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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have just had my new 3 hatch a couple of days and after getting it to it's new home in the countryside, It's ride is harsher than expected. Unacceptably so. As an interim crutch, I have reduced the tire pressure from the recommended 36 36 to 34 30. This has helped noticeably and now it rides almost as good as my 17 cx5, but that is hardly a worthy bench mark. My '14 3 rides better than either on it's 225/50 17s. The old 3 will be placed for sale soon. I am thinking of swapping 18s on the new for the 17s on the old before selling it on. How much of the old 3's ride superiority is due to the tires and how much is due to it's more sophisticated rear suspension? I plan to do the swap tomorrow. I'll let you know.

Just for fun, I invite speculation, wild or educated guesses on the out come that will be determined thru the filter of my finely calibrated ass.
There will not be a prize.
 

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My snow tires are on 17s and they are smoother than stock 18s. The 18s look better to me but I wanted a little more sidewall protection during Winter but hated the look of 16s.
 

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change the tires on the new 3 and sell off the old ones which you should be able to get 300-400 for easy. get 225/45/18 in a grand touring tire like goodyear assurance weatherready michelin crossclimate plus You'll lose a tiny bit of traction capability in the corners. But you'll make it up on ride and capability Expect to spend 800-1000 on new tires though. If you go off brand a bit like the general altimax or yokohama avid ascend you'll save 200 bucks, but don't expect best in class.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have put this project on hold. Luckily there has been little interest anyway. I have noticed some windshield distortion directly in the line of sight of driver and passenger, and a considerable amount when looking slightly down at the road. There is little chance the dealer will take the car back, but I do not want to preclude the possibility. I thought I might live with it at first, as the thought of them ripping it out and gluing in another does not appeal. But as time goes on I find it ever more distracting. I will contact the dealer on Monday.
 

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This worries me, as I have about 9 months left on the lease of my 2017 Mazda3 GT (on 18's), and one of the things I was looking for in the new model was a smoother ride. I live in NYC and the roads are terrible, so I was hoping the new generation would ride more smoothly. I know I should bite the bullet and go for a test drive, but I just can't deal with the salespeople.

I'm leaning a bit towards the CX-30 for the extra tire sidewall, better visibility, and slightly roomier rear seat and hatch than the new 3 hatchback, which for some reason feels more cramped in the back seat that the prior generation did. The seating position is also nice at a few inches higher, but I'm sure the handling will not be the same as the 3.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I looked at the 30 and was really torn. I tested them on smooth roads and did not discern any diff in ride. Wish I had taken them both over some pot holes.

The 30 is just as fun to drive and a bit brighter inside, with a bigger hatch , bigger rear window and better, but still not great rear 3/4 vision. It has a deeper cargo hold. May not be quite as fast or corner quite as hard as the 3 but I doubt most people will notice. However, n my opinion the three is more attractive inside and especially out. I already have a cx 5 and that was what ultimately decided it for me.
If you are looking for a smoother ride than your old 3 forget the new one.
I have a 2014 3 and a 2020 3 The old one rides better.
Check out the CX-30, It might be better riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So I went ahead with the experiment. Results were not expected. The seventeens on the new car were noisier than the Standard 18s. The 18s on the old car were quieter than the 17s. Negligible difference in impact harshness. Reducing the 18s pressure form 36/36 to 34/30 made a more useful difference.
With either tires, the old car rode a bit smoother and was much noisier.
This was hardly scientific with no controls on the variables. The seventeens were a different brand ( Sumitomo) and have only 60 percent tread.
Anyway I saw enough. I will stick with stock 18s and sell the 17s with the old car.
FYI the 17 wheel tire combo is 5 lbs lighter than the 18 wheel tire combo. Claimed difference in weight between the wheels alone was supposed to be 7.7 lbs.
Makes sense that the 17" tires are heavier. More rubber there in both sidewall and girth.
 

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Imo, firstly, this car isn't big enough to provide a really comfortable ride like a bigger car. Secondly, good coilovers are gonna give you a better ride and more control.
 

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Imo, firstly, this car isn't big enough to provide a really comfortable ride like a bigger car. Secondly, good coilovers are gonna give you a better ride and more control.
Why? if the springs and dampers are right for the weight of the car and the dampers match the spring rates, it should not be a problem getting a decent ride.
Coil overs won't provide anything more than the stock set up except the ride height adjustments. The front suspension is a coil-over already, the rear is a coil spring and damper. All you are doing is moving the spring a few inches outboard so the damper goes through it. As long as you have decent parts and choose the rates accordingly, it'll be just fine. Coil overs are greatly over rated.......
 

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GOOD coilovers, like Tein,
Thats a bit of an oxymoron from what I have seen........
There are not too many coilover choices for the Skyactiv platform that are actually decent quality, and the prices are pretty steep compared to just replacing the OEM parts with good quality springs and dampers. If you get the right dampers you don't need to adjust anything. Most people who want a suspension that rides really well don't want the hassle of adjusting stuff like that anyhow. They just want to install parts that are designed to work without chasing damper settings or getting all 4 corners the right height etc. Also, there are many who don't have the patience or the ability to properly install and set up an adjustable suspension. To that end, I know of a couple well known after market suppliers who don't supply anything but the most basic instructions with their kits. They sell the kits with the caveat that they will be installed by a qualified mechanic. This cuts down on the inevitable numerous calls for help, and avoids having to walk the customer through the entire process. When you purchase from them its assumed that you know what you are doing.
 

