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2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5: What’s the Difference?

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

  • CX-5 is a compact SUV, while CX-30 is a subcompact

  • Mazda CX-5 offers two different optional engines, including a diesel

Mazda‘s two most popular SUVs in the coming year are bound to be the CX-5 and the all-new CX-30. While the CX-5 has been around for a few years, the CX-30 is a new nameplate for Mazda, and to call it confusing would be an understatement. The CX-30 slots into the Mazda lineup between the subcompact CX-3 and compact CX-5, effectively making it a large subcompact crossover competing with vehicles like the Subaru Crosstrek, Hyundai Kona and even the entry-level luxury Lexus UX. Why isn’t this vehicle then dubbed the Mazda CX-4? Mazda says this is because it already sells a vehicle bearing the CX-4 nameplate in China. Either way, below we’ll compare Mazda’s two most widely appealing small SUVs to help highlight the major differences between them.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5 exterior


While both the CX-30 and CX-5 wear attractive interpretations of Mazda’s “Kodo” design language, the CX-30 has a lower, more coupe-like profile, while the CX-5 is a more upright, traditionally-shaped SUV. The CX-30’s front end is dominated by its grille. While shaped similarly to that of the CX-5, the CX-30’s grille is larger and broader. Both vehicles have chrome accents that run along the bottom of their grilles and out to the sides, underscoring their thin headlights. Around back, the vehicles wear similar designs, with narrow taillights with circular design elements. The CX-30 has a more steeply angled rear window and a blacked-out spoiler. While both vehicles have some plastic cladding, the CX-30 has significantly more, and it serves to cheapen the vehicle’s overall appearance.  See the 2020 Mazda CX-30 models for sale near you or  See the 2020 Mazda CX-5 models for sale near you

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5 interior


Inside is where the CX-30 is a little more modern than the CX-5. As it’s based heavily on the new Mazda3, the CX-30 has Mazda’s next-generation interior design. Color choices include a brown and black interior with either white or black seats or a unique blue interior with black accents. Atop the dashboard is an 8.8-in infotainment screen operated only via a dial on the center console — Mazda has done away with touch-functionality for this new generation of its infotainment system. Otherwise, the CX-30 gets a lot of familiar tech. Aside from its premium feel, there’s really nothing revolutionary about the interior of Mazda’s new subcompact SUV.

While its design isn’t as new as that of the CX-30, the CX-5’s interior is upscale and refined. A 7-in infotainment screen resides atop the dashboard, which is functional but small by today’s standards. Unlike the CX-30, the CX-5’s infotainment system can be controlled via a rotary knob on the console or by touch controls, although the vehicle has to be stationary for these to work. Interior color options consist of either black or an off-white, “Parchment” color.

While the CX-30 feels a little newer inside, both of these SUVs offer exceptional interiors, especially in their upper trim levels. The design is calming, buttons and switchgear are pleasant to operate and ergonomics are good.

In terms of interior volume, the CX-5 is bigger than the CX-30 in the areas that matter most. Second-row legroom in the CX-5 comes in at around 40 inches, while the CX-30 offers 36 inches. The CX-5 is about 50% bigger than the CX-30 when it comes to cargo area as well. The CX-5 offers around 31 cu ft. of cargo area behind its second row, while the CX-30 offers about 20 cu ft.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5 mechanicals


Both the CX-30 and CX-5 come standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque and paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, the CX-30 returns 25 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined, while a FWD CX-5 will net 25 city/31 hwy/28 combined. Opt for AWD, and the CX-30 is rated at 24 city/31 hwy/26 combined, while the CX-5 comes in at 24 city/34 hwy/26 combined.

The CX-5 is also available with an optional turbocharged engine. Also offered in the Mazda6 and CX-9, the CX-5’s 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder makes an impressive 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, good for 22 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with standard AWD. Finally, Mazda also offers the CX-5 with a diesel engine, although given the presence of the new turbocharged gas engine, the economics of the oil burner are somewhat underwhelming. Output comes in at 168 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque, while fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/28 mpg combined.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5 tech

Features & Technology

Features available on both the CX-5 and CX-30 include LED lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a power tailgate, perforated leather seats, memory functionality for the driver’s seat, paddle shifters and a Bose premium audio system. Either vehicle can also be had with a heads-up display that projects relevant information like vehicle speed and navigation directions into the driver’s field of view above the gauge cluster. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are offered on all but the base trim of either vehicle.

Features offered on the CX-5 but unavailable on the CX-30 include a power passenger seat, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a 360-degree camera system and power folding door mirrors.

Finally, both vehicles offers an impressive array of standard active safety features, which we’ll get into in greater detail below.

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5 safety 


The Mazda CX-5 earns a coveted Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its crash test performance. As it’s brand new, the CX-30 has yet to be tested but given the performance of the new Mazda3 on which it’s based, we expect it to come away with an award of its own.

Both vehicles also come with a good array of active safety tech. Every 2020 Mazda CX-30 and CX-5 includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, full-range dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic assist is standard on the CX-5 and is included on all trims of the CX-30 except for the base model.


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 all-wheel drive model with the premium package.

Including Mazda’s $1,045 destination fee, the CX-30 starts at $22,945 for a base model and tops out at just over $31,000 for a loaded AWD example. The 2020 CX-5 starts at $26,135 for a base-spec FWD model and tops out at right around $39,000 in top-of-the-line Signature trim with AWD and the turbocharged gas engine or around $42,000 if you opt for the diesel, although we’d probably stick with the lower-priced, better-performing 2.5-liter turbo.

Speaking of AWD, the option costs $1,400 on both the CX-30 and the CX-5.


The Mazda CX-5 and CX-30 compete in different classes, and don’t let their names confuse you: The CX-5 is the nicer of the two. As it’s a compact SUV, the CX-5 offers more space, more feature content, a more premium feel and a bigger price tag than the subcompact CX-30. That said, the CX-30 is an all-new design and includes the latest generation of Mazda’s infotainment system along with some incremental improvements when it comes to design and ergonomics. Both vehicles use the same base engine, although the CX-5 offers an optional turbocharged gas engine, which improves its performance significantly, along with an optional diesel as well, which brings about improved fuel economy. Altogether, either one of these vehicles offers an upscale experience that’s a little nicer than what you get from most mainstream competitors. Just remember that the CX-5 is the bigger of the two and offers more in the way of features and powertrain options. Find a Mazda CX-30 for sale or Find a Mazda CX-5 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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