. The torque from the petrol variant does not even compare. If you're going to tow, you will always choose AWD over FWD. There are threads about how good the AWD system works as well. The car is in no way noisier and there is no undue noise when turning corners in car parks or tight enclosures etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
893 Posts
I have the AWD with auto (no manual here in US) and given the choice I would stick with the AWD auto. There's no way I could drive/enjoy a manual in the traffic I deal with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
I have the AWD with auto (no manual here in US) and given the choice I would stick with the AWD auto. There's no way I could drive/enjoy a manual in the traffic I deal with.
Same here. Its a great combo for city commuting.

I'd just like another 30hp for more top end power. But its currently great for low rev scooting around the city.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
893 Posts
Exactly, a little extra high end torque/power for highway driving would be great. But as it is, it really zips through city traffic!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
I would recommend test driving as much as possible.

Mazda Australia is one of the only car companies left in this country that doesn't treat manual drivers like they are poor.

The car is good in auto but damn it is awesome in manual! (sorry North American guys). I've owned a BMW 1 series in manual and the driving experience is just as good. It is such a good car on a windy road. I'm honestly shocked at the handling ability of this car. It loves to be dropped back a gear and thrown into a corner.

I prefer manuals, and have bought an auto with a previous car .... trust me the decision ruins the car for you over time.

I haven't towed in the car before, so can't comment to seriously on that. But I would be leaning towards the diesel if this was a permanent part of your job. Where are your road trips too normally? Fuel type availability is also a consideration if it is to remote parts of the country like NT, WA, SA ect.

A friend just bought an Akari and the dealers where taking serious money off the drive away price. It is probably the best time to buy a car. I would be asking to take it for a serious test drive, as in for an hour or two to get a feel for the car and the different options available.

I live in Inner Sydney. I do take public transport to work but so luckily don't experience much peak hour traffic. I have been caught in traffic before though. The clutch is so light it isn't that much of a big deal to put it in neutral and sit for a few minutes.

I have a S-Touring in Manual. Would choose that option again :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,078 Posts
I originally ordered a manual but my wife wanted an auto so that meant we had to have the diesel to combine AWD - don't ask me why.

The diesel is a 1.5 Skyactive unit with Euro 6 emission standard. Like the gasoline, it is very modern and will hopefully prove durable. In order to get the emissions down, it has a very low compression ratio of 14:1 (usually they would be in the order of 20:1) and that would normally present a problem cold starting but it has special glow plugs and starts as readily as a petrol engine. It is slightly noisy when cold at idle but this soon changes as the engine gets warm. It is quiet enough when the car is in motion but there is always a "hollow" sound due to the various plastic chambers in the intake which are part of the emission system. This photo clearly shows the electronic injectors which operate at the dizzy pressure of 1800 bar (26000 psi). The turbo is situated at the back. There are two coolant tanks which can lead to the level dropping so that needs checking on a new car. That bright object on the right is the exhaust gas recirculation valve.



The engine is lively enough and will pull hard at low revs. There is little use in revving it much above 2500rpm as the torque curve flattens out unlike the petrol which needs to be revved. I describe it as lively but not fast and unlike the big torquey 2.2 in the CX-5, you have to plan overtaking with some care.

Positive points; the fuel consumption is good although not as claimed by Mazda. My AWD auto does about 42mpg (imperial gallons) on my hilly route to work and it will do well into the 50s on a trip.

Negative points; it has to regenerate the practical filter which it does by super heating the exhaust. Neat fuel is injected in the "post injection" phase not unlike an aircraft afterburner but with now power effect! During this phase, fuel consumption can drop to mid 30s and it does it for me about once a week or 250 miles. If the process is interrupted by stopping the engine, fuel can get into the oil as it trickles past the piston rings and the oil can become diluted. There is an "X" above the full mark which denotes the maximum dilution.

The gearbox in my opinion is a gem despite the faults reported by others here. It is the same box in all variants and can handle the torque from the bigger CX-5 engines. Unlike some other makes that use a CVT with stepped changes, it is a proper 6 speed auto which is delightfully smooth and will vary the change points according to how the car is being driven. At light throttle, up changes take place at the frugal 1500-2000 rpm range and only when pushed hard does it rev into the essentially useless higher range where it just makes the engine work into the flat torque area. I tend to be ready to change up with the paddles which gives an additional kick up the backside. Another nice feature of the box is the way it changes up after descending a hill. Other boxes try to change up as soon as you touch the throttle and the transition from overrun to power makes for a rough change. Mazda have programmed this box to hang on until after the power is applied and then it will change up which is much nicer. When the manual controls are used, the digital up and downshift numbers are displayed on the dash like the manual box.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Re towing. My mechanical knowledge is very basic, so somebody else jump in and correct me if there are other factors at play which would influence their choice.

But the towing capacity for the diesel is 800 kg opposed to 1200 kg for the petrol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
the towing capacity for the diesel is 800 kg opposed to 1200 kg for the petrol.
This is very true. According to Mazda: “The towing capacity for the CX-3 1.5-litre diesel is lower than the 2.0-litre petrol due to a number of reasons: a small capacity turbocharged engine under load producing too much heat, extra heat exchanger in the front of the car for the intercooler, different oiling requirements of the engine.”

