Road test – 2020 Mazda CX-30 GT:CX-30 ready for all seasons and all reasons

All Mazda engines, transmissions and drivetrains are part of its proprietary Skyactiv engineering strategy, which makes the most of materials, weight reduction and friction reduction to achieve fuel and operating efficiencies.

Thus, the smooth running of the engine makes for more exacting torque control. In concert with Skyactiv chassis, tire adhesion is increased by centering the vertical load on the tires.

Quoting Mazda, “The moment the driver starts to turn the steering wheel, GVC controls engine drive torque to generate a deceleration G-force, thereby shifting load to the front wheels. This increases front-wheel tire grip, enhancing the vehicle’s turn-in responsiveness.

“Thereafter, when the driver maintains a constant steering angle, GVC immediately recovers engine drive torque, which transfers load to the rear wheels, enhancing vehicle stability.

“This series of load transfers extracts much more grip from the front and rear tires, improving vehicle responsiveness and stability according to the driver’s intentions.”

It sounds complicated and it is. Mazda spent years on this so that it would be transparent.

As a driver or passenger, it actually reduces the pitch and yaw in the cabin, resulting in less fatigue as the body muscles move slightly to correct.

I could go on at length, but let’s get on with the CX-30.

In Mazda Canada tradition there are three trim levels (GX, GS and GT) with choice of front- or all-wheel-drive depending on model/

There is also a choice of a 2.0-litre direct injection, inline, four-cylinder engine (155 hp, 150 lb/ft) on the GX or a 2.5-litre direct injection, inline, four-cylinder (186 hp, 186 lb/ft) on the GS and GT.(shown)

And if you go with the GT, it adds cylinder deactivation.

Mazda’s Kodo Design language results in a long hood and short tail for a very pert look, especially in the optional ($450) Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint.

In fact, the paint was the only option on our test vehicle with just about everything you’d want or need standard, such as full exterior LED lighting, Bose premium audio system with 12 speakers, power rear liftgate and full connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

With regard for safety, the GT-30 comes standard with Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Pedestrian Detection, High Beam Control, Forward Obstruction Warning, Smart City Brake Support, Smart Brake Support, Smart Brake Support Rear, Smart Brake Support Rear-Crossing, rear parking sensors and colour windshield-projected Active Driving Display, which is Mazda’s name for head-up display (HUD).

Getting behind the wheel, the driver centric layout of instruments and controls follows the Kodo formula with an absence of clutter and the eight-inch colour infotainment touchscreen placed nice and high along the top of the dashboard.

The GT as tested was $36,250, including a $1,950 destination fee, and had rich leather trim that added a luxury vehicle feel.

The button to activate the off-road assist is to the lower left of the steering wheel on the instrument panel. I was tempted to use it, but because of snow cover and not knowing what could be waiting below, I didn’t take the chance.

But I did put a lot of miles on it over the period of a week and found it responsive, even sporty, in its overall demeanor.

Along with the newly designed Mazda3 and the CX-5 compact crossover leading the way, Mazda sales are up but, more the point, the CX-30 is one of three contenders for the World Car of the Year awards – the other finalists being the Kia Telluride and, interestingly, the Mazda3.

The winner was supposed to be announced at the New York Auto Show in April, but that has been moved to August because of coronavirus concerns, so we won’t know which one until then.

But rest assured, Mazda has a winner in the 2020 CX-30 GT.