Consumer Reports Says the Bigger the Mazda SUV the Better

Consumer Reports has tested, evaluated, and rated some 2022 model year vehicles from Mazda, including a few of the manufacturer’s SUVs. A closer look at the overall scores for said SUVs reveals the independent tester rates the larger options higher than their smaller counterparts. This trend is evident in the reports for the Mazda CX-30, Mazda CX-5, and Mazda CX-9.

Mazda CX-30, the smallest Mazda SUV

A grey CX-9 with doors open in display indoors.
2022 Mazda CX-9 | Getty Images

After testing, Consumer Reports gave the Mazda CX-30 an overall 70 out of 100. The subcompact SUV, modeled after the Mazda CX-3, has the lowest overall rating out of the three SUVs reviewed by the independent testing body. That said, a 70 out of 100 score still puts it in the recommended category.

In terms of the individual scores, the CX-30 got a 64 out of 100 in the road test, 4 out of 5 in the predicted reliability category, and 3 out of 5 in expected owner satisfaction. Of the positives mentioned in the road test report, acceleration is particularly noteworthy, with the SUV being quicker than competitors like the Subaru Crosstrek.

Next, handling doesn’t seem to be an issue, and the car offers good fuel economy. This is in addition to safety features like automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning being standard in all trims. As for negatives, the car is a little cramped.

Furthermore, it comes with small side windows, especially in the back, making the interior feel even smaller, including limited outward visibility. Engine sounds can also creep into the cabin, eating into an otherwise serene ride experience.

Thankfully, the car is expected to have significantly better-than-average reliability based on the 2021 and 2020 models’ trends. The subcompact’s 3 out of 5 predicted owner satisfaction rating isn’t the best, but this is mainly due to a higher price than competitors resulting in a lower value for money.

Mazda CX-5

Consumer Reports gives the Mazda CX-5 an overall 82 out of 100, with the scores in the road test making up for most of the difference between this compact SUV and the subcompact CX-30. The CX-5 gets a 78 out of 100 on the road test, with one of the major upsides being exceptional ride comfort.

The seats are comfortable, the interior well-made and detailed, and the rear roomy. Access is also not a problem with the wide doors. Furthermore, unlike the smaller alternative, outward visibility is reasonably decent in the back of the CX-5.

Handling also seems pretty good for a compact SUV, and road and engine noise is kept well out of the cabin. However, one of the few downsides is limited rear visibility, thanks to beefy rear pillars and a sloping roofline.

Like the CX-30, the CX-5 gets 4 out of 5 and 3 out of 5 on the reliability and owner satisfaction metrics, respectively. The reasoning for these scores is also mostly the same. Mazda has offered above-average reliability in previous model years, and the value for money relative to the price paid is questionable.

Mazda CX-9, the largest Mazda SUV

The Mazda CX-9’s overall 84/100 score is one of the better options in the three-row mid-size SUV segment, only bettered by options like the Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Hyundai Palisade. It gets the highest road test score out of the three Mazda SUVs mentioned at 79 out of 100.

One reason is it shares most of the positives of the smaller CX-9. Examples include exceptional handling for such a large car, a quiet cabin, and comfort. Additionally, the vehicle accelerates reasonably quickly with a responsive engine.

As for the negatives, the story is also mostly the same, with the sloping roofline contributing to less-than-stellar rear visibility and limiting the cargo space. The CX-9 scores a perfect 5 out of 5 on the reliability scale, as the last two model years, have had minimal to no trouble spots.

Predicted owner satisfaction is rated a 3 out of 5, with the value for money being the main culprit for the relatively low score.

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