The 2020 Mazda CX-30 that arrived in the U.S. on Wednesday at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show raises big questions about small crossovers in the Mazda lineup. It would seem as if the larger CX-30 would replace the CX-3 subcompact crossover, but instead it slots between the CX-3 and CX-5, Mazda spokesman Drew Carey told us on the show floor.
The new model is similar to the CX-4 sold in China.
Based on the redesigned Mazda3 compact sedan and hatch, the 2020 Mazda CX-30 has more interior space and cargo volume than the cramped CX-3, which is smaller than the Mazda3 hatchback. Mazda says the CX-30 blends coupe-like style with crossover-like proportions, but it looks like any other small Mazda crossover. The grille is lower and stretched into the LEDs, and the CX-30 gets a mesh insert instead of slats. It looks more like a smile than the opened-mouth laugh on the CX-3. Because it’s larger, the black cladding down the sides and over the wheel arches is more balanced and proportional than on the smaller space of the CX-3, and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard.
The most significant difference is at the rear. The rear window is more integrated into the body design and the arched liftgate gives it a rounded form that also helps the function. It’s only five inches longer than the CX-3, and about an inch wider and taller, but has nearly double the cargo volume at 20.2 cubic feet (12.4 cu.ft. in the CX-3), same as the Mazda3 hatchback.
Even though the CX-30 is as wide as the Mazda3, it rides five inches taller for that higher seat position coveted by crossover shoppers. That, along with narrower pillars, should improve front and rear outward vision, which is a big complaint in the CX-3. Other interior improvements in space include a slanted rear footwell for a better fit for rear seat passengers.
The interior design in the CX-30 is consistent with other Mazda vehicles. An 8.8-inch display screen embedded in the dash is controlled by a dial in the console. The horizontal line of vents and narrow band of climate controls create a clean, spartan look that matches Mazda’s move into more upscale refinement.
Standard features across the base CX-30 Select, Preferred, and Premium trims include Mazda Connected Services through a smartphone app, which enables remote start as well as vehicle service and status updates. Wi-fi is included for a six-month trial, and two USB ports come standard.
The 2020 CX-30 ($22,945 including $1,045 destination) comes with Mazda’s active safety tech that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and high-beam assist.
Select trim ($24,945) includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry, synthetic leather seats, leather steering wheel and shift knob, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels.
Preferred trim ($27,245) gets the CX-30 a-rockin with a Bose 12-speaker system, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver’s seat. At the top of the line, Premium ($29,245) includes leather seats, head-up display, adaptive lights, power tailgate, moonroof, adaptive lights, cylinder deactivation to conserve fuel and more.
The front-wheel drive crossover is powered by a 186-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 with six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is a $1,400 upcharge on all models. The 2020 CX-30 is on sale now.