2020 Mazda CX-30

2020 Mazda CX-30 Test Drive Review: A More Practical And Stylish CX-3

by Ian Wright

When Mazda first announced the CX-30, there were many raised eyebrows in response. Mazda already had the subcompact CX-3 crossover on the market alongside the compact CX-5, and the midsize CX-9 model. The CX-30 is also a subcompact crossover, but it exists alongside the similar CX-3 and is, according to Mazda, aimed more squarely at the US market to fit the gap between the CX-3 and CX-5 as, basically, a Mazda 3 hatchback raised on stilts to mimic what fellow Japanese brands have done with models like the popular Subaru Crosstrek. There's just a moderate price increase over the CX-3, but the CX-30 brings extra cargo space and legroom for the money - the latter being the Achilles heel of the CX-3.

The CX-30 looks more expensive than it is due to its pretty-yet-handsome design. It also comes packed with standard features and an incredibly well thought out interior design. The single available engine is a slightly underwhelming 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit, but that doesn't dampen the spirit of the CX-30 at all.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 CX-30?

All-new for 2020, the CX-30 fills the gap between the smaller CX-3 and the larger CX-5. The CX-30 is powered by the brand's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is available and a six-speed automatic transmission is used. The range is made up of four trims, from the base model to the Premium Package, and all feature Mazda's sophisticated Kodo design language and appealing interior fixtures that have become a hallmark of all modern Mazdas. The Mazda Connect infotainment system, lane departure warning, and Mazda radar cruise control are among the standard features.

Pros and Cons

  • Stylish and simple lines
  • Appreciable gains in trunk space and rear legroom over CX-3
  • Premium interior finishes
  • German-like attention to detail
  • Enjoyable to drive with spirited handling
  • Stable cruising capability
  • Well-priced in its segment
  • Lack of turbocharging blunts performance
  • Absence of a touchscreen isn't loved by all
  • Rear-seat space is better than CX-3, but still tight for taller occupants

2020 Mazda CX-30 Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$21,900
Select Package
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$23,900
Preferred Package
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,200
Premium Package
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$28,200

CX-30 Exterior

It's hard to find a bad-looking Mazda these days, and the CX-30 continues the trend. From the LED headlights to the rear roofline spoiler, the image it projects is distinctly sleek and unfussy. The base model rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and has a matte finish for the front grille, but cycling up through the trims adds features like rear privacy glass, a shark fin antenna, a gloss finish to the grille, and 18-inch alloys. The range-topping variant has a power-sliding glass moonroof and a power tailgate.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Front View CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Rear View CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Front Angle View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

Although there didn't seem to be much of a space between the CX-3 and the CX-5, Mazda has found it with the CX-30. In terms of dimensions, at 173 inches in length, the CX-30 is nearly five inches longer than the CX-3 - but how much of this extra length has gone into freeing up greater cargo capacity? More on that later. The CX-30 is 70.7 inches in width and rides on a 104.5-inch wheelbase. The lower two trims are 61.7 inches in height, with the upper two trims a bit taller at 62.2 inches due to the shark fin antenna. All models have a minimum ground clearance of 6.9 inches. Curb weight ranges from 3,232 pounds for the front-wheel-drive base model to 3,408 lbs for the range-topping variant when equipped with all-wheel drive.

  • Length 173.0 in
  • Wheelbase 104.5 in
  • Height 61.7 in
  • Max Width 70.7 in
  • Front Width 61.6 in
  • Rear Width 61.6 in

Exterior Colors

The base CX-30 leaves little choice for those wanting a more flamboyant exterior color, as you can only have Sonic Silver metallic, Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Jet Black Mica, and Snowflake White Pearl Mica (an extra $200). The Select Package and above adds Machine Grey metallic ($300) and Soul Red Crystal metallic ($595) - the latter shade seems to be the unofficial signature color for modern Mazdas, as we've seen many of them in this bold shade including our recent spate of testers from the manufacturer. It's a pity that the color palette extends to just six shades, as we feel that the CX-30's classy lines would do justice to several more striking colors.

  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Jet Black Mica
  • Sonic Silver Metallic
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Machine Gray Metallic
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Polymetal Gray Metallic

New Mazda CX-30 Performance

If what you want is a quick small crossover, the new Mazda CX-30 isn't quite top of the class. According to independent test drive results, the benchmark 0 to 60 mph sprint will take just over eight seconds. While this is faster than the likes of the Ford EcoSport, the Hyundai Kona (which is available with a turbocharged engine) will shave around two seconds off the CX-30's time. For what it's worth, Mazda says that the CX-30 has a top speed of around 126 mph, depending on the trim/drivetrain. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine produces 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque and is paired with either FWD or AWD (the Crosstrek is AWD only), while a six-speed automatic does duty across the range. While smooth and refined in normal use (the on-paper power figure is impressive for the segment) the mill does come up a bit short when more grunt is needed.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Rear-Facing View CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Gear Shifter CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

Mazda's Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder relies on natural aspiration to produce 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque and is the only engine available to the CX-30 range. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that is common to all variants. The engine is smooth and provides good power, only falling short to turbocharged competitors that offer quicker acceleration off the line, but the CX-30 proves more impressive once you are on the move.