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I looked at the 30 and was really torn. I tested them on smooth roads and did not discern any diff in ride. Wish I had taken them both over some pot holes.

The 30 is just as fun to drive and a bit brighter inside, with a bigger hatch , bigger rear window and better, but still not great rear 3/4 vision. It has a deeper cargo hold. May not be quite as fast or corner quite as hard as the 3 but I doubt most people will notice. However, n my opinion the three is more attractive inside and especially out. I already have a cx 5 and that was what ultimately decided it for me.
If you are looking for a smoother ride than your old 3 forget the new one.
I have a 2014 3 and a 2020 3 The old one rides better.
Check out the CX-30, It might be better riding.
The CX-30 has more suspension travel and a taller sidewall, so I'd imagine over larger bumps, there would be more cushion. My 3 has a weird combination of good or bad ride feel depending on the type of bump -- you feel every little imperfection in the road, but then it rides really well over mid-size, less sharp bumps that you think are going to be a doozy but then the suspension absorbs well. It's really harsh over any large, sharp bumps or potholes...I guess the price of handling, although the current gen Civic handles well and has a more isolated ride.
 

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In general, the same model tire with a larger wheel and equal outside total diameter will ride and handle better. This is because the air in the larger profile tire acts as a spring without the benefit of a shock dampening this motion. I have proven this fact on a previous Mazda and Prius. That being said, don't expect MAJOR improvements in ride quality. Although the difference in ride is better, you will really enjoy a major improvement in handling through less tire squirm. Tire construction has a lot to do with overall ride quality, and often lower profile tires are firmer. Select a tire that has better ride quality properties. There are ratings available. Also, lowering air pressure is a poor way to improve ride, for your MPG will drop substantially and tire life will decline. Good luck, and the factory 225/45/18 are a great choice for ride and MPG. Tire life is so-so.

Remember that there are many factors that effect ride quality, mostly designed into the suspension and car weight. Making a car softer riding will compromise handling. The Mazda 3 is an excellent handling sportish car, not a cushy boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
In general, the same model tire with a larger wheel and equal outside total diameter will ride and handle better. This is because the air in the larger profile tire acts as a spring without the benefit of a shock dampening this motion. I have proven this fact on a previous Mazda and Prius. That being said, don't expect MAJOR improvements in ride quality. Although the difference in ride is better, you will really enjoy a major improvement in handling through less tire squirm. Tire construction has a lot to do with overall ride quality, and often lower profile tires are firmer. Select a tire that has better ride quality properties. There are ratings available. Also, lowering air pressure is a poor way to improve ride, for your MPG will drop substantially and tire life will decline. Good luck, and the factory 225/45/18 are a great choice for ride and MPG. Tire life is so-so.

Remember that there are many factors that effect ride quality, mostly designed into the suspension and car weight. Making a car softer riding will compromise handling. The Mazda 3 is an excellent handling sportish car, not a cushy boat.
I agree with everything you said. I could have written it myself. Almost. Except the part about low profile tires riding better. If undamped travel in high profile tire causes ride deterioration, then shouldn't lower inflation pressures in a given tire size also ride worse? That increases undamped travel as well. Isn't this why tires are pneumatic and not solid in the first place? If undamped travel causes a worse ride, wouldn't solid tires with no give provide the best ride.? Don't think so. Are low-profile tires ruining your ride?

, In my Particular case I did not notice any deterioration in handling with slightly lower rear tire pressures. Had I a skid pad handy or even some nice tight curvy roads to push hard on around here to make comparisons , I might have been able to to discern a difference.
Also, using less air at the lightly loaded rear is an old autocrosser's trick to reduce understeer in front heavy cars, though in that case pressure is added at both ends, just a lot more at the front.
That's why I did not reduce air at the front much.
Yes. it will increase wear at the back but likely still nowhere near the wear rate of the heavily loaded front end. Tires need rotated less often?
Fuel economy will be worse. I need to make real world comparisons there, to see if I can live with the difference. I could except 1mpg less but probably not 2.

I should have done a better job of evaluating the car before purchase. Based on reviews and my short test rides on relatively smooth roads, I expected it to ride and handle in a similar manner to my 2016 Golf or 2014 3. I was smitten by its good looks and quiet, attractive cabin.
It rides a little worse than the old 3. A lot worse than the Golf. It handles slower than either.

By the way, stock tire is a 215/45/18, not a 225.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
The secret sauce, grand touring tires in the 225/45/18 size. You'll never go back.
Not a bad idea.
As a matter of habit, I used to bump a tire size every time as the originals wore out. I will do it in this case in the unlikely event I keep the car into a second set of tires.
Then again, I might replace them early if they get noisy with a bit of tread wear as low profile tires often do.
 
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