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2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3: What’s the Difference?

  • The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is an all-new model

  • The Mazda CX-3 has been on sale in the US since 2016

  • While both are subcompact SUVs, the CX-30 is much bigger than the CX-3

Mazda has recently introduced an all-new subcompact SUV called the CX-30. Based on the Mazda3, which was all-new for the 2019 model year, the CX-30 slots into the Mazda SUV lineup between the CX-3 and the CX-5. Since they’re both subcompacts, below we’ll compare the CX-30 and the CX-3 across a number of categories to highlight the major differences between the two vehicles.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3 exterior


The CX-3 and CX-30 both wear swoopy, sleek styling that closely follows Mazda’s corporate design language. With that said, since it’s a newer design, the CX-30 wears a more modern interpretation of that design language. The CX-3 is clearly the smaller of these two vehicles. Up front, its grille and headlights aren’t quite as pronounced as they are on the CX-30. The CX-3 has a long hood and a roof that appears to be floating above the cabin, thanks to a black D-pillar design. The CX-30’s design is a little broader and flatter than the CX-3, as the CX-30 takes a lot of its styling cues from the Mazda3 hatchback. See the 2020 Mazda CX-3 models for sale near you

While both of these vehicles employ plastic body cladding in what is apparently an attempt to give them a rugged aesthetic, the CX-30 uses considerably more cladding than the CX-3. While this serves to give it a floating look, it also cheapens the overall design and undoes the otherwise upscale aesthetic of the CX-30, to a degree. See the 2020 Mazda CX-30 models for sale near you

As for their respective lengths, the CX-30 is 173 inches long, while the CX-3 measures 168 in long.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3 interior


Both the CX-3 and CX-30 have nice, high-quality interiors, but the CX-30’s is more modern and more refined. Inside, the CX-3 is smaller than the CX-30, and you may be surprised to realize its dashboard layout is similar to that of Mazda’s iconic rear-wheel drive roadster, the Miata. The CX-3 has three circular air vents plus one rectangular air vent. An infotainment screen resides on the top of the dashboard and can be controlled via a dial on the center console. The screen also offers touch functionality, but only when the vehicle is stopped.

The CX-30 has an interior layout that’s almost identical to the new Mazda3’s. A new 8.8-in infotainment screen resides atop the dashboard. While the previous-gen Mazda infotainment system (offered in the CX-3) came with both touch and dial controls, the new setup loses its touch functionality and can now only be controlled by a rotary dial on the center console. While this may seem cumbersome at first, we like the layout and find it pretty easy to learn. Otherwise, the CX-30’s interior is pretty familiar if you’ve been inside a Mazda3 from the 2019 or 2020 model years — that is to say, it’s refined, attractive and on par with offerings from Lexus and Acura.

In terms of cargo room, the CX-30 is a lot bigger than the CX-3. While the CX-3 comes with a little over 12 cu ft., the CX-30 offers 20 cu ft., considerably more.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3 mechanicals


Under the hood of the CX-3 is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder paired with a 6-speed automatic. Output comes in at 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft. of torque. With front-wheel drive, the CX-3 returns 29 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg combined. With optional all-wheel drive, you’re looking at 27 city/32 hwy/29 combined.

Every CX-30 comes with Mazda’s familiar 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder, which is also found in the Mazda3 and lower trims of the CX-5. Just like in those vehicles, the engine makes 186 hp and 186 lb-ft. of torque, while the lone transmission option is a 6-speed automatic. If you opt for FWD, the CX-30 should return 25 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined. AWD models return 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3 tech

Features & Technology

Both the CX-30 and CX-3 are available with a good array of tech. Either vehicle can be had with adaptive LED lighting, a power tailgate, a head-up display, Bose premium audio, perforated leather seats, a power driver’s seat with memory functionality and paddle shifters. Both vehicles also come with center infotainment screens and a good amount of active safety tech, which we’ll discuss below.

Something the CX-30 offers that the CX-3 doesn’t is an off-road traction mode that should help any time you find yourself down a rutted-out or particularly slippery trail. Expect to see this added to the CX-5 and CX-9 in the coming years as well.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-3 safety


The CX-30 comes with many active safety features as standard. These include automatic emergency braking, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection is included on all but the base trim.

The CX-3 comes standard with automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection. The Grand Touring trim adds radar cruise control, automatic high beams and lane departure warning, but not lane-keep assist. Additionally, the Grand Touring trim comes with a more sophisticated automatic emergency braking system than lesser trims.

Mainstream safety features offered on both vehicles include the typical stability control and traction control, child seat anchors, an engine immobilizer anti-theft system and an array of airbags.

In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the CX-3 earns a Top Safety Pick award for its performance. The CX-30 has yet to be tested, but we expect it to perform just as well as the new Mazda3, which earns a Top Safety Pick award of its own.


Factoring in destination fees, pricing for the 2020 Mazda CX-30 starts at $22,895 for a base model and reaches $31,240 for a loaded AWD model with the premium package.

Pricing for the 2020 CX-3 has yet to be announced, but expect only a slight increase over the 2019 model, which starts at $21,435 for a base FWD model and reaches $28,190 for the loaded Grand Touring specs with AWD.

AWD is a $1,400 option on all trim levels for both vehicles.


The CX-30 is larger and more modern than the CX-3. While the CX-30 represents Mazda’s future, the CX-3 represents its past, and it’s one of the older vehicles in the company’s lineup at this point. Still, if you’re looking for a great deal on a small SUV, you’ll probably be able to find one on a CX-3, as the Mazda seems to be de-emphasizing its smallest SUV heading into 2020. The CX-30, on the other hand, offers many of the same selling points as the Mazda3, namely a refined driving experience, great exterior styling and an upscale interior. Altogether, the CX-30 is more modern and likely has a broader appeal here in 2020. Find a Mazda CX-30 for sale or Find a Mazda CX-3 for sale

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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  1. Too bad Mazda put that much cladding on the CX-30, which does cheapen the look of the car. The CX-3 may be older, but it’s clearly the better looking car of the two imo.

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