Making driving fun – the 2020 Mazda CX-30
For years, one of my favorite cars to drive has been the Mazda3 hatchback. Fun, fast and practical makes it check all the right boxes for me. But these days, it has to be an SUV or crossover for most buyers to take notice. So for Mazda’s newest small crossover, they essential took a Mazda3 hatchback, raised it a bit, and gave it a name that falls outside the brands typical naming scheme. Meet the Mazda CX-30.
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is slotted between the CX-3 subcompact and the CX-5 compact SUV. Looking a lot like the smaller CX-3, the CX-30 is fitted with a little more black-plastic body cladding to make its statement. Underneath it’s sheetmetal, it is essential a Mazda3. As far as the name goes, I think calling it the CX-4 would have been more appropriate, but apparently Mazda had other things in mind.
Like the Mazda3, the CX-30 comes with a 2.5 liter Skyactive four-cylinder, rated at 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is available.
Enter the CX-30 and brace yourself for a surprisingly simple yet upscale cabin. The test vehicle is fitted in a dark brown and black leather interior – and it looks fantastic. No cheap plastics can be found, just lots of soft leather with some chrome accents.
Protruding from the leather dash is an 8.8 inch screen that is standard on all models. It’s not a touchscreen, instead you use a dial on the center console to control it, just like in other vehicles from Mazda. To the right of the dial is the volume knob, to the left the electronic parking brake.
Interior space of the CX-30 is what you would expect in a vehicle of this size. The front seats are comfortable and should be no issue on long road trips. The belt line is a little high, making you look as if you are lower than you actually are. Rear seating offers more legroom than a CX-3, but don’t go thinking it’s a limo back there. In fact, there is seating for three in the rear, but I sure wouldn’t want to be that third rear passenger.
Just like in other Mazda’s the real joy of the CX-30 happens when you’re behind the wheel. Much like the Mazda3 hatchback, this new member to the Mazda family is nimble, athletic, and fun to drive. Its steering is crisp and its moves with such fluid and grace, making it a pleasure to pilot on twisty roads and provide a sense of stability when cruising.
The 2.5 liter four isn’t the most powerful (last week’s Hyundai Kona felt stronger), but it gets the job done and as Mazda always proves, you don’t need tons of power to have fun. According to the EPA, the CX-90 should get 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
Pricing for the CX-30 starts right at $22,000 for the base model, with my full loaded Premium trim level carrying a price of $31,570.
With the CX-30 Mazda shows once again that they have the recipe for a vehicle that provides utility, practicality and a ton of fun at an attractive price point.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Mazda CX-30 Premium AWD
Base Price: $29,600.00
Price as Tested: $31,570.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter Skyactiv inline 4-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Horsepower: 185 hp
Torque: 186 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 25 city / 32 highway mpg
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