'Tweener 2020 Mazda CX-30 Priced Between Smaller CX3, Larger CX-5

Riding into the small SUV arena on a horse with no clearly defined size segment.

Mazda's latest crossover, the 2020 CX-30, now has a price. And no, jokers, that MSRP isn't the same as the slightly smaller CX-3's but with an extra zero added to it. Instead, the CX-30's price is more attainable, splitting the difference between the CX-3 and the larger CX-5 at $22,945.

That sum buys you an entry-level front-wheel-drive model; all-wheel drive adds an extra $1,400. The least-expensive CX-30 comes standard with sleek Mazda good looks, 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-speaker audio system, and the MazdaConnect infotainment system featuring an 8.8-inch screen controlled by a knob. Mazda checks off the regular small-crossover boxes with chunky black plastic body cladding and fender flares, along with a full suite of safety features (dubbed i-Activsense) that includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams.

Mazda Connected Services will make its first appearance on the 2020 Mazda CX-30 in North America, allowing drivers to remotely lock or unlock the doors and start the engine. The feature also includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. Moving up to the CX-30 Select trim level adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 18-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The next-level-up Preferred grade appears to represent the model's sweet spot. It builds on the Select's roster of features with a 12-speaker Bose audio system and heated front seats with memory and power operation on the driver's side. Those keen on spending maximum dollars for the Mazda can look forward to the $29,245 Premium grade, which gets leather upholstery, a power liftgate, a moonroof, adaptive LED headlights, and a head-up display. As with lesser CX-30s, front-drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive pushes the price up by $1,400.

At launch, the 2020 Mazda CX-30 will come with the same 186-hp, 186 lb-ft 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine used by the Mazda 3. Unlike the 3, the CX-30 will only be sold with a six-speed automatic transmission. No manual will be offered, and the jury's out on whether Mazda's turbocharged 2.5-liter engine or high-tech new Skyactiv-X engine will be introduced to the CX-30 later. In any event, the Mazda as it sits has more power than many other subcompact SUVs, including other plus-sized examples such as the nearly-compact Subaru Crosstrek and Nissan Rogue Sport. We'll be sure to drag-race the CX-30 against those other segment players when it goes on sale at the end of 2019.

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