It’s amazing how quick a year goes by. Our once-shiny and new long-term 2020 Mazda CX-30 is rapidly nearing the end of its stay in the MotorTrend garage. As we get ready to return our CX-30 to Mazda so it can go on in its second life as a pre-owned car, we thought we’d go through and list our favorite and least favorite aspects of the stylish Mazda subcompact SUV.
What We Like About the Mazda CX-30:
It Handles Well
Mazda has left its iconic “Zoom Zoom” tagline in the dust, but you can tell that ethos still lives on in the way the CX-30 handles. Its steering is quick, well-balanced, and nicely weighted. Sporty, even. On the right road it’s enjoyable, but it can be a chore on highways.
Good-Looking Outside, Great-Looking Inside
It must not be easy to design a subcompact SUV, as so many of them end up betraying their econocar roots. Not the CX-30, though. Its handsome exterior sheetmetal is only bested by its interior, which is among the best offered in the segment from a non-luxury brand.
Excellent Dealer Experience
We’ve also been spoiled by the exceptional dealership experience, which rivaled some luxury automakers in its attentiveness and quality. Our one service visit so far was quick, efficient, and painless. We also enjoyed the well-appointed showroom and waiting area.
What We Don’t Like About Our CX-30:
Although a firm ride generally pays dividends in cornering performance, in the CX-30 it seriously hurts its on-road comfort. Our Mazda is stiffly sprung, making it uncomfortable over big bumps and skittish on rough surfaces.
The CX-30’s brakes are one of our biggest complaints. They have a mushy, imprecise feel to their action. This makes it hard to be smooth on the brakes, generally resulting in a fair amount of head toss for passengers.
Unfortunately, the CX-30’s powertrain doesn’t help much, either. The standard 186-hp, 186-lb-ft 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I-4 lacks the low-end grunt most of its turbocharged rivals have. The Mazda’s dated six-speed automatic doesn’t help things, either, as it’s geared for efficiency and slow to act, making passing maneuvers a frustrating test of your planning skills.
Mazda does fortunately offer a more powerful (and more expensive) 2.5-liter turbocharged I-4 making 226 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque for the 2021 model year, and although we like this engine better, it’s still saddled with the same six-speed automatic as our car.
It’s a Bit Claustrophobic Inside
We knew the CX-30 was small inside before ordering it for the MotorTrend garage, but we were surprised to find it claustrophobic, too. The stylish sheetmetal results in a high window sill line, making it difficult for most occupants to see out of. We say “most,” because the driver’s seat is thankfully height adjustable. Those in the passenger seats aren’t as lucky, though. Shorter front passengers have struggled to see clearly over the dashboard, while those in back have reported a bunkerlike feeling.
The Infotainment System Is Overcomplicated
Although we’re thankful our CX-30’s infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, we still find it fussy and overcomplicated to use, especially while driving. The issues generally stem from functions buried in menus, with a twist-knob controller being the only way to navigate through the system. That means an adjustment that’d be a simple twist of a dial or tap of a button in most other cars is a multistep affair in the CX-30.
Let’s say you want to change your FM radio tuning to a station that isn’t in your favorites. First you must press down on the controller, twist it two clicks to your right, press down again, and then manually twist it through radio stations before pressing down to select the right one.
Now pretend you’d like to switch from FM to SiriusXM satellite radio. First you need to twist the knob to select Change Source and then press down. Then you scroll through to Sirius and press down again. To change the Sirius station, you next need to press down a third time, scroll down three clicks, tap down again, scroll through the station list, and finally click down again to select.
It’s a frustrating, overly complex process that generally results in taking the driver’s eyes off the road for too long.
Read More About Our Long-Term 2020 Mazda CX-30 Premium AWD:
- Update 1: Looking for Joy Beyond the Numbers
- Update 2: Evaluating the SUV’s Cargo Capabilities
- Update 3: Road Trip Review: When Driving Doesn’t Matter
- Update 4: Mazda’s Dealership Experience Is as Nice as Our 2020 CX-30
- Update 5: How’s Our 2020 Mazda CX-30 Holding Up?
Source: Read Full Article