We live in the era of the SUV. Everywhere we turn, automakers are trading sedans for crossovers and finding new ways to fit these high-riding vehicles into their lineups. Yet another example of this is Mazda, which for 2020 will roll out the all-new CX-30. Based on the same platform as the new-for-2019 Mazda3, the 2020 Mazda CX-30 slots between the CX-3 and the CX-5 in Mazda’s SUV hierarchy. While it’s all-new, the CX-30 doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the Mazda lineup, as it uses the company’s familiar 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder as its only engine option and is basically a high-riding, body cladding-laden version of the Mazda3 hatchback, which is already available with all-wheel drive. Still, it’s an attractive new entrant into a red-hot segment from one of the industry’s leaders when it comes to interior refinement and overall value, and we’re excited for the increased competition it will bring to the subcompact SUV segment.
What’s New for 2020?
The CX-30 is an all-new nameplate for Mazda. See the 2020 Mazda CX-30 models for sale near you
What We Like
Upscale exterior design
Luxurious interior, especially in upper trims
Standard 8.8-in center screen
It’s a little nicer than it needs to be
What We Don’t
Excessive body cladding
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren’t standard
Sunroof only available on the top trim
No Skyactiv-X engine option
Is it different enough from the Mazda3 Hatchback?
While we were hoping the CX-30 would debut Mazda’s new fuel-efficient compression-ignition Skyactiv-X engine technology here in the US, it seems we’re going to have to wait a little longer, as under the hood of every CX-30 is Mazda’s familiar 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Output is 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. With front-wheel drive, the CX-30 should return 25 miles per gallon in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined. AWD models come in slightly lower, with ratings of 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined. While the CX-30 makes more power than most competitors, it isn’t as competitive with regard to fuel economy. Some buyers will likely prefer the added power, while others will want better fuel economy. Altogether this is a proportionate tradeoff, and whether it’s a good one or not comes down to personal preference.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is offered in four trim levels; base, Select, Preferred and Premium. FWD is standard, while AWD is $1,400 extra.
The base CX-30 ($22,895 FWD; $24,295 AWD) includes 16-in alloy wheels, power mirrors, LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a spoiler, air-conditioning, cloth sport seats, push button start, power windows with one-touch up and down, power door locks, a 7-inch LCD meter display, an 8-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, an 8.8-in infotainment system with available Mazda Connect services including a 4G LTE connection, dual USB audio ports, a 12-volt power outlet, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a 60/40 split folding second row seat and an electronic parking brake.
All of the CX-30’s available active safety features, outlined in the safety section below, are standard on the base model except for blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The CX-30 Select ($24,895 FWD; $26,295 AWD) adds 18-in alloy wheels, sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals, rear privacy glass, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear AC vents, leatherette seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Mazda’s advanced keyless entry system and a rear center armrest with cup holders.
The CX-30 Preferred ($27,195 FWD; $28,595 AWD) gains memory functionality for the sideview mirrors, a shark fin antenna, a gloss finish for the front grille, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, a black gloss finish for the front speaker grilles, Sirius XM radio, an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar and 2-position memory, heated front seats, an overhead console with a sunglass holder and illuminated vanity mirrors in the driver and passenger sun visors.
The top-spec CX-30 Premium ($29,195 FWD; $30,595 AWD) comes with a sunroof, LED headlights and taillights with a more distinct lighting signature, an adaptive front lighting system, a power rear lift gate, roof rails, a heads-up display, perforated leather seats and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The CX-30 comes with a variety of active safety features. Standard are automatic emergency braking, full-speed radar cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is offered on all but the base trim.
Additional safety features include the typical stability control and traction control, child seat anchors, engine immobilizer anti-theft system, and front, side, side-curtain, and front knee airbags.
Neither the government-run National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the independent third-party Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has yet to crash-test the CX-30, although we expect it to perform well once it is tested.
Behind the Wheel
We’ve come to expect an elevated driving experience any time we sit down behind the wheel of a Mazda product, and luckily, the CX-30 delivers. Interior materials are high-quality, although we were a bit surprised to find that what appeared at first glance to be leather on the dashboard actually turned out to be rubber. Still, it’s high-quality rubber, and the other interior surfaces are just as good, including some that are in fact actual leather. Upper trims come with perforated leather, available in black, white or a unique blue color, while lower trims offer gray/beige or black fabric or leatherette. Overall, the CX-30 offers good ergonomics, calming aesthetics and tuning that minimizes noise, vibration and harshness.
Behind the wheel, you’ll immediately notice the CX-30’s high beltline, as the door panels will likely seem high and the window openings narrow to all but the tallest drivers. This is less of a criticism, though, and more of an observation, as a light-colored headliner helps the CX-30 to feel airy and open inside. Prospective buyers will appreciate the CX-30’s 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, which is considerably more than what’s offered by the competition. The 6-speed auto is something to appreciate, too, as competitors have shifted toward loud, droning CVTs in the interest of increased fuel economy. The CX-30’s handling is dialed in, the ride is comfortable and the overall experiences is polished, making for a vehicle that borders on upscale.
As the CX-30 is based heavily on the Mazda3, which was all-new for the 2019 model year, buyers will find that the two vehicles share a whole lot in common. In fact, if you’ve been in a new Mazda3, the CX-30 will undoubtedly feel familiar. Cargo volume is virtually identical between the CX-30 and the Mazda3 hatch, while feature content is nearly identical as well. Built on the same platform, the two vehicles share their powertrains, steering wheels, gauge clusters, center consoles, HVAC controls, infotainment systems, switchgear and more.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Hyundai Kona — While it’s shaped like the rest of the vehicles in its segment, the Kona offers a little extra. Its available 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes for an engaging driving experience, as does its available 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All of Hyundai‘s surprisingly smart design elements are there, too.
2020 Subaru Crosstrek — A lifted Impreza hatchback with some added body cladding, the Crosstrek offers standard AWD, great safety features and respectable fuel economy. While the CX-30 aims to be luxurious, the Crosstrek goes for a rugged vibe.
2020 Mazda3 Hatchback — The new Mazda3 and CX-30 share the vast majority of their components. Given that both are available with AWD and offer the same cargo volumes, some buyers will likely see the Mazda3 hatch as the better value.
Used Mazda CX-5 — The current generation CX-5 is one of the most well-rounded vehicles on sale today, offering space, luxury and excellent driving dynamics. As it’s been on sale in its current form since the 2017 model year, it isn’t hard to find a used example that’s just as nice as the one you can buy new today.
The CX-30 is an attractive, modern, upscale SUV that’s certain to become one of Mazda’s top sellers over the next few years. As it shares its platform, its engine and the majority of its components with the new Mazda3, it should appeal to just about anyone looking for a small, semi-premium vehicle with refined driving dynamics and an elevated ride height. As far as trim levels go, we’re drawn to the Select and Preferred packages. The Select gets you things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leatherette seats, blind spot monitoring and nicer wheels, while highlights of the Preferred trim include heated seats and the 12-speaker Bose audio system. We’re a little surprised to see that items like a sunroof and the power lift gate are reserved for the upper-level Premium trim, and we think most buyers will probably still be content with either of the two middle trims. Find a Mazda CX-30 for sale