Sunday, 05 February 2023

Mazda has always aimed higher than its status.

While not officially a competitor in the luxury class, it has long designed its vehicles to look and perform at a level that will make people think of Mazda as a luxury-level purchase, even if the price is lower.

That applies to their smallest vehicles too, including the 2023 Mazda3, which is available as both a sedan and a hatchback.

There have been some updates to the engine lineup for 2023 to further improve drive quality, more tech features are standard, and there is an attractive new trim level offered called Carbon Edition — which I was recently able to test.

When you’re going against major players like the Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra and more, you have to come strong.

And to put it simply, Mazda’s compact sedan and hatchback options continue to deliver performance over and above their competition, while also maintaining a distinct looks advantage.

Published in CAR REVIEWS

As the reinvention of their SUV lineup continues, Mazda continues to introduce impressive new models.

The latest is the 2023 Mazda CX-50, a compact crossover that will battle with leading competitors in the segment including the Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape.

And just to clarify, the CX-50 is different from the already existing CX-5, another compact crossover currently in the Mazda lineup (which may or may not continue to coexist in coming years). The CX-50 shares a platform with the smaller CX-30, and upcoming models in the pipeline that are anticipated include the larger CX-70 and CX-90.

While the introduction of these new vehicles brings in some new designs, what doesn’t change is the quality of what’s under the hood, and that’s the excellent Mazda power plants that made this brand stand out in a bevy of SUV competitors, especially for driving enthusiasts who want to enjoy their daily drive.

I recently tested a 2023 Mazda CX-50, and I’m back with a full report on how the new offering measures up to Mazda’s lofty standards.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

When it comes to sporty compact SUVs, Mazda has no shortage of offerings for potential customers — all providing the rare SUV combination of driving enjoyment and vehicle utility.

In addition to their long-standing CX-5, Mazda recently introduced the CX-50 — a more off-road inspired offering with higher ground clearance.

For the 2022 CX-5, Mazda has made all-wheel drive standard, improved engine options, made minor exterior design changes, and also upgraded the suspension.

I recently tested out the 2022 CX-5, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up to its competition both outside and inside the Mazda lineup.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

The compact SUV class is one with limitless options for car buyers, but one key element that is usually missing from these vehicles is power. Many of them are well-designed but lack oomph when you’re behind the wheel.

But one brand that has never lacked oomph is Mazda, and they offer several options in the compact SUV class — including the CX-5, CX-30 and CX-50.

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is essentially a lifted version of the Mazda 3 hatchback. Slight changes have been made to the model lineup for 2022 (including a new Carbon Edition trim level), and all-wheel-drive is now standard on all CX-30 trims.

I recently spent some time driving a 2022 CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus edition, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up vs. the competition. 

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

With SUVs now the dominant vehicle in the automotive landscape, and bigger is better being the motto for many buyers — especially those with larger families — it’s no surprise that 3-row SUVS that can seat larger numbers of people comfortably remain in high demand.

In this busy segment, each automaker has their own approach to reach their customer base. For Mazda, a small but formidable brand competing in the segment with their CX-9 model, the emphasis is no different than the rest of their lineup — power and drive quality.

Just like smaller Mazda rides, the level of get-up-and-go in the power plant here is more than you’ll find in most competitors. And that’s by design.

I recently spent some time in a 2022 Mazda CX-9, and I’m back with a full report on how it stacks up in a crowded SUV category loaded with very strong vehicle options.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Despite the seemingly unstoppable trend toward SUVs and other larger vehicles, the class of small but fun-to-drive cars still has its share of devotees.

One such contender in this niche category is the Mazda3, which comes in sedan and hatchback models.

This vehicle hasn’t had a full redesign since 2019, but the 2021 version does introduce some new engine options and make other slight refreshes.

I recently got a chance to test out the impressive 2021 Mazda3 Turbo Premium Plus hatchback model, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up, and who might be a good fit for this vehicle.

Published in CAR REVIEWS

Before we start, the question must be asked: What exactly is the Mazda CX-30 and why did Mazda add it to their lineup of crossovers in 2020?

Do not confuse it with Mazda’s CX-3, which is a different crossover offering from the automaker. The CX-30 is longer and more powerful than the CX-3, and it is ultimately a slightly raised version of the Mazda3 sedan/hatchback offering. On the grand scale of Mazda offerings, the CX-30 falls squarely between the smaller CX-3 and the larger CX-5.

While it may seem like overkill, automakers know that SUV buyers can be very particular, so having an option at every possible size offering is becoming the norm. (Though the naming of this model does admittedly create some confusion).

The CX-30, a very stylish vehicle, is one of those modern rides threading the needle between a car and an SUV, and hoping to provide you with the raised SUV look and versatility but smoother driving of a sedan. To entice buyers for the 2021 model, the CX-30 upgrades in its sophomore year include a new turbocharged engine option, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Finding an SUV that offers a truly enjoyable driving experience is harder than you might think. Too often, in the process of improving other areas of the vehicle, the drive quality becomes a neglected area on many of the top-selling SUVs.

The good news is that some companies, such as Mazda, don’t go that route. They recognize that people want to enjoy their drive time and offer a vehicle that allows people to do so.

For 2021, the CX-5 retains this feature, which separates it from the competition in the compact SUV category, while also improving its technology offerings by adding a new standard 10.25-inch center display as part of Mazda’s infotainment system.

I recently tested a 2021 CX-5 and I’m back with a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Too often drivers must choose between having a reliable, family-oriented vehicle, and having a car they can enjoy driving. This is especially the case with SUVs of the three-row variety.

Thankfully, the Mazda CX-9 does not fit that mold, as you can actually fulfill both desires. I recently tested the 2021 Mazda CX-9, which receives some upgrades in its design and technology setup, and I’m back with a full report.


The exterior design of the CX-9 remains sharp on the 2021 model, with a familiar overhang in the front that distinguishes Mazda, and an overall svelte shape for a three-row SUV. 

The vehicle I tested featured a Soul Red Crystal metallic paint job, a very sharp-looking red color associated with Mazda that lets you instantly identify the vehicle.

Mazda continues to be one of the very best of the nonluxury brands in terms of overall interior quality. The look and feel of all the materials used in the CX-9 is near-luxury level. My test vehicle featured seating for six passengers, 2 in each row, but there are versions with a bench seat in
the middle that will seat 7 people.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

In the compact car segment, the Mazda3 fills a very specific role: Typically this sporty little ride will appeal mostly to driving enthusiasts, while the masses generally shy away and move toward more traditional best-sellers. But should they?

I recently spent some time in the 2020 Mazda3 hatchback, which carries over most of the 2019 version’s reinvention, and I’m back with a full report on whether it has the goods to try to move beyond its traditional role in the compact world.


Featuring Mazda’s unique front overhang and grille design, and extra-sharp side lines, the exterior of the Mazda3 features a striking design that will garner lots of positive feedback. The only downside of the design is that it allows for poor rear visibility.

When we start talking size, remember that this is a compact car. So by nature it’s small, and it has limited storage space compared to its rivals in the segment. The rear seats are tight for adults (but good for children). For families, I would recommend moving up to a larger sedan (within the brand, the Mazda6 is a strong option that’s more roomy than the Mazda3).

Published in CAR REVIEWS
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