Curbside Classic Visits The 2020 Hudson Valley Auto Show, Part 2: Cadillac, Buick, Mazda, And Kia

In part one of my auto show coverage, I lamented the relatively spartan interiors of the 2020 Ford Escape and 2020 Toyota Rav4. Speaking of interiors that aren’t terribly acceptable, here is the “all-new” Cadillac CT5.

Basically, it’s a heavily refreshed CTS. Exterior styling is very good, which surprised me, because I initially revolted at the sight of them upon their initial reveal. Maybe it’s the lovely blue, which is apparently just called “Wave Metallic.” But I do like the design.

And I will give Cadillac credit for finally making an aesthetically pleasing interior.

What I cannot accept is the appearance of button blanks on a roughly $51,000 luxury vehicle. It’s a Sport model, which means it comes equipped with fancier exterior bits and some suspension upgrades and such. Other CT5 trims prioritize actual luxury. Cadillac is not alone in splitting the performance trims from the more luxurious models, but regardless, the blanks are unacceptable. Especially in a car that costs over $50k and only has 237 horsepower when running on regular 87.

Surprisingly, I am done dunking on Cadillac. The XT6 may be a relatively safe and uninspired vehicle for Cadillac, but it’s at least filling an important role for the division. And it is pretty nice looking.

It actually does stand apart from its Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC platform mates. The red helps.

And the interior does seem acceptably nice. Notice the lack of button blanks on the center stack?

That being said, any Cadillac dealer would be wise to prevent a prospective XT6 buyer from checking out the Aviator. A brand-agnostic shopper will most likely choose the Lincoln every time. Unless GM puts substantial discounts on the XT6. But given the amount of parts the Aviator shares with the Explorer and the F-150, Ford can probably make similar moves too. It’ll be interesting to see how this battle plays out in 2020.

I initially thought this Encore GX was just a plain Encore. Aside from sporting similar looks, it really didn’t seem to me like the GX was appreciably bigger than its smaller sibling.

Looking at the dimensions of both vehicles, it seems like the GX is meant to boast a bit more cargo room and a slightly more refined ride based on wheelbase. Otherwise, interior dimensions, especially leg and hip room, seem pretty much the same.

The interior felt like an Encore. This is will probably sell pretty well because people seem to like its appearance and performance.

What I can confidently tell you is that it shouldn’t have four buttons blanks on its center stack. This is ostensibly a premium subcompact crossover. Even at its $26,000 asking price, this is absurd. Unless size is a huge issue, buyers should instead just go for a mainstream compact crossover for the same price.

Or they could just opt for the Mazda CX-30 instead, which is a far more convincing luxury vehicle than the Encore GX. This is basically a raised Mazda 3 hatchback. But that’s certainly not a demerit against it. Like other vehicles in the modern lineup, it is very attractive.

It’s also a bit of a sleeper. Mazda opted to put the 3’s 2.5 liter four cylinder in the CX-30, which has 186 horsepower and 186 Ib-ft. of torque. That makes it one of the faster entries in the segment.

And that two tone roof makes it look pretty sporty too. But it doesn’t actually come from the factory like that.

Yup! It’s a dealer installed add-on. I asked a dealer employee why they call it the “Rover Package,” and he replied it’s because they got the idea from…Land Rover. Overall, it does make the Mazda look good…

…but I’m left wondering if this crossover is going to have extremely slim margins. At least in regards to the CX-30. In combination with the Rover Package, the Brake Plus installation seems a bit gratuitous. I actually had to look up Brake Plus. Thanks to CC’s own Daniel Stern, I know that these pulsing 3rd brake light systems are not terribly effective. Additionally, I was told during my selling days that anything like the aforementioned items are solely designed to at worst get the negotiations down to sticker, so the dealer could profit as much as they possibly can.

That being said, I personally know several people who have purchased vehicles from this dealer, including my sister. They all recommended the sales department and said they would buy from them again, so who knows what’s going on.

Either way, despite the somewhat odd aesthetics, the CX-30 has a genuinely luxurious exterior. I know it doesn’t necessarily look like that from this picture, but the materials are top notch. I have a theory about modern car interiors. Why are so many automakers equipping their products with black interiors? Because their digital displays are filled with color and can pick up the slack in that department.

Last but definitely not least is the Kia Seltos. This could conceivably be a competitor to the CX-30. It’s not as premium, but it’s close. Now that I think about it, the Koreans have essentially become a budget Mazda competitor. Their products have a bit more verve than they used to. And reviewers have noticed that newer models have sportier driving dynamics than older products.

The Mazda guy said they got the idea for a two tone roof from Land Rover. But I’m thinking they really wanted to emulate the Koreans. Or maybe Nissan. You wouldn’t buy a Mazda with a “Nissan Package,” right?

Anyway, the Kia’s interior gets the job done and looks and feels better than the comparable Buick. With the available 1.6 liter turbo, this thing probably scoots just as well as the Mazda too. They’re both worth a look if you’re in the market. And if you know someone who is considering an Encore, have them look at one of these instead.