2020 Mazda CX-30 Road Trip Review: When Driving Doesn’t Matter



Mazda CX-30 Complete Review

Mazda no longer uses “Driving Matters” as a slogan (now it’s “Feel Alive” – ​​thank you), but that ethos is still embedded in each of its vehicles. We largely agree with this mantra. Sometimes we traded engagement for relaxation, especially when we’ve weathered long stretches of highway, as we’ve now done for several thousand road trip miles in our long-term 2020 Mazda CX-30. It turns out that while driving Not Matter, this subcompact crossover is less than ideal.

Driver “Assist” systems

It’s nice that the CX-30’s precise, reactive steering is on a winding road. Lane Keeping Assist can be a great help in these scenarios, and the CX-30’s datasheet shows it as standard equipment. But on my last drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco it basically did nothing and did so little help that I checked a couple of times to see if it was on (it was). Aside from gentle bumps that are seemingly random, Lane Keeping Assist would allow the car to drift over markings with barely a beep. It is absolutely not autopilot.

The CX-30 is also equipped with an additional cruise control which I have referred to as a brake tester because it has committed to resume its set speed after accelerating. Instead of rolling down, the CX-30 brakes to slow down, which causes some drivers I have passed by to brake in response. I would have to override the car’s action by accelerating myself. Eventually I started turning off cruise control while overtaking so other drivers wouldn’t think I had a bone to pick – anything systems like this are supposed to negate. At least the blind spot monitors effectively recognize vehicles that are blocked by the huge D-pillars.

How far can the CX-30 go on one tank of fuel?

Our log shows that the CX-30 is having difficulty traveling more than 300 miles between fill-ups. I covered 317 miles at best, but photographer Darren Martin reported that he refueled about every 280 miles on his hilly hike from Los Angeles to Oregon. Given its 12-gallon tank, the CX-30’s average of roughly 25 MPG for a subcompact SUV isn’t impressive. Long haul drivers may find the range on this Mazda frustratingly short, but I don’t mind stopping to stretch over it that often.

Fortunately, the driver’s seat prevented my stretch breaks from turning into long vinyasa sessions. The front seats on the CX-30 don’t look special, but they feel great and offer ergonomic support on the back. The upholstery is neither too firm nor too plush and insulates well against the often busy journey. Comfortable armrests and a leather steering wheel made the CX-30 a nicer place to go for miles.

Too sporty for your own good?

On my solo road trip, the CX-30 was just roomy enough to accommodate my luggage in the passenger seat and the mountain bike removed from the bike above the folded second row. Fortunately, my long weekend ended with a ride in Santa Cruz. The drive and agility of the PX-30, headed for the coast on wooded Highway 17, reminded me of why driving is important. But after that, after draining and digesting a burrito after kicking, all I wanted to do was relax. Not very lucky – the Mazda setup kept me excessively awake for the next few hours.

Our experience shows that the CX-30 is better suited for zipping in the city than for long distance journeys. We’ll see if that balance shifts as we pack more miles.

Looks good! More details?

Read more about our long-term Mazda CX-30 Premium AWD 2020:

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