2020 Mazda CX30 Review

2020 Mazda CX30 - The new 2020 Mazda CX-30 fills a gap



Pros: Sporty look. Driving fun. Fairly roomy. _Upscale interior. Quick. Athletic handling. Decent ride. Available all-wheel drive. Safety equipment.

Cons: Jumpy ride over bumps. Narrow rear door openings. Frustrating infotainment system. Raspy engine sound.

Bottom Line: A nicely equipped compact crossover that's practical and fun. Average fuel economy.

The new, fun-loving 2020 Mazda CX-30 is a compact practical crossover that fits between Mazda's CX-3 and CX-5. It's a perfect fit between between those two for those who want a vehicle that's not too small and not too large for their needs.

Based on the sporty Mazda3 auto, the CX-30 comes in four versions and is offered with front- or all-wheel drive. List prices go from $21,900 for the base model to $29,600 for the top-line Premium with all-wheel drive, which is the model I tested. All versions have the same sophisticated 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The engine works with a responsive six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature.

The supportive heated power front driver's seat is comfortable, and there's decent room for four tall adults. The firm center of the rear seat is best left for the large pull-down armrest, which has twin cupholders.

The power hatch opens nicely to reveal a decent-size cargo area, Rear seat backs can easily be flipped forward to greatly enlarge the cargo  area.

A driver can choose via a console control to put the car in regular or "sport" mode, which stiffens things up a bit for sportier driving but doesn't make the ride uncomfortable. Steering is crisp, and my test cars handling was athletic, helped by a good chassis, dynamic stability and traction controls and all-wheel-drive system. The all-disc brakes are controlled by a firm pedal with a progressive action and "smart" brake support.

The ride was a curious blend of softness and firmness on smooth roads, but got jumpy over bumps.
The engine needs high r.p.m. to really come alive and sounds raspy under hard acceleration, but provides good performance. The 0-60 m.p.h. time is 7.5 seconds.

Mazda says estimated fuel economy goes from 25 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on highways to 24 city and 31 highway. However, my AWD Premium's Monroney economy label readings were 25 city and 32 highway. All readings are just-average for this compact vehicle, which weighs 3,337 to 3,408 pounds and is 173 inches long.

Only regular-grade fuel is needed, and the gas tank holds 13.5 gallons.

My Premium model had alluring $595 "Soul Red Crystal" paint, which really brought out its sporty lines. It took a little effort to get into its upscale interior, and rear door openings were narrow. But occupants sit higher the they would in a car. The rear quarter windows don't help rear vision much, but the large power outside mirrors certainly do.

The upscale interior under my Premium model's power sliding sunroof had leather seats and many soft-such areas, nice stitching, a pushbutton starter, easily read instrumentation, plenty of dashboard buttons and a sliding armrest covering a deep console storage area.

There also were dual zone automatic climate control with rear vents, an 8.8-inch color display, steering wheel controls and a Bose premium audio system with 12 speakers. Cupholders are placed on the console side-by-side to prevent confusion when a driver and front passenger reach for their beverages..

However, the console's rotary knob for the infotainment system made it frustrating to perform simple audio tasks.  

Safety features included a blind spot monitoring system, radar cruise control with a stop-and-go feature, rear cross-traffic alert, rearview camera, electronic parking brake, front side-impact air bags, lane-departure warning system and lane-keep assist features.

Drivers who like to check engine oil will find the hood extremely heavy and held open with only a prop rod.

Mazda models are frequently overlooked, but clever CX-30 marketing might alert potential buyers to this solid, cleverly designed crossover.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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