2013 Mazda 3 GX ? 2.0 litre petrol from Australia and New Zealand
Good car ruined by road noise and poor sound insulation
Nothing, I only owned it for 2 hours!
This is a short review... because... I only owned the car for about an hour! I looked for a car to replace my trusty Nissan Primera 2000 GXE which I had owned for 17 years (see my review of it on this site). I headed straight for the Mazdas, and also, the same dealer where I had bought the Primera. After hearing great stories of reliability, performance, cornering etc, I took one for a test drive, kinda liked it, rather than loved it. I was not too sold on that Dolphin smiley face, but initially it seemed to drive well, was reasonably comfortable and economical, and was priced really well for a New Zealand new car with low km and a service history.
However, things took an unexpected turn when I took it on the motorway, when suddenly a load "shusshing" noise cut across the cabin. What had happened? Thinking I'd lost a tyre, I slowed down and went into the inside lane. No, I hadn't lost a tyre, it was just the road surface that had changed to a coarser surface! I've been driving over that same patch of road for many years, and never noticed it. The other thing I quickly noticed, was that I could hear the whoosh of traffic passing me, particularly trucks, and that began to give me a fright. From then on, every truck that passed me was accompanied by a loud "roar". Why had I never noticed the noise of traffic passing me before? I can only guess that not only is the sound suppression poor on the suspension, but the general sound insulation on the car in general is poor as well. Maybe they use thin glass as well? I don't know. I can only guess it's done to save money and/or keep the weight down to keep the fuel consumption down.
Anyway, I returned the test drive car to the dealer, and, thinking I could get used to the noise over time, purchased it to be delivered in a few days time.
In the intervening time before picking it up, I read owners reviews that the road noise issue is a common issue with these cars, and there's little you can do about it. Gulp. I really hope I can get used to it, I've just bought this car!!
After picking it up, I drove across some road works were they were relaying a section of road with coarse, volcanic chip, where the stones were loose and hadn't yet set into the tar. The noise was incredible, the stone chips bounced and resonated around the wheel wells. Gee, I bet there's no acoustic lining around the wheel wells either to soak up the sound of stone chips! So I did a 180 degree turn and took it back; there's no way I could live with the road noise. Full marks to the car dealers, they gave me my money back no questions asked; they didn't want me to have a car I wasn't happy with.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 13th April, 2018
15th Apr 2018, 10:20
Thanks for your review - I'm also in NZ, and I don't think people overseas will understand what it's like to drive on our coarse-chip roads. I had an otherwise reliable and young V6 Galant, which I traded in because the drone inside the car fatigued me when driving long distances outside Auckland. I'd get to my destination (friends in a farm) and have a nap immediately. Australian reviews of the Mazda3 have picked up on the road noise intrusion not rectified from the first generation Mazda3. I hope that the latest one, which appears to be well-engineered, has addressed this. Mazdas are otherwise very well-suited to NZ roads with their handling.
15th Apr 2018, 21:00
Interesting review and comments; myself I'm in the United Kingdom and we have some pretty bad roads here as well. Not so much coarse 'chipped' roads, (our motorways are fairly smooth), but country roads and city side streets are awful. To be fair it has been a bad winter and the roads are cracked and full of pot-holes more often than usual. Don't even get me started on the amount of speed-bumps we have! (or 'traffic calming methods' as they call them now). I get that it's for safety, but it is overkill here.
Had a Mazda 626 years ago, a great car but very firm ride which was almost unbearable sometimes. A bit noisy as well. Got a Volvo S60 now, a very smooth quiet car, but still can't always dampen out the roughness of our roads here. Sometimes I think a Rolls-Royce or Bentley would still not be good enough!