Flooring the gas pedal in the CX-30 reveals a lack of punch compared to the power figures given. However, it's not underpowered, and Mazda's four-cylinder engine is smooth and refined to drive, although the exhaust note isn't so much. The CX-30 can't be described as a zippy, but nipping through town and joining freeways never left us needing more.

  • Engine
    2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The subcompact crossover blurs the line between the hatchback and the SUV, and Mazda's CX-30 is no exception. The riding position is taller, but the chassis is agile, responsive, and playful on a curvy road, and then cultured and responsive on the freeway. In town, the CX-30 will be whatever you need it to be, whether it's patiently and comfortably keeping pace with traffic or wheeling through backstreets to avoid the traffic. The CX-30 does feature a sport mode, and the most noticeable difference it creates is a sharpening up of the throttle response, which is more useful at times than worth seeking out for fun.

Our test vehicle came with the all-wheel-drive option, which proved to help the CX-30 remain sure-footed and nimble in treacherous conditions, including the icy mountain roads we found ourselves on while looking for spots to take photographs. The transmission chooses its gears well for the most part, and only stumbled occasionally on those more challenging roads.

CX-30 Gas Mileage

The Mazda CX-30's fuel economy ratings are acceptable for the class. According to the EPA, the most fuel-efficient are the FWD versions which return 25/33/28 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The AWD versions return 25/32/27 mpg with cylinder deactivation (standard on the range-topping model) and without, gas mileage is 24/31/26 mpg. The FWD versions have a 13.5-gallon gas tank so they should be able to travel about 378 miles in a mix of city/highway driving, while the AWD versions have a smaller 12.7-gallon tank so the maximum range drops to about 343 miles. By comparison, the Hyundai Kona achieves a maximum of 30 mpg combined.

Our AWD tester sat at 24.9 mpg by the end of the week, having dealt with wildly varied driving conditions. Having covered city, freeway, hills, and mountains, we were pleasantly surprised to be in the ballpark of the EPA's estimates.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/33 mpg
* 2020 Mazda CX-30 Base FWD

CX-30 Interior

Belying its status as a subcompact SUV, the CX-30 has an upscale interior that immediately satisfies with its blend of clean design, superior ergonomics, and surprisingly upscale materials. The space echoes that of the new Mazda 3 the CX-30 is based on and it's clear that the manufacturer spent a great deal of time honing every detail, such as the tactile feel of the buttons and switches. Mazda purposefully positioned the infotainment screen further away and higher up, doing away with a touchscreen, which the automaker says is more distracting to use. In place of a touchscreen, a physical rotary knob is used to make adjustments to settings, which is viewable on the screen. Space utilization is good in front and average at the back, and a larger cargo area than the CX-3 will be appreciated by small families. The base model is equipped with an eight-speaker sound system, air conditioning, radar-based cruise control, and lane departure warning, with pricier trims getting extras like heated front seats, a Bose sound system, blind-spot monitoring, and a power moonroof.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Interior Details CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Steering Wheel CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

We fit four adults into the CX-30 without any stress, and while snug in the front, both driver and passenger have enough elbow room to be comfortable. In the back, the 36.3 inches of legroom is enough for adults on shorter journeys, and enough for young kids to grow into as a first family car. Mazda bills the CX-30 as a five-seater, but any more than four is going to bring complaints from the back seat occupants. Headroom isn't a problem with 38.1 inches in the front and 38.3 inches in the back, although the sloping roof may irritate taller adults. Mazda's attention to detail brings comfortable seats both front and back, and, for the driver, there's plenty of adjustability in the driving position and excellent visibility all around.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 38.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.3 in

Interior Colors and Materials

On the base model, a black cloth interior is the default color/material option, with zero upgrades available. A urethane steering wheel and shift knob are more reminders of this trim's entry-level positioning, but thanks to the CX-30's fundamentally strong build quality, it never feels cheap. Moving up to the Select or Preferred Packages gets you leatherette in a choice of Greige (grey and beige) or black, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. On the Premium, white or black leather is equipped - the white leather looks especially smart, but won't be easy to keep clean. Once again, we would have liked to see more choices available in terms of customization, but the simplified color palette seems to be in tune with the philosophy of the CX-30's design, which is to remove anything fussy or which doesn't significantly improve on the final product.

