San Diego to Palm Desert the fun way in the first-ever Mazda CX-30
A compact crossover SUV that is as fun to drive as it is capable
Mazda builds cars that people love to drive; increasingly beautiful, stylish cars that are laser-focused on contributing towards an exceptional driving experience. This philosophy was the driving force behind the first-ever Mazda CX-30 compact crossover SUV, as we learned in a presentation and on an invigorating media drive from San Diego to Palm Desert, California. Mazda had the confidence to invite us to experience the driving dynamics of the 2020 CX-30 on twisty roads over a winding mountain pass and, as luck would have it, through unseasonably cold, wet, snowy weather. Bear in mind that we are not talking about their MX-5 sportscar. This also must be a practical, cargo- and people-carrying SUV. Does the CX-30 rise to the occasion and succeed? Let’s see...
CX-30 at the LA Auto Show
The CX-30 builds upon the success of its predecessor, the CX-3. Like that vehicle, its compact size makes it especially well-suited to singles, couples, young families and mature families.
Ken Saward is Mazda’s Director of Automotive Design. The styling of the CX-30 embodies Mazda’s Kodo design language, defined as the “Soul of Motion.” Glance at the sleek sides of the vehicle and you will notice an elegant, flowing S-curve – the “Sori Curve.” Together they form “Utsuroi” – the “Interplay of Light and Shadow.”
The bold curves of its front end give it the appearance of a sportscar or a stylish sedan, and yet – as we experienced on our challenging drive – its increased ride height improves visibility, and the extreme attention paid to vehicle dynamics are confidence-inspiring – especially whenever the going gets tough.
One of the things that drivers directly control is the brake pedal. Mazda determined that “high effort with short stroke allows us to use the more developed calf muscle, not the weak shin muscle.”
“Walking is our only natural experience with acceleration,” so when driving our seating posture should match the human body’s standing posture. In the CX-30 it does. “Upright posture improves connection feel and reduces fatigue.” “Better balance means less bolstering is needed to feel comfortable when cornering.”
Mazda’s driving goal in the interior design is to minimize driver distraction which, according to the NHTSA, contributes to 80% of collisions and 65% of near collisions. The central display screen is intentionally placed far forward, so that the driver’s eyes and attention are kept on the road.
A simple pair of knobs on the center console are used to make selections, and the number of those choices is limited to seven, to minimize distraction. It will take a while to get familiar with those knobs but from there on, controlling them should become second nature.
Subtleties extend to dramatically improved consistency of the shades of white on interior lighting. Overhead white lighting is naturally balanced, whereas incandescent lighting would typically be more yellow, and LED lighting more blue.
Multiple engineering improvements to the suspension design result in consistent steering response and the almost complete elimination of roll steer. “Both front and rear don’t change toe with torque application.”
Moving the bass drivers out of the doors gets rid of the buzz. Moving them to the cowl produces greater low frequency output.
G-Vectoring Control (GVC) makes response more precise, consistent and predictable; and improves turn-in by transferring load to the front tires. GVC-plus improves turn-out by dragging the outside front brake.
The new All-Wheel Drive with Torque Coupling results in a “much smaller fuel economy penalty.” IACTIV All-Wheel Drive calculates individual tire load in real time, shifts torque distribution to maximize the friction circle and coordinates with the GVC. The result is more rear torque when accelerating and better turn-in. There is significantly reduced rear driveline loss.
Off-Road Traction Assist applies maximum rear torque from launch and aggressive braking to spinning tires.
The CX-30 offers a comprehensive suite of active safety features.
With up to 45.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity and seating for five it has the room to support people’s hobbies, personal interests and everyday needs.
Mazda’s 2020 CX-30 is a thoroughly modern compact crossover SUV. It has the cargo and people-carrying capacity to fulfill its primary purpose, but beyond that it is fun to drive, beautiful, confidence-inspiring, comfortable and engineered for safety. For much more information on the 2020 Mazda CX-30, visit www.mazdausa.com.