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Test Drive column: All-new 2020 Mazda CX-30

Greg Zyla
More Content Now
The Chronicle Express

Entry price: $21,900

Price as tested: $31,370

This week, we review the 2020 Mazda CX-30, the all new compact crossover not to be confused with the 2020 Mazda CX-3 we tested in January. The smaller Mazda CX-3 offers seating for up to five passengers, plus 12.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. This new Mazda CX-30 also offers seating for up to five passengers, but tacks on a more spacious cargo area with 20.2 cubic feet of space behind the back seat. This makes the new CX-30 a better fit for consumers that need larger cargo-moving capacity that far exceeds the size of subcompact CX-3.

Dimensions include CX-30’s more than 3-inch wheelbase stretch versus the CX-3, 104.5 to 101.2, respectively, which allows for enhanced cargo room. As for the engines, the CX-30 relies on a more powerful 2.5-liter inline-4 delivering 188 horsepower and 186 lb. ft. of torque, versus the CX-3, which utilizes a smaller 2.0-liter putting out 148 horses and 146 lb. ft. of torque.

I’m a bit puzzled that Mazda calls its new compact size crossover a CX-30 instead of CX-4, which would fit its lineup of CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9 crossover/SUV family. Regardless, let’s take a closer look at this new compact.

Although not yet rated, expect a Top Safety Pick rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as six other 2020 Mazda vehicles share in this same important IHHS distinction. It’s comforting when consumers know their money is well spent on the safety side of a new vehicle purchase and Mazda knows this better than most.

The 2020 CX-30 comes in four trims, entry CX-30 at $21,900; Select at $23,900; Preferred at $26,200; and top line Premium at $28,200. For I-Active AWD mechanicals, add $1,400.

The Premium trim comes standard with top line features including active driving display, adaptive front lighting, leather seating, front and rear LED signature illumination, power moonroof, paddle shifters, power rear liftgate and roof rails.

The Premium safety features are loaded with adaptive radar cruise, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, automatic high-beams, adaptive headlights, a head-up windshield display, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, dynamic stability with traction control, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking.

The fully automatic AWD system constantly monitors road conditions and is built to add or subtract power to any of the four wheels when the CX-30 computer determines a wheel is losing traction.

The exterior of the CX-30 bears likeness to the siblings, even the larger, three row CX-9. The front grille design is similar although a Premium specific black gloss finish stands out. Although the CX-30 rides on a 3.3-inch larger wheelbase than CX-3 it is still a breeze to park and motor around crowded city streets. Road irregularities are a bit more pronounced, but CX-30 handles very well on the country roads and then doubles as a comfortable highway cruiser. Mating the rubber to the road are quality Bridgestone 18-inch tires on nice alloy wheels.

Mazda incorporates much of what it learns in its winning top endurance IMSA DPi top prototype race cars. A good example is when you select CX-30’s “sport driving mode” button on the six speed automatic transmission, allowing more responsive, computer controlled acceleration and downshifting. Although several new engines are in the works, every 2020 Mazda CX-30 will rely initially on the aforementioned 2.5-liter fuel injected four-cylinder for extra pep. Developing 188 horses and 186 lb. ft. of torque, it accelerates to 60 mph in about 7.6 seven seconds.

Notable is Mazda’s G-Vector control, front strut independent and a rear torsion beam setup all of which assists in the fine handling characteristics. Fuel mileage for the front drive CX-30 is 25 city and 33 highway while our AWD is nearly identical at 25 city and 32 highway. By the way, there are no front-drive Premium trims as AWD is standard fare on the top offering.

Overall, the cabin is classic Mazda by not being overdone in any manner yet still delivering in all areas. The luxury leather seating is comfortable while instrumentation is very nice across the dashboard line. Infotainment features are many, although still somewhat cumbersome to learn. Unlike the standard six-speaker stereo system on lesser models, our Premium featured a standard Bose Premium Audio with 12 speakers, Android and Apple compatibility, SiriusXM, HD Radio, two USBs and an 8.8-inch color display. Additionally, Mazda Connect voice command and Emergency 9-1-1 is also standard as is Bluetooth. CX-30 is roomy and well appointed inside although the rear seat is tight in the legroom category.

Other standard features include four-wheel ABS brakes, rain sensing wipers, rear safety camera, Skyactiv body ring roll bar structure, all the traction and stability controls, hill launch assist, rear cross traffic alert and all the airbags modern vehicles are built with. Overall, just about everything about this new Mazda compact is well done, and look for a turbo model to arrive in 2021 for some added horsepower.

Our Premium did include a few ancillary options including a navigation SD card for $450 and a frameless auto dim mirror for $275. With $1,045 added for delivery, the final retail came in at $31,370.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 101.2 inches, 3,408 lb. curb weight, 37.3 ft. turn circle, 6.9-inch ground clearance, 12.7-gallon fuel tank, and from 20.2 to 45.2 cu. ft of cargo space.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is all new and poised for success in one of the most crowded of crossover markets. It comes highly recommended from this scribe.

Likes: Very affordable, sporty looks, interior, handling.

Dislikes: Tight rear seat, no Apple/Android on entry model, rear visibility.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.