CX-30 Trunk and Cargo Space

At 20.2 cubic feet, the CX-30 has more space for shopping bags and other paraphernalia behind the second row than the CX-3, which makes do with 17.8 cubes. For example, whereas a CX-3 can't accommodate a 30-inch suitcase as its cargo area isn't deep enough, the same large case can fit into the back of the CX-30 without it needing to lie flat - or without folding down the rear seatback. The rear seats feature a 60/40-split folding design and can be easily lowered to increase overall cargo capacity and, on the top-line trim, a power liftgate adds even more convenience. A low load-height is another point in the CX-30's favor.

Interior storage is catered for by two cupholders ahead of the shifter lever, a center console storage compartment, front door pockets with bottle holders, and a front seatback map pocket (on the passenger side). The Select Package adds a rear armrest with cupholders and the Preferred Package additionally has an overhead console with a sunglasses holder.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Cup Holder CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2020 Mazda CX-30 Cargo Room CarBuzz

CX-30 Infotainment and Features

Features

The CX-30 is equipped with all the essentials expected of a modern crossover, with the base model enjoying air conditioning, push-button ignition, cruise control, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and an array of driver aids like lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, a rearview camera, and smart brake support. On more expensive trims, you can gain access to the likes of blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, advanced keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats. Features reserved for the range-topping trim include a head-up display, paddle shifters, a power-sliding glass moonroof, and a power liftgate. Wireless charging is an optional extra.

Infotainment

Mazda's useful range of standard equipment extends to the feature set of the infotainment system, including an eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, and an 8.8-inch display screen. Disappointingly, you'll need to step up from the base trim to find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included. Stepping into Preferred or Premium trim then adds a 12-speaker Bose audio system as well as SiriusXM satellite radio.

The display screen is not touch sensitive, and navigating the Mazda Connect infotainment system relies on a well placed and nicely weighted dial on the center console. The display itself has been carefully placed on top of the dashboard so as not to be distracting, but when the driver does need to use it, then it's just a small flick of the eyes away.

We're fans of Mazda's non-touch infotainment system, and in the CX-30, it's both responsive and intuitive to use. It's not the prettiest system to look at, but all the information is presented clearly and quickly.

CX-30 Problems and Reliability

As a brand new model, it's too early to accurately assess the CX-30's reliability, even though it's recall-free at the time of writing. But, as it shares many components with other Mazdas with proven reliability, it should follow suit.

The CX-30 is expected to share its warranty coverage with other models in the brand's stable, which would include a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty (with 24-hour roadside assistance) and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hyundai takes things a step further, though, offering its Kona with a ten-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

CX-30 Safety

The IIHS named the Mazda CX-30 as a Top Safety Pick in the USA, recognizing the SUV's high safety standards. It achieved a spread of maximum Good ratings in all crashworthiness tests, although the base headlights were rated as Poor. Reviews of the Mazda CX-30 by the NHTSA were much the same, with five stars out of five awarded for frontal and side crash evaluations, and only rollover tests scoring four - a typical fault in crossover SUVs.

Key Safety Features

Every CX-30 is well-specified from a safety perspective. The base model has a total of eight airbags, including curtain airbags and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. The essentials like ABS/EBD brakes, a rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring, and dynamic stability control are all in place.

On the base model, driver-assist technologies encompass smart brake support, driver attention alert (with visual and acoustic warnings), high beam control, lane departure warning, radar cruise control with stop & go, and lane keep assist are all standard. The Select Package adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, while the range-topping trim exclusively has an active driving display along with adaptive front lighting.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Mazda CX-30 a good car?

It's a specific niche that the CX-30 sits in for people that want a small utility vehicle, but don't want to spend their money on something the size of a CX-5. To that end, the CX-30 is an excellent car, as it balances enough space for a small family to grow with while also delivering a premium product in a lower price range. For adventurous single people and couples, its style, comfort, tech features, and performance along with the reasonable cargo space makes the CX-30 an excellent little lifestyle vehicle and commuter car. There's remarkably little to fault as Mazda has built on what it has learned developing the Mazda 3 to come up with a marked improvement on the CX-3. It might not be quite as rugged as a Subaru Crosstrek, but it is vastly more refined, and as an on-road alternative to the Mazda 3 hatchback, this caters to the crossover craze brilliantly.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Mazda CX-30?

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has a starting MSRP of $21,900 for the base model, representing just a $1,260 premium over the base price of the Mazda CX-3. Moving up to the Select Package costs $23,900 and the Preferred Package pushes the cost of the Mazda CX-30 up to $26,200. Finally, the top-line Premium Package goes for $28,200. Every model is FWD but Mazda's i-Active AWD system costs $1,400.

