Meet the 2020 Mazda CX-30, a New Crossover Between the CX-3 and CX-5
Ignore the name, which overlaps with another Mazda's, and this low-slung crossover is an appealing thing.
Mazda unveiled its new CX-30 compact crossover earlier this year at the Geneva auto show, but it's taken until now for the U.S.-market version to make an appearance. The good news? The CX-30 sold overseas and the one going on sale in America are pretty much identical, give or take a few equipment differences. Mazda is slotting this sleek-looking crossover into the gray area, size-wize, between the subcompact CX-3 and the compact CX-5 in its lineup.
As with most every Mazda product these days, the CX-30 might be affordable (it starts at just $22,945), but it exudes an upscale vibe, giving an extra nudge to Mazda's move upmarket into the semi-premium space. Seriously, just look at the thing. Its roofline cants down slightly starting at the C-pillar, giving it a more coupe-like appearance than its CX-3 and CX-5 siblings. Wide black cladding on the Soul Red show car at the Los Angeles auto show (where the CX-30 made its North American debut) suggests that the lower body would look rather massive in contrast to its tight, sleek, daylight opening were the plastic removed. Hey, it works, and combined with Mazda's signature squinty headlights, elegant body panel surfacing, and premium detailing, the CX-30 makes the conceptually similar Subaru Crosstrek look misshapen and crude by comparison.
The Mazda's fetching wrapper is expected to deliver segment-leading noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics for the subtly deluxe cabin. Up front are the brand's special new seats that match the natural curvature of the human spine. These seats also feature prominently in the new compact Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback models. Following industry trends, Mazda has made its i-Activesense automated-driver assistance systems, which include lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian sensing, and adaptive cruise control, standard fare on the 2020 CX-30.
We also imagine the chassis will be tuned to Mazda's usual standards, meaning it will feature the sort of steering, ride and handling dynamics for which Mazda is known. It should be pretty fun to wheel around. At launch, the CX-30 will offer a single engine, a 186-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder; it will be paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. (Later, we expect Mazda's new, high-tech Skyactiv-X spark-controlled compression-ignition engine to be offered, but details on that plan are forthcoming. Front-wheel drive is standard on every trim—there are base, Select, Preferred, and Premium specifications available—while all-wheel drive is an option. Even with all-wheel drive, we wouldn't peg the CX-30 as a rugged, off-road-y thing at all. Think of it instead as a more usefully sized, sexier alternative to the Mazda CX-3—and, well, pretty much every other subcompact crossover out there—that is all-weather-capable.