Friday, March 27, 2020

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THE 2020 Mazda CX-30 compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) splits the difference between the smaller sportier CX-3 and the larger CX-5.

It does so visually as well. There's no mistaking it for something other than a Mazda with its attractive sleek curvaceous styling. The design is very much in line with the brand's performance nature as the CX-30 apes the European GT cars of old with its long, low bonnet lines and rounded cabin section.

In the CX-3 the rear roof falls off earlier giving that vehicle a car-like look, in the CX-30's case it extends a bit to meet the space requirements. Black cladding running under the lower sections of the body add to that ruggedness SUV buyers like.

The Mazda's beauty isn't just skin deep. The interior materials and design are above many class rivals and on par with the established luxury brands. Like the exterior, curves and strong lines are strengthened by high quality and soft-touch materials as far as the eye can see. There's plenty of space front, rear, and behind the powered tailgate. Mazda's human-centric ergonomics allows everyone to find their comfort levels. From the manually adjustable driver's seat the instrumentation is clear, bolstered by Active Driving Display that projects the important information on to the windshield. The centre speedometer is actually digital allowing it to switch functions to monitor things like the Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring systems.

Also within the driver's eyeline is the new 8.8-inch infotainment system accessed via steering wheel mounted buttons or the rotary controls in the centre console. It operates smooth and fast with all the modern connectivity features expected. The cabin refinement accentuates the eight-speaker stereo. All the standard functions can be set to automatic --- headlights, wipers, and handbrake --- for fuss-free vehicle operation.

Start the CX-30 and it's quiet. Driving the CX-30 is effortless as the vehicle has been tuned for the SUV buyer, leaning more towards the comfort side of the driving spectrum. There are times when a bit of Mazda's sportiness can be felt on twisty roads, but the whole package isn't set up to driven that way. The soft suspension soaks up the harness keeping occupants totally insulated from the surroundings. The two-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder works with the six-speed automatic transmission to provide a near invisible sense of operation.

Acceleration is smooth and linear, perfect for the urban environment in which the CX-30 will most likely find the bulk of its use. With the i-Stop system, it ekes out as much fuel efficiency as possible in stop-and-go traffic. Only when called to go into upper reaches of the rpm range does the engine make itself known, something few SUV buyers will ever do.

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