These prices for the Mazda CX-30 exclude tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $1,100.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Models

For the 2020 CX-30, Mazda refers to traditional trims as packages. Overall, the range is split into four models: the base CX-30, the Select Package, the Preferred Package, and the Premium Package. All versions drive the front wheels by default, but all-wheel drive is available optionally. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The base CX-30 gets 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. In the cabin, cloth upholstery covers the seats and Mazda's Connect infotainment system is fitted, comprising an 8.8-inch color screen, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker audio system. Basic air conditioning, a rearview camera, driver attention alert, and lane keep assist are fitted, too.

Moving up to the Select Package adds 18-inch alloy wheels and rear privacy glass. Inside, leatherette seats replace the cloth used on the base variant, plus there is dual-zone climate control and rear air conditioning vents. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated into the infotainment system.

The Preferred Package boasts heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat with a memory system, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an overhead console.

Finally, the Premium Package takes a move upmarket with a head-up display, leather seats, a power liftgate, a power glass moonroof, and an adaptive front lighting system. It also features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology.

See All 2020 Mazda CX-30 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Mazda has built its CX-30 range around three optional packages; these effectively take the place of traditional trims. As each package is quite comprehensive, the options list isn't long. But, you can get the following on all configurations: wireless charging ($275), an interior lighting kit ($230), and a frameless rearview auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink ($375), but not much more. However, Mazda does also list a range of dealer-installed options like remote engine start, navigation, a Thule surfboard carrier, a Thule cargo box, and door sill plates with illumination in front. For these prices, it's best to consult your closest dealer.

🚗What Mazda CX-30 Model Should I Buy?

No matter which trim level of the CX-30 somebody buys, it's going to feel like they spent more than they did. Even without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the base trim offers Bluetooth connectivity, necessary safety technology, keyless entry, a decent sound system, an 8.8-inch dashboard display, rain-sensing wipers, and even LED headlights. We would step up to the Preferred trim and enjoy the leatherette seats and Apple and Android connectivity, and dual-zone climate control while passengers also enjoy the rear air conditioning vents.

The Preferred package provides enough for a small but premium experience for those that are seeking it. Still, we wouldn't blame anyone for taking advantage of Premium trim's leather seats, moonroof, power liftgate, head-up display, and adaptive lights for $28,200. We would even be tempted to add wireless charging, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, and have the dealer install remote engine start and still come in around $30,000.

2020 Mazda CX-30 Comparisons

Subaru Crosstrek Subaru
Honda CR-V CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mazda CX-30186 hp25/33 mpg$21,900
Subaru Crosstrek 152 hp22/29 mpg$22,145
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$25,150

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs Subaru Crosstrek

Where the CX-30 looks like it wants to be in competition with some small luxury crossovers, the Subaru Crosstrek is more of a rugged alternative in this segment and the only true rival with its basis found in the Subaru Impreza. The Crosstrek starts at a slightly pricier $22,145 and, with a ground clearance of close to nine inches, Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, and beefy plastic body cladding, it's more confident heading off-road than the CX-30. But on-road, the CX-30 is quieter, smoother, and handles with more accuracy. The Subaru's engine is also down on power at just 152 hp and, when equipped with its available CVT transmission, it just doesn't respond with the vigor of the Mazda. The Crosstrek is lighter on fuel, though. Both SUVs have very similar cargo capacities behind the second row, but the CX-30 employs classier cabin materials and has a more sophisticated overall look and feel. At a lower price, the CX-30's more consistent spread of abilities wins the day.

See Subaru Crosstrek Review

2020 Mazda CX-30 vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V may be more expensive (it starts at just over $25,000), but it's also a bigger SUV at nearly ten inches longer than the CX-30. For starters, the CR-V has far more cargo capacity, with 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and an impressive 75.8 cubes when the rear seats are folded. At the back, the Honda also offers 4.1 inches of extra legroom. Both cars are equipped to the hilt with safety gear and both have high-quality cabins, but the top-spec CX-30 does feel a touch more special. An available turbocharged engine with 190 horsepower also endows the CR-V with better acceleration than the CX-30, despite the Honda's extra weight. If the CX-30 is big enough for you, you'll probably be happier with a higher-spec version of the Mazda. But if space matters, the CX-30 is outclassed by the bigger CR-V.

See Honda CR-V Review

Mazda CX-30 Popular Comparisons

2020 Mazda CX-30 Video Reviews

Check out some informative Mazda CX-30 video reviews below.

$21,900 - $29,600
Price Range (MSRP)
Mazda CX-30