I believe however as long as you stay within the weight limitations, I'm finding the general consensus is the diesel is still the better option for towing- just because the petrol can tow more, it doesn't make it necessarily better at it - particularly in terms of acceleration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Fuel type availability is also a consideration if it is to remote parts of the country like NT, WA, SA ect.
I mostly only travel up and down the east coast, (Canberra - Byron typically) and sometimes to Melbourne so I don't think this is a big issue for me. It's harder to get diesel in the areas you mention?

I would be asking to take it for a serious test drive, as in for an hour or two to get a feel for the car and the different options available.
Definitely going to do this next. Going to email my dealer and see if I can book in an extended period with each of the variants. So far I've only ever driven with them in the car, what are my chances of getting the car alone (or with a family member) do you reckon?

I have a S-Touring in Manual. Would choose that option again :)
That's the exact trim and transmission combination I was set on initially. I thought I'd converted myself to the diesel but you're bringing me back!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The gearbox in my opinion is a gem despite the faults reported by others here. It is the same box in all variants and can handle the torque from the bigger CX-5 engines. Unlike some other makes that use a CVT with stepped changes, it is a proper 6 speed auto which is delightfully smooth and will vary the change points according to how the car is being driven. At light throttle, up changes take place at the frugal 1500-2000 rpm range and only when pushed hard does it rev into the essentially useless higher range where it just makes the engine work into the flat torque area. I tend to be ready to change up with the paddles which gives an additional kick up the backside. Another nice feature of the box is the way it changes up after descending a hill. Other boxes try to change up as soon as you touch the throttle and the transition from overrun to power makes for a rough change. Mazda have programmed this box to hang on until after the power is applied and then it will change up which is much nicer. When the manual controls are used, the digital up and downshift numbers are displayed on the dash like the manual box.
This is the kind of review that made me consider the auto in the first place. I know some issues have occurred with the transmissions mechanically but I don't think I've ever heard of anyone complaining of the shift points.

Sadly no paddle shifters on any model here in Aus even at the top trim level. A complete oversight in my opinion on a car that's meant to be as fun to drive as this. Definitely looking at picking up a kit off eBay and fitting with the tutorial on this site
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
I mostly only travel up and down the east coast, (Canberra - Byron typically) and sometimes to Melbourne so I don't think this is a big issue for me. It's harder to get diesel in the areas you mention?

It can be. I lived in WA (Kimberly) and the NT 5 years ago. It is a much more popular choice of fuel there compared to the east coast. It meant it would run out quicker in remote areas, but it also meant the fuel was of better quality because the stock turned over more quickly. I doubt you would want to do something crazy like the Gibb River Road in the CX - 3, so like you said you should be ok :)


Definitely going to do this next. Going to email my dealer and see if I can book in an extended period with each of the variants. So far I've only ever driven with them in the car, what are my chances of getting the car alone (or with a family member) do you reckon?
Holden used to do this allot and Hyundai offer weekend test drives. Maybe they will ask for a $1k deposit? Would be worth it though if you have your heart set on the car and just don't know what variant is best.

Just stand your ground if you want to test drive a manual before you make a decision. They really push the hard sell on the auto as there is more supply available.


That's the exact trim and transmission combination I was set on initially. I thought I'd converted myself to the diesel but you're bringing me back!
Hahaha, TBH all the combinations on offer in Australia are great. You are going to love what ever one you chose. I like the idea of a small diesel but living in inner Sydney and not having a commute I would kill that engine pretty quick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
Re towing. My mechanical knowledge is very basic, so somebody else jump in and correct me if there are other factors at play which would influence their choice.

But the towing capacity for the diesel is 800 kg opposed to 1200 kg for the petrol.
That's another of those weird regional differences.
Here in Denmark (and I suspect rest of Europe) both the 2.0 petrol and the 1.5 diesel is allowed to tow up to 1200 kg. (with brakes).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
My Pick: AWD Auto Diesel

I finally had an opportunity to get back to a dealer today and take the different variants for a run. I wasn't able to secure a test drive on my own but in the end it didn't matter - it was an easy decision

I'd narrowed it down to two variants, the AWD Petrol and AWD Diesel. I was able to take both for a reasonable run of about 30 minutes each, and the diesel came out the clear winner.

The petrol felt too light and gutless at low revs for my liking. Chucking it in sport mode gave it some life, but still only in the upper end of the revs and after the transmission had shaken the car through endless gear changes. Also at high RPM in the low gears the slightest release in the accelerator would cause the car to engine brake quite dramatically before the transmission shifted up - I was probably a bit hard on the car with some quick take offs but I still wasn't a fan.

The diesel was great, felt really confident and a lot of grunt to get going. I know it's slower on the 0-100km/h take off but actually feels considerably quicker from a standstill. As others have mentioned, turbo lag is present, but it's minimal and having driven a diesel on and off befor,e something that's simple to learn to drive around.

I've just got to sort out my finance and I hope to be parking my AWD Diesel, Soul Red, sTouring CX-3 at home in the very near future! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
Exactly how I felt. Check the thread in my signature, I will hopefully have a good work around for the lag soon with the throttle controller.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Exactly, a little extra high end torque/power for highway driving would be great. But as it is, it really zips through city traffic!
Having read the two previous comments wishing for more HP leads me
to believe that I may have made a good choice on my 2020 CX3 Sport.
The 2020 skyactivG engine has more than enough torque at the 2500 to 3000 rpm range in my opinion.
I flip that switch and off it goes.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top