The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is priced from $21,900 in the U.S. and $23,950 in Canada, freight and delivery charges not included.
Alluring design inside and out, fun to drive, great infotainment system.
Limited outward visibility, not the roomiest in its class, fuel economy could be better.
Things are moving quickly in the automotive industry, and each manufacturer has to adapt to the current situation, as the COVID-19 pandemic shook up consumer purchase habits. The 2020 Mazda CX-30 seems to have arrived at just the right moment.
As we all know, passenger-car sales are in a downward spiral and crossover sales are increasing, as per the current trend. Mazda, which relied for a long time on its compact Mazda3 as its best-selling model, saw its sales dive—by 20% in Canada and by 25% in the United States—during the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year. During that time, the Mazda CX-30 quickly picked up the slack, which shares its architecture and its powertrains with the compact car.
From a dimensions standpoint, the CX-30 squeezes itself between the Mazda CX-3 and the CX-5, and although we place it in the subcompact crossover segment, it offers just enough space to satisfy the needs of small families. It competes with the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Buick Encore GX, the Kia Seltos, the Honda HR-V, the Jeep Renegade, the Nissan Rogue Sport/Qashqai, the Subaru Crosstrek and the Hyundai Kona.
In Canada, the base 2020 Mazda CX-30 GX is equipped with a 2.0L inline-four that develops 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, while all other trims get a 2.5L four with 186 horses and 186 pound-feet. Both are connected to a six-speed automatic transmission in addition to either a front-wheel or an all-wheel drivetrain. In the U.S., the 2.5L engine is standard across the board.
With AWD, the CX-30 with the bigger engine carries city/highway/combined fuel economy ratings as high as 25/32/27 mpg, or as low as 9.9/7.7/8.9 L/100 km.
It’s worth mentioning that the 2021 Mazda CX-30 will be available with a turbocharged 2.5L four, which develops 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, or 250 hp and 320 pound-feet when using premium fuel.
Pricing ranges from $21,900 to $30,195 before freight and delivery charges in the U.S., and from $23,950 to $34,300 in Canada. Each trim levels gets an eight-speaker sound system with a Mazda Connect infotainment system and an 8.8-inch screen, while only the base trim in the U.S. doesn’t include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Heated front seats and blind spot monitoring are standard in Canada, optional in the U.S., while adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist as well as autonomous emergency braking are standard in the United States, optional in Canada.
Available features in uplevel trims include a heated steering wheel (Canada only), a power sunroof, a power liftgate, head-up display, a proximity key, SiriusXM satellite radio compatibility as well as a Bose 12-speaker stereo.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-30
The CX-30 may not be a speed machine without the upcoming turbo engine, but in typical Mazda fashion, the crossover emphasizes driver engagement and handling.
Inside and out, the 2020 Mazda CX-30’s design sets it apart in the subcompact crossover segment. Its interior build quality and choice of materials would look right at home in luxury-brand vehicle.
The Mazda Connect infotainment system is one of the most intuitive systems to use while driving. While it doesn’t seem that way at first, the controls and menu layouts have been designed with a cognitive approach. The display screen isn’t touch-sensitive though, as Mazda figures that reaching out to poke it is distracting.
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is competitively priced, especially given the high level of fit and finish as well as the crossover’s overall refinement and feature content.
Fuel economy isn’t all that bad, even though rivals such as the Crosstrek, the HR-V and the Kona can do a little better. We managed 29 mpg or 8.2 L/100 km during our test, with mostly highway driving.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-30
The CX-30’s window surface isn’t very big, which means outward visibility isn’t all that good.
Interior space is adequate, but not class-leading. Same thing for cargo space, which is rated at 20.2 cubic feet or 572 litres with the rear seatbacks in place, and 45.2 cubic feet or 1,280 litres with the seats folded down. Many competitors are roomier, although Mazda’s max volume dimension seems lower on paper than in real life.
While we applaud the interior fit and finish, the gloss black trim on the centre console collects dust pretty quickly.
Despite the easy-to-use infotainment system, those who prefer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto might not like having to use the rotary dial, as there is no touchscreen.
Shoppers who like the trendy trail-ready or off-road packages—with real attributes or simply appearance enhancements—won’t find one on the 2020 Mazda CX-30. The latter boasts an elegant design, but has no ruggedness to it.
The CX-30 solves the problem that subcompact crossover buyers were facing when visiting Mazda showrooms, as the CX-3 is very small and not very practical. It also costs less than the CX-5, so families on a tight budget can afford it.
It might be the most fuel efficient subcompact utility vehicle out there, nor the speediest, but the trade-off is an alluring, good fit and finish and a fun-to-drive character. That’s enough to raise it among the best in its class.