Apparently, you can never have enough small crossovers. Cue the 2020 Mazda CX-30, a new small crossover that slots in between the subcompact CX-3 and the compact CX-5. It takes the bold looks (and all the content) of the recently redesigned Mazda 3 and adds a higher ride, some plastic cladding, and extra cargo space.
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 Is Your Mazda 3 SUV
Comfort and Tech in a Tweener Compact
We expect there will be a lot to like about the new CX-30 beyond its sleek lines and sporty proportions.
Is It a Mazda 3 SUV?
Mostly. Inside and out, there are a lot of similarities, including the torsion-beam rear suspension. The CX-30 does add a new safety feature, more on which below, but otherwise equipment is essentially identical. The CX-30, however, loses both wheelbase and overall length compared to the 3 sedan. This was necessary to make the CX-30 slot in as the middle child between Mazda's existing compact crossovers, because the Mazda 3 actually has a slightly longer wheelbase than the CX-5.
So why would you choose it over Mazda's other two small SUVs, the CX-3 and the CX-5?
We can't yet confirm what the lost wheelbase has done to passenger space, but it seems likely that rear-seat legroom will be relatively modest. The CX-30 does offer marginally more cargo capacity behind the rear seats than the CX-3 — 15.1 cubic feet versus 12.4 cubes — while only adding a little more than 4 inches in overall length. The CX-5, however, has literally twice as much trunk space as the CX-30, so Mazda's latest SUV is definitely on the subcompact side in this regard.
On the plus side, the CX-30 might be more comfortable than its larger sibling. We were surprised by just how much we liked Mazda's new seat design in the 3, and those new seats carry over into the CX-30. Mazda spent a lot of time studying how people sit, and how best to support the human body, and its work paid off in the 3. There's no reason to expect anything different in the CX-30.
Keep looking around the interior of the CX-30 and you'll see a lot more of the new 3. The flowing horizontal surfaces and small vents are present and accounted for, along with interior materials that punch above their class. The gauge cluster uses the same combination of analog and digital dials, and the generous 8.8-inch screen that's canted slightly toward the driver is evident on top of the dash. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported, and the CX-30 offers the option of a 12-speaker Bose stereo.
But Is It a Mazda 3 SUV? (Safety Edition)
The 2020 CX-30 will offer Mazda's i-Activsense active safety feature suite. This covers all the features you expect, from adaptive cruise control to blind-spot monitoring, and adds a few extras. For starters, the CX-30 will have front cross-traffic alert along with rear cross-traffic alert, so you don't have to worry about blind spots when pulling out in either R or D.
But new for the CX-30 is Mazda's Driver Monitoring system, which watches the driver's face and eyes for signs of fatigue or for inattention. If you aren't keeping your eyes on the road, the CX-30 will sound an alert to let you know you should probably put your phone down. It will also sound the forward-collision alarm sooner if you seem drowsy or inattentive, to give you more time to react.
But Is It a Mazda 3 SUV? (Powertrain Edition)
The full powertrain lineup hasn't been confirmed, but we expect it to mirror the Mazda 3's offerings. As with the 3, you'll be able to get all-wheel-drive. Of course, Mazda is promising that the trick Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition engine will be offered, but expect the tried-and-true naturally aspirated 186-horsepower, 2.5-liter four cylinder to make an appearance.
If you're keeping score, that means the CX-30 starts at the CX-5's standard power level, easily besting the CX-3's humble 146-hp output. But we expect the CX-5's optional 250-hp turbo motor to continue to set the largest model apart.
So why pick the CX-30? Maybe you want the upgrades to comfort and tech offered by the redesigned Mazda 3 but prefer an SUV body. Maybe the CX-3 is too small — or too slow — but the CX-5 feels too big. Or maybe you just prefer the sleeker look of the CX-30 to the more square proportions of Mazda's other small crossovers.
Price and Release Date
The CX-30 is slated to go on sale in Europe later this year. As of right now, U.S. availability has not been confirmed, although Mazda promises the vehicle will make its way to our shores. We won't have final pricing information until closer to the on-sale date, but expect it to start somewhere between the CX-3 (at $20,390) and CX-5 (at $24,350). Stay tuned to Edmunds for more information about the 2020 Mazda CX-30.